Although there is no standard global definition of a gifted student, the National Association for Gifted Children is quoted as describing “gifted” individuals as those who demonstrate outstanding competence or aptitude in one or more area. Students who are classified as gifted have a need for specialized education in order to keep them challenged and developing.
So, what is gifted education? In brief, it is a system which provides appropriate stimulation and challenges for the gifted student.
What is gifted education designed for?
There are significant differences in the spectrum of gifted education, and this varies from program to program. There are certain aspects to bear in mind when looking for gifted education for your child. It’s important to bear in mind that the child won’t be gifted in every subject. Although they may be gifted in language, for example, they may not have the same aptitude in math or science. For this reason it is essential to find a program that fills all of the child’s needs, including help in the subjects they are not gifted in.
What is gifted education known for?
- Faster Rate Of Instruction – Because gifted children are generally fast learners in the subject in which they are gifted, most gifted education programs will be geared to provide a faster rate of instruction, which keeps the child’s interest and helps to prevent boredom, as well as taking the study deeper into a topic than a general education system would.
- Programs Based On Research – An important aspect of the system that you will want to research and check up on, is the program’s goals and philosophy. The goals may vary according to the age of the children, or they may be structured differently. Ideally you want your child’s goals to be age-appropriate as well as in line with how gifted they are.
- Curriculum That Challenges Gifted Students – Ask to see the curriculum. You’ll want to ensure that it is stimulating and varied enough to keep a gifted child interested and engaged. The most common reason for gifted children failing in school is boredom. The speed at which a gifted student is able to process, absorb and understand information regarding the subject at which they excel means that there needs to be a constant supply of new, interesting and in-depth information to keep them interested and developing.
- Ability To Work With Teachers And School – Make an appointment to meet with any teachers that will be working with your child so that you can get a good sense of how they work, and whether they will be a good match. Check that these teachers have gifted endorsements, and that they have, of course, been specifically trained to work with gifted children. Teachers with this specific training are significantly more effective and get much higher results than those who are not specially trained in working with gifted students.
Placing a gifted child in an education system designed especially for them will do more than simply improve their academic results. It can transform their social skills and abilities as well. Gifted children in a general school often feel isolated and outcast. Joining an environment where they are with other gifted students can completely change all areas of their lives.