Raising and educating gifted students is a process that can be both rewarding and challenging. When children demonstrate extraordinary potential, it can be frustrating in the extreme to see them squandering it.
Here’s a brief overview of problems and pitfalls that can turn gifted students into underachievers.
1. Missing Links Between School And Curiosity
Many gifted children are great at learning but don’t realize that their talents can be applied in school. These are the students who excel at independent learning but dismiss academic exercises as busywork. They need to be taught that work they initially find uninteresting will help them develop their talents.
2. Not Understanding The Value Of Achievement
Without proper parental support, children may not see any purpose to academic work. A supportive home environment is vital for helping the gifted see strong links between academic performance and their opportunities in later life.
3. Overconfidence In Intellect
Students that believe they are inherently brilliant are unlikely to apply themselves to the full extent of their potential. This is a risk when support is given to gifted children unconditionally and they are shielded from challenging themselves or taking risks.
4. Failure To Understand Growth Potential
A gifted child who understands his or her intellectual abilities may not grasp the fact that they need to be nurtured and developed. It can be helpful to review such students’ past academic work with them so that they get a better understanding of how their academic talents can grow.
5. Missing The Connection Between Effort And Success
All children need to know that success is a combination of hard work and talent, and the gifted are no exception. Students who are capable of performing well academically without effort need greater intellectual challenges to encourage them to push themselves.
6. Lack Of Academic Support From Role Models
Parents and teachers need to both respect a student’s intellectual abilities and praise them for working hard to improve them. Teachers who ignore – or worse, belittle – a gifted student can discourage them from making future efforts.
7. Not Realizing That Underachievement Is A Solvable Problem
Even the brightest children may not understand that a social situation that discourages them from achieving can be changed. A thorough discussion of the factors the student feels are holding him or her back may point towards a solution that will allow the student to excel.
8. Disabilities May Hamper Intellectual Development
A range of physical, mental, or emotional challenges – from poor eyesight to ADHD – may make it difficult or impossible for gifted students to get the full benefit of a standard educational approach. These students need specialized curricula and educators who are trained to accommodate their special needs.
9. False Choice Between Academic Achievement And Peer Acceptance
Many older gifted students come to the conclusion that they can be popular or academically successful, but not both. Such students need role models that demonstrate how intellectual excellence can be fruitfully combined with other interests
10. Gifted Kids May Have Mastered The Art Of Getting By
Exceptional children may develop an excellent grasp of their educational system and deduce that they only need to do so much to pass. These students need more support and the opportunity to learn independently.
These are just a few of the challenges that many gifted students have to overcome to achieve their full potential. With attentive, talented educators and engaged parents, it’s usually possible to overcome any of the roadblocks standing between a gifted child and his or her full academic capabilities.