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Teaching gifted kids in todays classroom

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Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s room Alternate viewpoints in teaching It is a common phenomenon that most kindergarten teachers will experiencethe presence of one or more gifted kids in their classroom. Most gifted students display capabilities of learning that exceed the expectations of their teachers. It then becomes the responsibility of teachers to cultivate these innate capabilities and hone their potentials (Winebrenner & Brulles, 2012, p. 11). Winebrenner & Brulles, (2012) conducted a study on a group of gifted students who had received A’s on their end-of-the-unit test. When they were asked to give the same test for their following unit they received the same grade. Thus, it was concluded that grades of these students did not merely reflect the lessons they learn during a course but the grades reflect their skills of knowing much more than their syllabus allow. Based on this study, many teachers introduce alternate methods of teaching for the most capable readers “ to make sure they were not simply going through the motions of learning, but they were making measurable forward progress (Winebrenner & Brulles, 2012, p. 3).
Diversity in education
In a classroom, children can be differentiated based on their abilities. While there are students who do not show the required competencies in earlier grades, there are also average students and finally there are the gifted students who progress well ahead of other students. The gifted students require less time of their teachers and can learn from little amount of instructions. They can also be paired with less gifted students so that they can support the latter as this will hone their learning abilities (Winebrenner & Brulles, 2012, p. 4). These gifted students, if allowed to study as per their competencies will bloom faster and better, thus improving overall grades in a school. For instance, a student need not be an expert in mathematics in order to be gifted, but he or she might have a bent towards architecture and if that might be explored well within the school curriculum then he or she would have better accessibility to resources in order to capitalize his or her talent.
The mindset theory
According to psychology professor Carol Dweck, gifted students behave differently when praised for their inherent skills or hard work (Winebrenner & Brulles, 2012, p. 18). On the personal front I have experienced that children whose good merits are appreciated for being intelligent they feel that they do not require the training and guidance that is required by other students and hence do not move forward to achieve anything more challenging. They want to live with the good praises only and hesitate to be proven otherwise. This is in line with Dweck’s experiment of smart students reluctant to undertake more challenge for fear of living upto the complement. On the other hand, children who are praised for their hard work develop the feeling that they have to work harder next time to keep up with their teachers’ expectations. Based on this characteristic of gifted students, Dweck introduced the mindset theory. Students who feel that it is their inborn skills that make them attain better grades than other students develop the fear of having fixed ability which discourages them from taking up challenging tasks. Contrary to this, students consider their hard work as contributory element to success feel that they can improve their performance simply by working harder which means they have a growth mindset (Winebrenner & Brulles, 2012, p. 11).
Current educational practices
Today, curriculum is designed in the manner keeping in view different strength areas, learning abilities and interests of young students. The teaching method includes assessment of the same in every student and accordingly the gifted students are provided learning experiences that emphasize more on principles of discipline rather than facts. It is very difficult to sharpen the potentials of gifted students with tedious and uninteresting curriculum and teaching practices.
These teaching concepts have been advocated by the authors; “ to compact the curriculum, we need to determine what competencies certain students have and give them full credit for what they already know” (Winebrenner & Brulles, 2012, p. 40). Moreover Winebrenner & Brulles (2012) also stress on alternate activities to engage the gifted students since these students grasp the subject matter well in advance of other students. Thus they have ample time to engage in other activities while other students make regular progress with standard instructions (Winebrenner & Brulles, 2012, p. 101). They do not require typical conventional activities but rather need to engage in those where there is less time binding and there is liberty to be creative and innovate. The authors have clearly shown that these gifted children need to be allowed freedom to study what they want rather than dedicated texts of their curriculum. This would bring out the best in them.
Future of education
Gifts students can be asset for any country since they are the promising talents in every field in the future. Therefore, the need is to design curriculum to provide the resources that can nurture the exceptional abilities of these students. Only with proper discipline in the method of teaching these students can shine in their field of excellence in their future years. Personal interest surveys might help understand which student is bent towards which field of study or topics. Gifted students want to learn more on one or few topics specifically and for them specific details need to be provided in their texts. This would determine a better future for these gifted students.

Reference
Winebrenner, S. & Brulles, D. (2012) Teaching Gifted Kids in Todays Classroom: Strategies and Techniques every teacher, Free Spirit Publishing

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