Do Gifted Kids Need Enrichment?

MYTH – Teachers regularly challenge all students, so additional enrichment is not necessary for GT students.

Hmm…I have mixed feeling on this one. Yes, teachers do work very hard to meet the unique challenges of today’s classrooms, monitoring and adjusting as they can for the diverse population of students that they service.  Unfortunately, this does not mean that teachers are given adequate preparation to meet the needs of gifted children, either through their teacher preparation coursework or through in-services once they begin teaching.  How can teachers meet the unique needs of students when they do not know how? A survey conducted by the National Research Center on Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT) discovered that as many as 61% of teachers had little or no training in teaching highly able or gifted students (Archambault, et al. 1993).

 The truth is this – without adequate teaching and a clear understanding of the needs of gifted students, schools will continue to fail in meeting the needs of this population.

Thoughts?

2 thoughts on “Do Gifted Kids Need Enrichment?

  1. I am a substitute teacher and have taught and substituted in four states, dozens of school districts, dozens of schools, and hundreds of classrooms. I just don’t see it happening. Teachers are working very hard and are stretched to their limits, just with the majority of the kids in the classroom. They simply don’t have much time or resources left for the gifted kids. We have touted the “teach the teachers how to differentiate” mantra for a long time, but I rarely see differentiation for the gifted kids. There is some advanced math, sometimes spelling or reading groups, but by and large, it is insufficient, inadequate, and ineffective.

    The most effective and consistent interventions, from what I see, are full time classes, subject acceleration, and grade skipping.

    An interesting data point: I have attended MANY workshops and teacher inservice training sessions on differentiation. Only one of these was differentiated for the background of the teachers in the room. You know how they did it? They had four teachers, one for each level of differentiation.

  2. At my daughter’s school (Daniel Buchanan Elementary in Murrieta, CA), all of the 4th and 5th grade teachers are GATE certified. This seems better than the pull out programs from when I was in elementary school. Ceana will do the more challenging work when it’s required, but if it isn’t required, sometimes we really have to struggle with her to do it. Her goal in life is to do as little school work as possible so she can play Words With Friends, or Hanging With Friends, or upload videos she’s made to YouTube or her own website, or watch videos of cute kittens on YouTube (how many of those can a person safely watch in one sitting before they lapse into a diabetic coma?) or play on her DSi, or watch Phineas and Ferb, or work on her NaNoWriMo novel…pretty much anything but homework.

    So I’m thinking, the “challenge” work, while it may be more academically challenging, isn’t necessarily holding her interest.

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