How to Challenge Gifted Students

Advocacy Legislation
How to Differentiate Instruction Organizations
Identification Tracking, Ability Grouping

Gifted students often present a challenge for teachers, especially for teachers with large classes. These students are often uninterested because the curriculum is not challenging to them. Sometimes, the most gifted students may even become the most disruptive due to their boredom.

What can teachers do to challenge gifted students and keep them motivated? There are plenty of teacher resources out there to help teachers deal with this issue. Below are a few ideas put forth about how to work with gifted students.

One way to challenge gifted students is to use differentiated education. Differentiated education means that teachers would have separate lesson plans, rubrics, worksheets, etc., for their gifted students that would be more challenging than what they use for the class as a whole. This helps keep those students from being idle and losing interest.

Sometimes parents may object to using differentiated education for their students, as it can be seen as unfair. However, when given a detailed explanation concerning the reasoning behind the differentiation and help them understand their students will be better off in the long run because of it, parents will often become great allies of this educational tactic.

Another way to keep gifted students involved is to allow them to use their gifting in the classroom. For example, if a student is intelligent, but also shows extremely significant promise as an artist, they could paint or draw a sketch that was related to the lesson plan for that lecture. This allows gifted students to express their strengths and further develop their gifts.

Finally, using a gifted student as a type of tutor or teacher in the classroom can be beneficial to the student, the teacher, and all of the students in the class. This can be done in one of two ways - If a teacher believes that a student is well versed in a subject and could teach it to his or her peers, that student could be allowed to develop a lesson plan and teach a session of the class (with teacher supervision, of course!). This gives the student a real challenge and forces them to comprehend the material well.

Another option would be allowing a gifted student to "get ahead" of the rest of the class, then place them with students who are struggling as a type of tutor. This is beneficial for everyone, as the teacher can devote fewer resources to those students who are falling behind, the gifted student has something to occupy their time, and those students who are falling behind have some level of one-on-one assistance.

Using these strategies to challenge gifted students can sometimes be time-consuming for a teacher, but in the end, the gifted student will be growing at a pace equivalent to their aptitude, and the teacher will have no concern about disruption from gifted students due to boredom. Parents will be happy as well, as they will be able to see the growth in their student and the positive well being that comes from successfully navigating the added classroom challenges.

Gifted Youth Information for Teachers

  1. Britesparks
  2. Gifted Child Society
  3. Hoagies' Gifted Education Page
  4. National Association for Gifted Children (USA)
  5. National Foundation for Gifted and Creative Children
  6. Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development-
  7. Study of Exceptional Talent