The Gifted Age
I read the 45 year old study on gifted kids yesterday. My son is highly gifted, so I found the results quite interesting. The final comment in the article was “Treat all kids as if they are gifted.” I think this approach would result in a very positive outcome. If students are told at an early age they are gifted it tells them two things, that they are special and that they are smart. The effect this could have on a child’s mind would be confidence. We become what we hear. If we are told over and over that we lack in brains or appearance, we begin to believe it. Maybe every student does not have a 130 IQ, but every student has a heart. Desire and determination can lead to success. I think our highly gifted students are underserved, so I am sure those students who are not gifted are also feeling uninspired. We should have all teachers research and study gifted traits, and know how to spot them. Teachers should understand and practice teaching methods that nurture brilliance. Educators must focus on strengths. We are in the computer age, do not dwell on poor handwriting, spelling, and slow reading skills. Teach them, but don’t stop a student because of them. Today’s student may never handwrite a paper, or need to worry about spelling, or visually read a book. These skills can be fixed at the touch of a screen. The next ten years of teaching should be rendered the “Gifted Age.” As educators, we are giving the gift of learning to every child. The job is to turn a light on in a student’s mind to the sheer joy of learning. Then, do not stop there. Give students the opportunity to feel success. Find their interests and spend less time on their weaknesses. By doing so, we will have confident students who have had exposure to much, and excellence in something. That something is their gift to the world. Don’t let their gift get lost in test scores, negative instruction, and feelings of unworthiness. Once a poor self image is drawn in the mind of a child, it is hard to bring the magic back. As educators, our job is to have a student begin with a blank canvas, and, through school, create a masterpiece. Once they leave school, students’ canvases should be a reflection of their experiences and successes. No canvas the same, but all equally compelling. Yes, treat all children as if they are gifted. We will find ourselves in not just a school, but in a museum of our greatest works…confident students who see themselves worthy of success. Who could ask for more?