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Teaching can be a real pleasure when you make accommodations for gifted students.

It is wonderful for teachers to see children absorbing information much more quickly than expected and excelling at many challenging tasks you put before them. At the same time, few teachers understand the best approach to gifted students. Especially if they are comparatively much less developed emotionally or socially.

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Accommodations for gifted students at school

It might seem natural to praise them, put them on a pedestal and give them more work. But in fact, treating them out of the ordinary or any different from other students can bring about several problems, making the entire learning experience far less enjoyable and rewarding. Instead, it is best to take other steps in best accommodating their presence in the classroom.

Accommodations for gifted students cover areas such as:

  • Differentiation strategies for gifted students
  • Strategies for gifted students in the regular classroom
  • Tips for teaching gifted students
  • How to challenge gifted students
  • Assistive technology for gifted students
  • Curriculum for gifted students

What you should NOT DO with gifted students

First up, here’s a better look at what sorts of things you SHOULD NOT be doing when you have gifted students in your classroom.

1. Expect perfect behavior

Just because they are gifted academically does not mean that these students will be developed in all other ways. Gifted students tend to get bored more quickly, especially if the work put in before they are not mentally tasking enough. With extra time on their hands, it is easy to turn to bad behavior and start acting out.

The problem can be heightened if they see how much you value and take pride in their great academic performance and use this to test your patience with them.

2. Fail to give them suitable supervision

Just because a student is gifted and can work through questions and problems independently doesn’t mean they will do it. Simply giving them a sheet to work through and expecting them to get on with it is a big mistake. Instead, give them as much attention as any other child.

You must ensure they stay on track and are motivated to work to the best of their abilities. As such, never leave them to work in isolation in a different part of the room.

3. Make them assistants to your lessons

It can be tempting to continually showcase the excellent work your gifted student does and then use them to help advance the learning of others in the classroom. Education boards in no way approve of this as it can harm the child. It can lead them to quickly feel different and isolated from their peers as if they don’t belong.

Many other students could resent the fact they are being taught or led by someone their age and possibly bully the student outside of the classroom.

4. Expect high performance across all subjects

Just because a student is gifted in one subject does not mean they will excel across the board. Students are different, and their minds may work best at solving certain problems. For example, they might take to mathematical problems far more easily than those involving the written word.

Also, even within subjects, it can be a common mistake to assume that a student will excel in all aspects of the curriculum. For example, they may have a reading level that is very advanced for their age but be unable to maintain this performance when it comes to writing their own stories.

5. Assign them extra work when finishing early

If a gifted student finishes some classwork or homework early, this does not mean you need to load them up with more work immediately. You might think that doing so is helping to advance their learning. However, this can be quite far from the case. Assigning them more work is essentially punishing them for being smart.

At least, this is how the student often perceives it. Instead, it is better to praise their efforts and allow them to enjoy the added freedom their excellent work rewards them.

What you should DO with gifted students

On the flip side, you should be doing plenty of things to promote a healthy learning environment for everyone in your classroom.

6. Take your education to a higher level

If much of the information discussed here is new, it would be best to further develop your understanding of gifted students. There are plenty of online and offline courses that allow you to gain deeper insight into best practices for teaching gifted students.

In turn, you benefit from having better teaching knowledge, and your students have a more able teacher.

7. Identify which areas they are most gifted in

As discussed above, gifted students are not necessarily gifted in all areas. It is, therefore, very useful to identify where they are gifted early on. In turn, you can devise a tailored approach to their learning that allows you to capitalize on their strengths and help support areas in which they are weaker. This process might take a few weeks and require you to speak with them privately and assess their mental development.

It would also be wise to speak to other teachers who have taught or still teach the student and create a plan together.

8. Include additional curriculum-approved units

Over the years, several curriculum units have been developed and approved which are tailor-made for gifted students. These go beyond what is typically involved in the curriculum but do not push gifted students too far beyond their development.

There are a few different ways to find such units, and the following websites can be good places to start:

9. Create collaboration between gifted students

Isolating gifted students from the rest of the class is never good if done all the time. However, this doesn’t mean that gifted students should not be allowed to work together. Instead, pairing students excelling in different areas will allow them to enhance their learning by pooling their combined skills. This collaboration doesn’t have to be fostered solely in the classroom.

Instead, finding suitable Summer programs or weekend groups could be a good place for them to discover like-minded individuals.

10. Rounding off

Remember, every student is different, regardless of whether they are gifted. Every student has specific needs, so they should be given time and attention to enhance their development.

Hopefully, you are better prepared to create the perfect environment for the gifted student you have the pleasure of teaching. If you’re a teacher, sign up for your free funding account today.

Interesting read: Best Practices in Education