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As more and more attention is focused on keeping students up to par and not leaving any behind, we seem to be leaving some behind where they might be otherwise. Gifted children often slide through only accomplishing a portion of what they are capable of doing.
Recognizing the Gifted
As students start in kindergarten or maybe first grade, they move along learning new things, adapting to the new environment of being in traditional schools and learning how to get along with others their own age. They are often caught up in the newness of the experience that they stay focused on one thing or another. As they progress on to other grades changes occur. Teachers need to be trained to differentiate the gifted bored student from the students who are behind. Some students are out ahead, getting done with the assignments in record time, and doing them correctly. Other students fall behind, not being able to pay attention, not understanding the material etc. Unfortunately, several from both groups become bored and begin causing problems in the classroom.
Faster? More? Deeper?
It is a great thing to see gifted programs being established where hopefully students can give some expression to their gift for academic achievement. Just because a student is a gifted learner doesn’t necessarily mean they have more time or have more patience for more work. To some students it appears like punishment. Gifted students need to be able to explore more deeply, see more applications to what they are learning and be able to receive answers to the more difficult questions they come up with during the learning process.