Wednesday, May 9, 2012

10 Ways to Help Your Gifted Teen Get the Best out of Secondary School


Frequently we hear about what schools and teachers need to do for gifted teens, but  education is a three-way partnership!  When the student, the school and home all combine to work towards the best educational outcomes for the student, real success occurs.  In my last blog I talked about the difference between 'successful' achieving students and autonomous learners.  For gifted learners to become autonomous learners, the student's personal growth requires some specific support.

Parents / caregivers can do a lot to make sure their gifted teen gets the most out of secondary school or high school.  This article summarizes 10 ways they can do this.  (Keep following future blogs for further elaboration).

  1. Facilitate learning at home
Facilitate = Make possible / smooth the progress of (versus doing it for them!) 

  1. Make sure they know you love them ‘Warts and All’!   
Gifted often feel pressured by others to achieve highly in everything... it’s simply not humanly possible!

  1. Promote Sensible Risk-taking
Creativity is a cornerstone of all learning. A huge component in creativity is ‘risk-taking’ – risking being wrong, less than perfect, not being successful immediately. 

  1. Teach them to prioritise. 
Stress can often be part and parcel of giftedness as gifted can try to do everything to perfection level.

  1. Have High Expectations 
A home does not have to be a wealthy home for gifted individuals to thrive!

  1.  Life Balance 
Understand that intense concentration has a resulting need of relaxation.

  1. Promote self-confidence versus arrogance  
Understand that giftedness of itself is not something to be proud of, BUT... how a person uses their gifts and talents can be something to be proud of...

  1. Why Gifted Teens should be Sponges not Spongers!
Feeding the soul as well as the intellect becomes an important life balance issue through the teen years. If the focus is purely upon intellectual development these teens are often left asking themselves what it’s all for, because pondering these sorts of existential questions is a part of who they are. 

  1. Understand Multi-potentiality
Gifted individuals often are confused by the number of things that they could do in life and find career selection a daunting.  It is important that they make the most of the curricular and extra-curricula opportunities that secondary school offers.

  1. When Things Get Heated!
High verbal ability can sometimes make for fiery discussions, especially when teenagers are trying to spread their wings and become independent. Family structure and rules are still very important.
Sonia White is a parent, teacher, author, teacher educator and gifted education consultant.  She has many years of experience working with gifted learners of all ages.
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© Sonia White, Author, Teacher, Gifted Education Consultant (2012), www.giftedconsultant.ac.nz  

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