Investing in Gifted and Talented Children- Resources for Parents and Teachers

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What do Blaise Pascal, William James Sidis, Mozart, Abdus Salam, Jean Piaget, Karl Benz, Tiger Woods, Shirley Temple, H.P. Lovecraft, Pablo Picasso, Maradona, and Bobby Fisher have in common? They were all gifted and talented children who went on to achieve greatness in their respective fields. Gifted and talented refers to children with the aptitude to progress to a level which is considerably higher than their age group. In a general sense, gifted children are those who exhibit extraordinary aptitude in academic subjects like math, science, and languages. Talented children are those who have great practical skills in music, sports, art, chess, design, dance, and so on.

Parenting a Gifted and Talented Child

Bringing up and educating a gifted and talented child presents special challenges for parents and teachers. For parents, it’s important not to put too much pressure on the child. If the child is exceptionally gifted, the parents have to decide if the child is ready to progress to the higher education levels where he or she will be contending with much older kids. There are instances where a gifted child goes to university at the age of 12 or younger. Do they have the maturity to handle life in college? As for parents with talented kids in music, sports or arts, it’s important to nurture their talents without putting too much pressure on them. It’s essential to nurture their talents so that they love what they are doing, rather than forcing them to do it until they are sick of it.

Educating Gifted and Talented Students

For teachers, the challenge is to create a positive environment where the gifted child doesn’t feel ostracized or cut out from the rest of the class. Teachers also have to work with parents in recommending the best path for the child so that he or she will flourish and grow accordingly. Teachers of children who are talented must cultivate a well-rounded education so that they can expand their horizons or views of the world. It’s vital to understand that not every talented child will grow up to become the next LeBron James, Serena Williams, Mozart, Picasso or Sergey Karjakin. In fact, a large number of child prodigies never went on to fulfill their gifts and talents.

Gifted and Talented Characteristics

How do you identify a gifted and talented child? Every gifted and talented child is different but there are some common characteristics. Here’s a list of traits.

  • Ability to grasp new concepts quickly
  • Excellent memory
  • Highly imaginative and creative
  • Highly motivated, especially in self-appointed tasks
  • Keen sense of humor
  • Independent
  • Advanced or special interests
  • Extraordinary ability to think critically and solve problems
  • Advanced reading ability
  • Ability to ask in-depth questions, uncommon for kids of his or her age
  • Extraordinary insight and capacity to form inferences

Check out these links to find out more about identifying gifted and talented children.

Gifted and Talented Curriculum

Instruction for gifted and talented children has to be different from the normal curriculum because they possess higher levels of learning or skills. In modifying the curriculum, teachers have to consider the learning ability of the students, meet the quick learning rates in some or all areas of study, and offer resources and time for the students to explore specific areas of interest. The ways in which the teachers can modify the curriculum include modifying the lessons, modifying the assignments or modifying the schedules.

Here are some resources for parents and teachers of gifted and talented children.

Resources for Learning

Resources for Parents to Help Their G & T Kids at Home