Thursday, November 29, 2007

Teacher Apathy and the Gifted Child

As I sit preparing to write this article, I ask myself what is the number one challenge facing Gifted Children? There are several, but what would you say is the most challenging issue?

It came to me right away. Is the greatest challenge facing Gifted Children in our society today teacher apathy? Of course, this does not apply to every teacher. It's not that teachers are mean or uncaring. It's not that they don't want their students to do well.

Is it because many are unaware of the characteristics and unique challenges facing the Gifted Child? Many teachers don't know how these children learn best or how they differentiate from their peers. They are preoccupied with students who have learning issues or behaviour issues.

They can not shoulder all the blame. Our society is misinformed as well. Our governments seem determined to lower the bar when it comes to expectations in schools. The universities are turning out teachers that spend little time on Gifted Children and their needs.

If you look up apathy in the dictionary you will find the word indifference. This pretty much sums up many teachers' feelings. If this insults or offends a teacher, I'm sorry. However, our gifted children need parents to speak out on their behalf and work towards changing the myths that surround them.

Teachers themselves need to speak out for these children. They need to want to make a difference in the life of a gifted child. They must stop assuming that these children don't need anything extra and can go it alone.

Gifted children have a right to learn. All the excuses in the world, including inclusion, lack of resources, over crowded classrooms and others don't change the simple fact that teachers show indifference to gifted children in the regular classroom.

Since inclusion is the current trend, Gifted Children will be placed in the regular classroom more and more.

Teachers can help change this attitude by taking courses to learn about gifted children. There are books, workshops, and other resources available to them.

Even if the school board or government doesn't require them to do more for gifted children, this doesn't mean they can't take the initiative.

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." --William Ward

I am the mother of a gifted 8 year old girl. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Studies. I began the journey to learn as much as possible about gifted children and to share it with others in order to get information out and dispel the myths about gifted children.



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