It is often difficult to estimate the number of gifted students in the world because an appraisal is dependent on several factors and often quite subjective, according to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). If it was difficult in a face-to-face setting, it is undoubtedly more difficult in the blended model.
It is generally agreed that gifted students “perform at higher levels compared to others of the same age, experience and environment in one or more domains” (NAGC, 2020). This is distinguished from ‘talented’ students who demonstrate a natural aptitude or skill in a given domain. So how can we support these gifted students in excelling in the online setting? Here are four easy steps to follow to ensure that their needs are not only met but that they are challenged and extended to reach their full potential.
Do a brain dump of things your student is interested in
Use these areas to guide your general theme or topic and build a project around it.
Appraise the student’s strengths
Analyse the student’s data and triangulate information from assessments like CAT4, MAP, GL and internal assessment tools to isolate key strengths and abilities. Pick out the skills that you can target and build these into the challenge or project.
Set a real-life challenge
In light of steps one and two, find or generate a project for the student to complete where they must utilise their key skills and extend them. For example, completing an application for a real-life job, competing in a chess competition or building a model aeroplane from a blueprint.
Empower the student
Allow the student to work at his or her own pace and own level; let them feel more in control of the learning process. Provide self-directed and independent learning opportunities by creating a mentor/mentee type relationship between the teacher and student.
On completion of the project, share it with peers, family and the wider school community, thereby valuing excellence and personal challenge.
Catherine O’Farrell, Group Head of Student Services for Bloom Education, has been consulting in the UAE for almost 10 years and is a regular conference speaker and media contributor. She has a Master’s Degree in systems and a Bachelor’s Degree in both education and psychology.