The challenges of gifted education
There is a new blog in the edusphere tackling a topic near to my heart: gifted education. Unwrapping the Gifted, published by Teacher Magazine, explores the challenges of reaching these children in the classroom.

I had the pleasure of having two gifted children back when I taught, and it was a perpetual challenge to keep them engaged and motivated. After years of gifted education myself, I knew how it felt to be the child who was never called on, pulled aside to discuss how it made other children feel that I got such consistently high grades and just sitting through class after class reviewing material I already knew. It is little wonder that 20% of high school dropouts actually test in the gifted range.

Don't get me wrong. I actually loved school. And that instance about my grades and other children was actually with one of my favorite teachers. In German no less. It involved another student snatching my test and reporting the grade to the class. I had already learned long before that I got along better "hiding" behind silence when tests and grades were being discussed. But another student had decided to "challenge" me in a friendly grade competition in class, which was a little difficult since I never let anyone know what my grades were.

A lot of people are a bit touchy about the whole issue of giftedness. "All children are gifted," I have heard. "All are special and unique." The second statement is true, the first is not. All children are gifts from God, but that is not the same as the educational use of the term "gifted." In an institutional setting, gifted education falls under special education for a reason. These children have special needs that are difficult to meet in a traditional classroom setting. This is important to note as many districts are opting to cut back on gifted education to concentrate on the lower performing students who are less likely to pass the state assessments. Tamara handles the discussion beautifully in her entry, It's a Learning Difference.

The issues are a little different in the homeschool, but still important to consider if you are working with a gifted child.