It is estimated that students who are gifted and highly talented encompass 5 to 15% of the school-age population. These advances students can have increased capabilities in academics, creativity, music, dance, art, and/or leadership. The following are recommended:
1. Compact the curriculum and provide enrichment activities.
2. Implement a multi-level and multi-dimensional curriculum.
3. Be flexible with the curriculum.
4. Make the curriculum student-centered.
5. Allow students to pursue independent projects based on their own individual interests.
6. Allow gifted children to assume ownership of their own learning through curriculum acceleration.
Practical Recommendations and Interventions: Gifted Students 1
GIFTED STUDENTS: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TEACHERS
It is estimated that students who are gifted and highly talented encompass 5 to 15% of the
school age population. These advances students can have increased capabilities in
academics, creativity, music, dance, art, and/or leadership. The following are
1. Compact the curriculum and provide enrichment activities. Provide environments
that are stimulating, and address cognitive, physical, emotional, and social needs of gifted
children in the curriculum. Let the students move quickly through the required
curriculum content and onto more advanced material. Allow for academic rigor.
2. Implement a multi-level and multi-dimensional curriculum. Differentiate the
curriculum in order to address differences in the rate, depth, and pace of learning. This
will enable all students in the class to learn about a specific area by creating projects at
their own ability level. For example, if students are learning about the state of Delaware,
students of different ability levels can be assigned to different types of tasks. At the
conclusion of the class, all of the students can present what they have learned to the entire
3. Be flexible with the curriculum. Take advantage of real-life experiences that can be
translated into problem-solving academics for all students. For example, an impending
snowstorm can be used to instruct students. Students of different ability levels can be
given different tasks, such as figuring out what snow is made of, predicting the amount of
snowfall, or determining how many snow plows will be needed if 8 inches fall.
4. Make the curriculum student-centered. Engage gifted students in the curriculum
decision-making process, giving them an opportunity to learn how to take responsibility
for their own learning. Draw the curriculum from the students’ interests and educational
5. Allow students to pursue independent projects based on their own individual
interests. Independent projects can be assigned on the basis of ability level. Encourage
creativity and original thinking among gifted students. Allow them to explore ways of
connecting unrelated issues in creative ways.
6. Allow gifted children to assume ownership of their own learning through
curriculum acceleration. Instruct them to work ahead to problems of skills that they do
not know. To help children learn the value of attaining knowledge in their lives,
encourage learning for its own sake, rather than emphasizing the end results or
accomplishments. Teach research skills for accessing information; higher level thinking
skills for processing it; creative thinking and problem-solving skills for flexibility in
approach and generation of information; and communication skills for sharing it.
Practical Recommendations and Interventions: Gifted Students 2
7. Try to maximize your students’ potential by expecting them to do their best.
Encourage them to advance as quickly as they can. Assist in developing projects that
allow them to achieve success one step at a time.
8. Teach interactively. Have students work together, teach one another, and actively
participate in their own and their classmates’ education. Note: This does not advocate
gifted children being peer tutors in the classroom; the gifted student should be challenged
as well. Emphasis should be on working together in the classroom. Cluster gifted
children together as a table within the regular classroom and utilize advanced materials,
as well as other suggested resources and modification, to meet their exceptional needs.
9. Explore many points of view about contemporary topics and allow opportunity to
analyze and evaluate material. Allow open forums and debates in the classroom about
controversial issues. As a teacher of gifted children, take an active stance. Be an
advocate for gifted students. Utilize specialized training to ensure the ability to meet the
needs of gifted students. Share personal interests with all students, to enrich and expand
10. Consider team teaching, collaboration, and consultation with other teachers.
Use the knowledge, skills, and support of other educators or professionals in the schools.
11. Provide opportunities for gifted children to interact with other gifted children
across grade levels and schools through competitions or collaborative projects.
12. Encourage gifted students to participate in extracurricular activities that involve
academic skills. Examples include math and debate teams. Because gifted children are
often natural leaders, it is important to invite them to use their talents and abilities in
beneficial, rather than disruptive, manners. For example, encourage the gifted student to
run for office in student council, or another extracurricular activity in which he/she is
13. Involve students in academic contests. Gifted students tend to be competitive by
nature. Therefore, participating in regional and national competitions such as spelling
bees, science fairs, and essay competitions will be fun challenges.
14. Allow gifted children to create and publish a class newspaper to distribute. This
consists of assisting students in understanding their special capabilities and the training
necessary for them to reach their full potential.
15. Set individual goals. Help guide students in creating their own goals and set goals
that are specific, measurable, aggressive, realistic, and within a reasonable time frame.
Be sure not to place expectations that are too high or too low.
16. Consider parental input about the education of their gifted children.
Practical Recommendations and Interventions: Gifted Students 3
17. Always remember that gifted children are similar in many ways to the average
child in the classroom. Do note place unrealistic expectations and pressures on gifted
18. Address the counseling needs of each student to support emotional growth, as
needed. Some gifted students have issues regarding anger, boredom, bullying,
delinquency, isolation, depression, peer relations, perfectionism, dropping out of school,
stress, frustration, and underachievement. About 20-25% of gifted students have
19. Remember that gifted children may not excel in all areas. They may be ahead of
other students in some areas and behind in some areas. Become aware of the strengths
and weaknesses of the children in your class.
20. Do note assign extra work to gifted children who finish assignments early. This
is unfair and frustrating to them. Simply offering more of the same only restricts further
learning. Instead, allow those children to work on independent projects or other
unfinished work when they finish an assignment early.
21. If a child attends resource rooms, communicate with the specialist for
suggestions on how to enrich daily classwork. Avoid penalizing the child for special
class attendance. Have another child in the regular classroom take notes and assignments
22. Provide plenty of opportunities for gifted children and average children to
engage in social activities. Some gifted children may need help in developing social
23. Try to find the joy and uniqueness in each child. Children may exhibit their gifts
on non-typical levels, rather than in general intellectual aptitude of specific academic
abilities. Keep in mind that every child will have different needs.
24. Organize resources in order to free yourself to work with individual children
and give the children greater control of the learning situation. Supplementary books
and learning tools, community resources, and the use of community members with
specific skills as mentors can be helpful.
25. Establish and maintain a warm, accepting classroom. Teach your classroom
community to embrace diversity and honor differences. Provide an environment in
which the child can demonstrate his or her potential or aptitude to learn and perform.
Teachers should strive to establish a noncompetitive, individualized, and open classroom,
which allows all students to advance at their own rate of learning.
26. Remember that implementing some of these strategies will benefit all of the
children in the classroom, not just the gifted ones.
Practical Recommendations and Interventions: Gifted Students 4
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II:Development, problems, and alternatives. Bethesda, MD: National Association
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Taylor, S. (2003). Your top students: Classroom strategies that meet the needs of the
gifted. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishing.
Winner, E. (1996). Gifted children: myths and realities. New York: Basic Books.
www.canteach.ca/links/linkgifted.html: Challenging Gifted Students in Regular
www.nagc.org: National Association for Gifted Students: Supporting the needs of high
www.nwrel.org/msec/just_good/9/ch4.html: Strategies for Teaching Gifted Students in
the Inclusion Classroom.
www.teachersfirst.com/gifted.shtml: Working with Gifted and Talented Students.