A gifted child will get high marks during the first years of school without having to put a lot of effort into it. However, as soon as the lessons get more intricate it becomes apparent that the child is missing vital skills.
Things that seemed perfect when done orally - like a presentation, for example- are inaccurate and insufficient when written down. The missing skills here are planning and structuring, those skills that others already have developed because they had to learn how to study.
All of a sudden a child will lag behind in his/her class, even though intellectually the child has proven to be very strong. Mistakes lead to frustration, frustration turns into unhappiness, making friends seems to become impossible. The child becomes isolated.
At that point I would like to help. Better still: I would like to come and help a long time before these problems occur.
Step 1. I will help identifying talented and gifted students
Underachieving, looking out of the window, having a difficult time working in teams, withdrawing altogether- all these reactions possibly indicate giftedness. But not necessarily. That's why I help teachers and tutors to identify giftedness using simple steps. This is the first step.
Step 2. I show you how to improve your study skills
Fortunately, you can teach a gifted child how to study, too. Teaching them planning and structuring skills, for example. Helping them to dare make mistakes. I help the children own their learning process: They develop skills that are necessary for the task ahead. Without their problems weighing down on them the children are able to develop, both intellectually and socially. And that's noticeable.
It is important that the material offered during lessons is adapted to each child's individual understanding of the world, as well as his/her cognitive ability. This in turn helps the children understand and take the world as it is.
Step 3. Enrich your lessons for children who need individualized education
In order to help teachers and mentors I develop study-material that helps to enhance and enrich their lessons. The material can easily be integrated into the daily lessons. Together we decide which parts of the curriculum can be left out.
The most important thing to me is to have the children feel good about themselves. Once they have reached that point there is room for personal development.
That point may be reached more quickly than you should think. And the wonderful thing is: All the children in the class profit from it. The atmosphere gets an uplifting impulse.
Specific challenges I like to meet:
- making lessons and curricula fit students' and teachers' needs
- having children present material successfully and with joy
- teaching children how to cope with frustrations
- helping them accept frustration, failure and mistakes: A very healthy mix!
- teaching children how to read
- teaching children how to work together
- triggering children to get in touch with their own creativity by having them design their own products
- ...and on the other side: curbing that same creativity in order to make room for real busy work. Seriously: It's possible.
Always made to fit
The period of time during which coaching is needed may vary. You can ask me to start special grouping for the gifted children of a class or to help with enrichment activities and curriculum organization for the entire school. This usually takes from a couple of months to a year. However, I am also in for shorter projects: I start with a specific topic or organize a certain number of workshops. If I am to be part of a care-arrangement I will come to your school a couple of times, if requested.
Children who get to work with material specifically tailored to their needs, start to understand how they function themselves. They dare to participate in class or do not feel the urge any longer to attract the teacher's attention in a negative way. They will stop underachieving and will be part of the group once more.
They will love going to school again! Or will think it a nuisance.
Exactly! Just like other children.