I was talking with some teachers the other day who thought they didn’t have any gifted children in their classes because many of their students aren’t hardworking, have good behavior, and many don’t have a good work ethic.
So I thought to myself with that kind negative ideas they may see the talent these students have with a biased lens. I feel when students don’t fit the “gifted” stereotypes then there must not be gifted students. We have to educate regular education teachers to step away from preconceived notions of what a gifted child looks like. We also have to educate regular education teachers that you have to take out your biases and objectively evaluate students on their work not how they behave. We know that when gifted children get bored they can act out and can exhibit unwanted classroom behaviors.
I teach in a school district that has Title 1 services and 100 percent of the students are on free lunches. Research shows that Gifted programs have few students from minorities and low socioeconomic status families. Along with that many teachers hold negative attitudes about the educational abilities of these students, and many times will low academic expectations for them. Many times the negative behavior or unwanted classroom behaviors overshadow the talent these students have.
Due to the issues listed above schools particularly like the one I teach in must have a strong advocacy program in place. I believe we need to have an advocacy plan that is broken down into the following:
- Needs assessment team made of teacher teams to help teachers find gifted and talented students even though they may have unwanted classroom behaviors.
- An appointed Advocate for the student. This teacher should have some experience with differentiation and /or working with gifted children and understand characteristics and needs of gifted children.
- Implementation and testing team. This is where the Gifted Intervention Specialist and School Psychologist would work together to make sure the State procedures for testing and screening are followed. If the student does qualify for gifted services then parents are notified and student is placed in the appropriate gifted services .
- Follow-up team of the Student advocate, Gifted Intervention Specialist and the School Psychologist follow-up with regular classroom teachers and parents to see if this student is making progress, or if there should be a change of delivery of gifted services .
When many people are working together to make sure students are placed in the right educational setting you can take out the negative attitude toward the actions of students out of the equation and focus on the talents and strengths of the students.
What does your school do to help ensure minority and low socioeconomic status gifted students are being identified and placed in your gifted program? what are some of the process steps you are proud of about placing students in the right educational setting?