I know it can seem strange, but gifted children really do, and can become bored in the classroom and at home. When a student becomes bored in the classroom the student will do anything to entertain themselves. Sometimes that entertainment isn’t helpful to the student, or to the classroom they are in.
There are a few reasons why gifted children could be bored in the classroom.
- Under-challenged: Gifted children need to be challenged. Gifted children don’t need drill and kill type activities. They need activities that would stimulate their brains, and challenge them to go deeper into a subject. When they are under-challenged they will become bored.
- Frustrated or Overwhelmed: Sometimes the work seems endless. Sometimes the student just doesn’t see how the parts of a project fit together, and can become frustrated. They may only see a long list of things to do, not necessarily how they all fit together. Along with that, sometimes the work is just too hard. Gifted students aren’t always good at everything. So when they come to an area of education they aren’t comfortable with they can shut down. They can feel incompetent. They may feel they can’t be successful, and let those they are closest to down.
- Uninterested: Sometimes the topic of study isn’t interesting to the gifted student. Since there is no interest they may feel bored and disengaged.
So what are somethings that teachers can do to help gifted students stay engaged in the learning process and avoid being bored?
- Create Depth in Lessons: One thing that you can do to help gifted children is to create extension and enrichment opportunities for them in your classroom. (There is a difference, so check out the link provided.) Allow gifted students to go in-depth in the lesson you are teaching. Do not give them extra work to keep them busy.
- Give Choice: Give gifted students a choice when it comes to what to explore more intimately and in products to be turned in. To find out what the student already know give them the test at the end of the chapter or unit. You can do this together at your desk or have them do it at theirs. Knowing what they already have a grasp on can help individualize their learning. Also, give them some choice on what product to do. Instead of a test at the end of a chapter allow them to do a speech, make a model, or create an app that will show what they learned.
- Pacing: Allow gifted students to move through the curriculum at their pace. There is nothing worse for a gifted child to have to sit and wait on the rest of the class to get the material they understand quickly.
- Conference: One thing that I tell the teachers I work with is know your gifted students. Talk to them, and listen to their interests. Try to make a connection to them. So when they do get bored they have the confidence to say so, and you can help them past it.
Gifted children are a unique population of the student body that will help to make you a better teacher. They will ask to be challenged, pushed, and deepened by you. Don’t see it as a quirky kid pushing your buttons. See them as challenge. Give them the type of education you believe they ought to receive.
What do you do to help gifted children not be bored at school and at home? Let me know in the comments below.
Shameless Plug: This Sunday #ohiogtchat is exploring the topic of Gifted and Boredom. I hope that you can join in. The chat is at 9pm Et on April 3.