Learning support includes supporting high-performing and gifted students, individuals who display exceptional abilities in one or more areas such as academics, arts, sports, or leadership. While these students may excel at their talents, they also have unique needs that require attention and support. As an educator or parent, it's essential to provide a supportive environment that fosters their growth and development. Too often these students are not identified and supported in our international schools. Here are some ways in which we can support high-performing and gifted students.
Identification and Recognition
The first step towards supporting high-performing and gifted students is identifying them. Proper identification and recognition of gifted students help in ensuring that they receive the requisite support and resources to enhance their talent. Look for signs such as exceptional academic performance, innate talent, high intellectual abilities, or an outstanding commitment toward a hobby or activity. Then consult with other educators, counselors, or professionals for assessments. Once identified, give your students recognition for their talents to boost their confidence and self-esteem.
Individualized Learning Opportunities
High-performing and gifted students crave intellectual challenges and need more stimulation than their peers. Providing opportunities for individualized learning plans, advanced courses, or mentorship programs can help these students reach their full potential. A challenging curriculum that is tailored to their needs can help them stay engaged and motivated and promote their skill set. This can involve creating a customizable learning path that can differ from the standard classroom experience based on their strengths and interests.
Encourage Creativity and Exploration
High-performing and gifted students often need creative and explorative avenues to channel their energy, and a supportive environment can provide such stimulation. Encourage them to follow their passions by giving them access to materials and resources that help them explore or create what they desire, whether it be in the field of science or art. This can also involve giving them opportunities to participate in competitions, exhibitions, or projects that challenge them to apply their skills creatively.
High-performing gifted students can face challenges such as isolation, boredom, underachievement anxiety, and perfectionism which can impede their growth and affect their self-esteem. Encourage them to develop their social skills, collaborate with peers, and provide them with emotional support through counseling, mentorship, or connect them to other gifted students to promote a sense of belonging.
Supporting high-performing and gifted students is crucial for their holistic development. Building a conducive environment that caters to their exceptional needs through acknowledgment, individualized learning, creativity, and providing emotional support can go a long way in ensuring that they reach their full potential. Additionally, remember to continuously monitor and evaluate the student's progress to modify their learning plans to ensure continued growth and development.
Jody Ubert is the challenge and enrichment coordinator at the International School of Ho Chi Minh City.