Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Students

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Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Students
Goals for this session:
• Gain a better understanding of the social and emotional issues
and concerns facing gifted children today.
• Discuss different strategies that parents and educators can use to
address these issues with gifted children.
• Receive information on how to become an advocate for your
child’s academic and emotional needs.
What is Giftedness?
The State of NC defines giftedness as:
“…Academically or intellectually gifted students perform or show the potential to perform
at substantially high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age,
experience, or environment. Academically or intellectually gifted students exhibit high
performance capability in intellectual areas, specific academic fields, or in both
intellectual areas and specific academic fields.”
- Article 9b (115C-150.5)
How do YOU define giftedness?
• When you hear the term “gifted,” what comes to mind? What
traits do you picture?
• Discuss ideas with your elbow partner or at your table. (3-5
minutes)
• Share your ideas!!
Common Myths and Misconceptions About Gifted
Children
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Gifted students are a homogeneous group, all high achievers.
Gifted students do not need help. If they are really gifted, they can manage on their own.
Gifted students have fewer problems than others because their intelligence and abilities somehow exempt them from the hassles of daily life.
The future of a gifted student is assured: a world of opportunities lies before the student.
Gifted students are self-directed; they know where they are heading.
The social and emotional development of the gifted student is at the same level as his or her intellectual development.
Gifted students are nerds and social isolates.
The primary value of the gifted student lies in his or her brain power.
The gifted student's family always prizes his or her abilities.
Gifted students need to serve as examples to others and they should always assume extra responsibility.
Gifted students make everyone else smarter.
Gifted students can accomplish anything they put their minds to. All they have to do is apply themselves.
Gifted students are naturally creative and do not need encouragement.
Gifted children are easy to raise and a welcome addition to any classroom.
From: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/eric/fact/myths.html
Society’s Perception of Giftedness
• Giftedness on television: The Big Bang Theory - stereotyping
• Is it “cool” to be smart?
• Gifted programs = elitist?
Asynchronous Development
• Disparities between their intellectual, physical (fine motor) and emotional abilities.
• Amplified by large discrepancies between a child’s strengths and weaknesses in
twice-exceptional students and exceptionally (highly) gifted students.
• Uneven development and feeling out of step with social norms.
• Years between 4-9 are most likely to be beset with problems with asynchronous
development.
• Inability to emotionally handle some information they receive/are exposed to.
From: The Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children (2002, Prufrock Press, Inc.)
Gifted Females
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Teachers and parents often underestimate the intelligence of girls and stereotype their abilities, especially with regards to
math and science
Memories of negative parental comments often stick with girls into adulthood
Decisions about duty and caring (putting the needs of others first) versus nurturing personal, religious and social issues
Higher degree of (unhealthy/neurotic) perfectionism
World of limiting stereotypes and barriers to achievement
More likely to attribute success to luck instead of ability (“The Imposter Phenomenon”)
Try to avoid competition to preserve relationships, even if it means they need to downplay their skills (“The Horner
Effect”)
Often avoid displays of outstanding intellectual ability and search for ways to better conform to the norm of the peer
group
Believe it is a social disadvantage to be labeled as “smart” because of negative reactions of peers, the potential to be viewed
as physically unattractive or lacking in social competence
Ways to Support Gifted Females
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Provide special programs that stimulate and challenge them (Girls on the Run, Science Club for Girls, Girl Scouts, etc.)
Encourage them to take higher level math and science courses (AP/IB)
Use multiple measures of ability and achievement. Girls tend to score lower on the SAT, CBAT, GRE and other exams
critical for college and graduate school admission.
Encourage them to take credit for their successes and recognize their own talents.
Provide material to compensate for the lack of inclusion of women’s accomplishments in literature or textbooks.
Foster friendships with gifted peers who share similar interests.
Provide role models of women in traditional and nontraditional careers who have successfully integrated multiple aspects of
their lives.
Avoid sex-role stereotyping. Encourage awareness of biased depictions of girls and women in the media.
Encourage independence and risk-taking.
Avoid having different expectations for girls than for boys.
Gifted Males
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Emotional sensitivity – often not valued in males in our culture. This can lead to withdrawing emotionally from
others around him.
Societal pressures and stereotypes of masculinity may cause boys to hide their giftedness to conform to the ideal of
the rugged, athletic, individualistic male. Athletic + smart = socially acceptable.
Tend to be more of the “underachievers.”
May not be identified early because often giftedness is equated with verbal ability, so boys with strong spatial
abilities may be overlooked.
High energy gifted boys can be misunderstood and labeled as “troublemakers” when they express creativity in the
classroom.
Instructional strategies may not match the needs of gifted boys who often require more spatial, kinesthetic and
technology-based instruction.
Ways to Support Gifted Males
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Expand instructional strategies to include more: speaking and listening in teaching reading, use more technology,
greater amount of physical activity in lessons, less lecture and more spatial/diagrammatic lessons, include books
high in action
Provide accelerated learning in areas of interest.
Provide opportunities for movement throughout the day.
Make available activities for boys who are not interested in athletics (Chess Club, Robotics Clubs, Science
Olympiad, etc.)
Offer leadership training for gifted boys.
Counsel boys to explore various career and occupation options.
Match boys with mentors who can support them in goal setting (coaches, high school/college boys looking to
mentor, neighbors, male teachers, etc.)
Provide gifted boys with role models who have intellectual depth.
Perfectionism in Gifted Students
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“Healthy Perfectionists”: derive a very real sense of pleasure from the labors of painstaking effort and who feel free to be less
precise as the situation permits  empowers
“Neurotic Perfectionists”: are unable to feel satisfaction because in their own eyes they never seem to do things good enough to
warrant that feeling  cripples
Overcommits himself/herself
Rarely delegates work to others; Always has to be in control
Difficult time making decisions
Competes fiercely
Last-minute cramming or always arrives late
Gets carried away with details
Frequently criticizes others, but refuses to hear criticism of himself/herself
Pays more attention to negative than positive comments
Calls himself/herself “stupid” when he/she does something imperfectly
Procrastinates
Deeply embarrassed about mistakes he/she makes
Anxiety over stating opinions
Afraid of appearing incompetent, being rejected or appearing “stupid”
Believes that what he or she can do is more valuable than he or she is
Sets impossible goals
Resists challenging work; will not take risks
Ways to Support Perfectionists
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Allow students to experience failure within a safe environment – be there to support the learning and the struggle
Compliment the effort and process of thinking involved in completing a task – not the product or outcome
Let your child know that you understand his/her desire to do well and recognize his/her fear of goofing up/failing
Help teach time management and organizational skills (use of calendars, breaking large projects into smaller tasks)
Concentrate praise on child’s efforts and be sincere – do not praise every single thing the child does
Avoid criticism and focus more on what your child learned during the process
Do not assign tasks that are too easy or too difficult – it should be slightly challenging
Do not do tasks for your children – this conveys the message that they are incompetent and creates overly-dependent children
Focus on famous people who had failures before success (Thomas Edison, Einstein, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc.)
Teach your child ways to manage stress and anxiety: exercise, breathing techniques, meditation, good eating habits, laughter
Help them set realistic and attainable goals
Model self-acceptance of mistakes – we all make them and when you model how to react to making mistakes, the children will follow your
lead!
Underachieving Gifted Students
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Low academic self-perceptions
Low self-efficacy
Low self-motivation and low effort toward academic tasks
Low goal valuation
Negative attitude toward school and teachers
Low self-regulatory or metacognitive skills (disorganized, impulsive)
Procrastinate
Easily distracted
Turn assignments in late, incomplete, or not at all
Lack of risk-taking; perfectionists
Peer pressure from others to not earn good grades
Higher incidence in males than females
Inconsistent parenting techniques can lead to underachievement (too lenient vs. too strict)
Ways to Support Underachievers
• Help your child develop organizational skills (checklists, calendars, filing, etc.)
• Don’t push your child to do more than he or she is comfortable doing – this can lead to feelings of not
being able to live up to your goals and they will stop trying
• Guide them towards activities that reflect their interests and values
• Avoid competition and comparison – especially with siblings
• Hold family meetings and/or class meetings to discuss concerns and progress
• Free time scheduled each day to show importance of relaxation and free choice
• Verbal praise for any self-initiating behaviors
More Strategies for Supporting Gifted Students
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Collaborate with your school’s counselor/guidance counselor to learn about strategies to support your child both at home
and in school
Be involved in your child’s achievement, but not overly invested in it – teach them self-efficacy and independence
Allow choice when possible
Listen without offering criticism or advice – just listen.
Praise personal values you are trying to promote instead of the outcomes or products (hard work, kindness, responsibility,
etc.)
Teach good time management and organizational skills
Provide opportunities for community service or action – this allows for feelings of contribution.
Promote social contact that is positive – encourage them to get together with friends who have similar interests and values
Promote the value of challenging work and appreciation of learning
Model risk-taking and coping strategies in the face of failure
Talk to other parents of gifted children or form discussion groups (e.g. SENG)
When Should I Worry?
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Self-imposed isolation
Extreme perfectionism
Deep concern with personal powerlessness
Unusual fascination with violence
Eating disorders
Substance abuse
Preoccupation with self
Withdrawal into a fantasy world
Rigid, compulsive behavior
Preoccupation with death
Talent Development/Advanced Studies/AVID
Department Contacts
• Director – Kathleen Koch
[email protected] (980-343-6174)
• Elementary Specialist – Lisa Larotonda
[email protected] (980-343-6165)
• Compliance/Testing – Sheena Miracle
[email protected] (980-343-2700)
• Secondary/Horizons (highly gifted) – Trinette Atri
[email protected] (980-343-2644)
• Evelyn Schlick
• LI/TD Magnet Coordinator
Shamrock Gardens Elementary
[email protected]
http://evelynschlick.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/
References
Alvino, J. An investigation into the needs of gifted boys. Roeper Review, 13(4), 174178.
Cross, T. L. (2005). The social and emotional lives of gifted kids: Understanding and
guiding their development. Waco, Texas: Prufrock Press.
Delisle, J. & Galbraith, J. (2002). When gifted kids don’t have all the answers: How to
meet their social and emotional needs. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.
Fisher, T. Using bibliotherapy with gifted children.
http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/unwrapping_the_gifted/2009/03/using_bibliothe
rapy_with_gifted_children.html
Ford, D. Y. (2000, June). Multicultural literature and gifted black students: Promoting
self-understanding, awareness, and pride. Roeper Review, 22(4), 235 – 241.
Hoagies Gifted education Page. http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/
Halsted, J. W. (2002). Some of my best friends are books: Guiding gifted readers from
preschool to high school (2nd ed). Scottsdale, Arizona: Great Potential Press.
Hebert, T.P. & Kent, R. (2000, April). Nurturing social and emotional development in
gifted teenagers through young adult literature. Roeper Review, 22(3), 167 – 172.
References (continued)
Lewis, L., Rivera, A., & Roby, D. (2012). Identifying & serving culturally and linguistically diverse gifted
students. Waco, Texas: Prufrock Press, Inc.
Neihart, M. Cause for Concern, or Reason to Celebrate: Maureen Neihart Discusses her Research
on the Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children. Center for Talent Development at
Northwestern University.
Neihart, M., Reis, S., Robinson, N.M., & Moon,S. (2002). The social and emotional development of
gifted children: What do we know? Washington, DC: The National Association for Gifted
Children in conjunction with Prufrock Press.
Quindlen, A. (2005). Being Perfect. Random House.
Rimm, S. B. (2005). Why bright kids get poor grades: And what you can do about it. Three Rivers
Press.
Romanoff, Brenda (2004). Class Notes – Social and Emotional needs of gifted students. UNCC
Siegle, D. (2013). The underachieving gifted child: Recognizing, understanding, and reversing
underachievement. Waco, Texas: Prufrock Press.
Trail, B. (2011). Twice-exceptional gifted children: Understanding, teaching, and counseling gifted
students. Waco, Texas: Prufrock Press, Inc.
Walker, S. Y. (2002). The survival guide for parents of gifted kids: how to understand, live with, and
stick up for your gifted child. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.
Webb, J. (1994). Nurturing social-emotional development of gifted children. The ERIC
Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education (ERIC EC #E527). Accessed from
http://eric.hoagiesgifted.org
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