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Sara Klein TAG Philosophy Identifying and Serving Gifted Students Identifying gifted students and developing gifted

programs are often difficult tasks because people tend have quite different personal definitions of giftedness. In order to educate gifted students, schools must first define giftedness, as well as a procedure for identifying gifted students. In addition, the programs and services for gifted individuals must match the giftedness definition and identification procedure. If schools have a broad definition of giftedness, but can only serve a small population of students within that broad definition, the process is ineffective. Schools must determine the services they can provide, such as enrichment for academically gifted students, and work to identify the students who are gifted in that area. I believe students can be gifted in numerous different ways, and giftedness can be considered an above average aptitude in a specific area. Gifted individuals stand out among their peers and learn differently than the average population, which means gifted students benefit from learning opportunities outside of the traditional classroom. Gifted students should be given opportunities to extend the curriculum, explore their interests, and develop their abilities in new ways. Giftedness can mean above average ability in numerous areas, and an individual student may be gifted in one or several areas. Students may excel academically and show aptitude in one or all core subject areas. Grades in school do not necessarily reflect academic giftedness. Some students may be extremely motivated and work hard to achieve good grades, even if they do not have above average mental ability. Conversely, some students may have very high mental ability, yet maintain low class averages due to a lack of motivation or interest. Individuals may also be creatively gifted and excel in non-core areas, such as music, visual art, or engineering. There are several indicators of giftedness that teachers and parents can look for when observing students for gifted identification. Indicators include humor, problem solving skills, inquiry and motivation, among others. It is also important to note that indicators of giftedness may not always be deemed positive qualities. For example, if a student spends an entire class period designing and flying paper airplanes, it will likely disrupt class and indicate the student has not completed his work for the day. Although many teachers would react negatively to this student, the student has demonstrated interest, motivation, and problem solving abilities, all of which are gifted characteristics. It is essential for educators to recognize there is no standard or normal gifted individual; gifted students often have unusual gifts and appear to be atypical students, rather than the stereotypical smart students. Gifted students should be given opportunities to extend the curriculum, explore interests, and pursue new challenges, and most often those opportunities are not provided in a traditional classroom setting. Although classes are split into on-level, honors, and AP in high school, even the highest level classes may not be enough challenge or stimulation for gifted students. Honors and AP classes are likely filled with bright, motivated students, but those students do not learn in

the same way as gifted students. Gifted students will flourish when given the chance to explore outside of the standard classroom, and school systems should make it a priority to provide those services. Gifted students should still be expected to meet the required curriculum and all necessary assessments, but they should be able to extend their learning experiences after meeting all requirements. Enrichment programs can provide learning experiences that build on traditional classroom skills and curriculum, but also allow students to explore interests and develop abilities that may not be taught in an academic classroom. I am passionate about gifted education and believe gifted students are the individuals who will make a difference in the next generation. Gifted students are talented, motivated, and unique, and they have so much potential. Educators are working to increase the relevance and rigor for all students in the classroom, but gifted students are limited by traditional classrooms and must have additional learning experiences in order to fully extend their learning. It is imperative that school systems and educators provide enrichment programs to foster inquiry and learning in gifted students, allowing them to explore and reach their potential.