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What Are the Consequences of Neglecting Gifted Children?

By Saoirse OMara

Are you prepared for the severe consequences of neglecting gifted educational tracts in your school? Read about possible pitfalls and get tips on how to avoid them.

Let's See How That Could Happen

Have you ever thought about the consequences of neglecting gifted education? What happens if a gifted child is not encouraged the way he or she should be? Take a look at the possible consequences of neglecting gifted education in three possible scenarios and consider some tips to avoid these scenarios.

The Possible Scenarios

The Best Case

Some gifted children just tolerate life as it is and manage to earn good grades in spite of being bored. Even when class material fails to stimulate them, they make the best of their situation and normally are among the best students in each of their classes. They often try to satisfy their thirst for knowledge outside of school to compensate for their boring lessons. Others start helping their classmates and thus take on the role of a second teacher.

The Most Common Case

Most gifted children get easily bored in classes and stop paying attention when lessons are just too boring for them. Instead, they start doing their homework, they write notes with their classmates, they draw little pictures in their notebooks or they stare out of the window while their mind wanders. These children still get acceptable and sometimes even outstanding grades but they could do better.

The Worst Case

There are some gifted children who get so bored that they start interrupting the lessons. Others refuse to cooperate with the teachers or classmates. Often enough the result is that these children are thought of as lazy, difficult or stupid. Many of these gifted children leave school with very poor grades, or even without a high school diploma at all, although they could have gotten outstanding grades with the right encouragement.

Tips for Avoiding these Scenarios

As you can see, the consequences of neglecting gifted education can be severe for those children who would benefit from it. What can you do about to keep this from happening?

  • First of all, try to find out your students' level of giftedness as early as possible. Watch out for children who are very curious or seem to be little know-it-alls.
  • Second, challenge gifted children within your various classes.
  • Third, keep an eye on children who tend to interrupt lessons or who refuse to participate in lessons. Try to find out their motivation for their uncooperative behavior.

In some cases, it might be best for the child to let him or her advance into the next higher grade. In other cases, gifted children might be happy with special tasks that challenge them. These tasks can be given in addition to or instead of the tasks the other students have to do. The last resort for teachers should be to allow gifted students to do their homework during classes. Granted, the students will be quiet and will not disturb the others, but this should not become a regular means of activity.

The golden rule: Boredom is the greatest barrier to good grades. Bored students, gifted or not, quickly lose interest in classes.