Since the outbreak of COVID-19, remote learning has become a new normal for many schools worldwide. Together with new opportunities, students have been forced to face challenges provoked by a new learning environment.
The shift has affected everyone. However, the interests and needs of gifted students often remain overlooked. The lack of a familiar classroom environment and social isolation have a significant effect on their performance, achievement, and mental health. In this article, we’ll take a look at five strategies on how to enhance the remote learning experience for gifted students.
1. Understanding Giftedness
Being gifted is a “mixed blessing,” as Marylou Kelly Streznewski called it. Together with the ability to excel academically, it involves challenges including:
- Unreasonably high expectations from parents, teachers, and oneself;
- Insufficient information or lack of resources that correspond to the level of a gifted student;
- Problems in communication with peers;
- Excessive perfectionism;
- Increased sensitivity;
- Vulnerability to anxiety about the future;
- The feeling of being overwhelmed.
In many cases, gifted students are more sensitive than their peers. When they pursue education remotely, the challenges they face become even more intense due to isolation and lack of in-person guidance from teachers.
At the same time, every student is different, and so are their challenges and needs. This requires educators to drop the one-size-fits-all instruction and try to develop a personalized learning plan for each student. Only a student-centric environment can meet the intellectual and emotional needs of gifted students.
2. Flexible Organization
Flexible organization of classes is another benefit of online learning. It considers the preferences of gifted students—from the ability to choose when and where to study to personalized content and instruction.
Students benefit from the chance to organize their own learning. They can spend more time on topics that interest them most. Essay writers from a reliable paper writing service can help them with the rest of their coursework. Gifted students demonstrate an increase in performance when they are given more autonomy. It boosts their motivation to participate and develops their self-directed learning skills.
With new LMSs, gifted students enjoy extensive libraries where they can consume learning content that matches their interests. This allows them to go beyond the curriculum.
3. Learning at a Deeper Level
When it comes to the enrichment of the learning experience, remote classes offer a myriad of possibilities. They give gifted students more advanced learning materials to let them dive deeper into a subject and widen their knowledge.
Additional resources can be selected in a way to answer students’ interests and thus create more meaningful engagement. Learners need assignments tailored specifically to the level of their ability. For example, instead of memorizing basic facts about globalization, offer students to go further and explore related values and ethics. Gifted students appreciate a chance to exercise critical thinking instead of plain memorization.
Standardized learning plans usually lack challenge for gifted students and seem too boring or monotonous. In contrast, assignments that meet students’ learning needs deepen their interest and understanding of a subject.
Note that enrichment of learning doesn’t equal acceleration. You should always stress quality over quantity when working with gifted students. Flooding them with a large amount of content is hardly helpful. Often, it overwhelms students instead of bringing any benefits.
4. Effective Assessment
Assessment of gifted students also requires small adjustments to maximize its benefits for learners. Teachers need to constantly monitor the level of their knowledge to offer them meaningful and reasonably challenging assignments. The standard curriculum often lacks in-depth tasks, causing gifted students to feel bored because of monotonous tests.
They need a way to show the level of their knowledge. Simple multiple-choice tests may either seem too easy or even discourage students from going beyond minimal requirements. You should engage them in higher-level creative assignments. Authors of PaperWriter review by EssayReviews.com and other experts who help students demonstrate mastery of the learning content suggest projects, presentations, and writing tasks. These activities are much more versatile and give teachers a comprehensive picture of a student’s progress.
Embrace informal assessment methods like individual projects, self-reflection, results of discussions, and group work to gather evidence on the performance of gifted students. They will help you determine whether they need some extra content, decide on the further direction of their progress, and offer adjustments to their learning strategy. Assessment is also a useful tool for a teacher to evaluate the effectiveness of their instruction methods for gifted students.
5. Communication Is Key
Gifted students tend to be more sensitive to changes in their environment. The sudden disappearance of social contact and lack of in-person guidance often results in frustration and disengagement. Therefore, it’s important to maintain open communication.
As a teacher, you should constantly monitor the progress of all students, gifted ones in particular. Usually, they need less time to complete the basic requirements of the course. It would be a good idea to create some extra follow-up opportunities for them.
Besides, gifted students may struggle to build relationships with peers. In online education, the problem becomes even more profound. It’s crucial to create authentic, collaborative opportunities for gifted students to encourage them to share their thoughts and experiences with others. This may include virtual forums, discussions, projects, and chats. Students can also organize study groups to do homework and prepare for tests together.
Individual consultations are also useful to address students’ problem areas and identify growth opportunities. They can be used for coaching and mentoring. Open communication is one of the ways to support the performance of gifted students. It empowers them to pursue their goals, improve performance, and excel.
The Bottom Line
Although remote learning is full of problems for gifted students, it also offers valuable opportunities. With the right instruction strategy, they enjoy a personalized learning path, exciting challenges, and a chance to develop their own voice. This is key to helping gifted students unlock their full potential and maximize the benefits of the time they spend learning online.