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How to Motivate Gifted Students


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A review of the literature and what works and what does not work. Written by a teacher for teachers.

Published in: Education
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How to Motivate Gifted Students

  1. 1. Gifted Students: Motivational Ideas The Future Belongs to the Learners NOT The Learned
  2. 2. By Alan Haskvitz, classroom teacher • National Teachers Hall of Fame • Named 100 Most Important Educators in World • USA Today All American Educator • Reader’s Digest Hero in Education • NCSS Middle Level Teacher of the Year • NCSS National Exemplary Program • Learning Magazine Professional Best American Teacher Award • Cherry International Great Teacher Award • George Washington Freedom Foundation Award • State/National Awards in economics, technology, environment, agriculture, economics, art, service learning, journalism, English, history,
  3. 3. My articles / Gifted education Email
  4. 4. Definition of Underachievement• Underachievement is a behavior and thus can change over time. • Underachievement is content and situation specific. • Gifted children who do not succeed in school are often successful in outside activities. • Underachievement is in the eyes of the beholder.
  5. 5. What, Me Worry? • Highly gifted kids will often adopt a pattern of avoidance of hard work when they have never learned to work hard. • Many gifted kids haven't had to work very hard to do well, but that starts to change as they get older. • They may have gotten away with avoiding things they don't do well. • Another thing to consider is that many gifted
  6. 6. Intrinsic Rewards Extrinsic Rewards result in a “What’s in it for me” attitude. Intrinsic Rewards result in the building of self-esteem Rewards need to promote long term behavior change. They do not need to be related to achievement.
  7. 7. Not all gifted are the same
  8. 8. Ideas that work Put away that rubics cube. Why? Only one goal. Short term. What is the learning involved? Cover material in more depth Do less Use a variety of methods Appeal to their negative nature Get them on your side.
  9. 9. Motivation can be related to methods Alter the curriculum, but don’t change the objective Accept different proofs of knowledge You need to realize that good words can be “bad words” Fear of success Always value talking to student and asking opinions
  10. 10. Gifted students in most cases are good test takers have the ability to remember things more quickly, but they aren't gifted in the sense that they have a gift. What they have is a different way of learning, and even that may reflect only one part of the curriculum such as music, or math. They can more easily retrieve data.
  11. 11. So Apply Learning Solve Problems Do Something Push Outside Comfort Zones
  12. 12. Dealing with Problems Use indirect approach If you see a student having a problem, visit other students before and after your visit. Use Lost Scout Approach How did they get lost?
  13. 13. Achievement is Not Motivation It's important to remember that while you may get a student to do homework it may not be motivating to the child. They need to learn where the material is leading. They need to see the path.
  14. 14. Make it Meaningful Teach them speed reading Teach them how to write by showing them the structure writers use. End First Give them the answer and they produce the question Relate to their life Make it “fun”
  15. 15. Competition >Turn it to your advantage >Importance of team work >Help others be better >Avoid “The Best” It Teaches Avoidance
  16. 16. Learn by Doing Set Baselines Prove that you know this How would you teach this to others Use variety of intelligences/methods
  17. 17. Calendar Don’t underestimate value of large calendar and Timeline (what they learned)
  18. 18. Learning Timeline Today I learned Motivating as they look back AND Helps them organize their thoughts AND Enables them to see direction
  19. 19. Create own learning aids 1. Use cards (discard) 2. Use Cornell note taking 3. Invent secret note taking system 4. Write their own textbook
  20. 20. Getting Them Organized Battle Plan for the Day Three Transfers Linking
  21. 21. Use Linking Make connections across curriculum Ongoing Large sheet of paper Daily upgrades Reflections
  22. 22. Teachers should be an example Publish, Research, be Active It is motivating for students to be proud of their teacher
  23. 23. Don’t Don't put up student examples Don’t isolate students Don’t compare their work Don’t judge creativity
  24. 24. Quotes Any gifted child can potentially get in real trouble because of the way they are handled. Itzhak Perlman Genius without education is like silver in the mine. – Benjamin Franklin Each time we steal a student's struggle, we steal the opportunity for them to build self-confidence. They must learn to do hard things to feel good about themselves. – Sylvia Rimm You can never hold a person down without staying down with him. – Booker T. Washington
  25. 25. High Interest Sites The first recorded trial - in 824 - took place when moles did something wrong in the Valley of Aosta (near today's Italian-Swiss border). Found guilty, the offending moles were excommunicated from the Catholic Church. E. P. Evans, in his 1906 book entitled The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals, tells us that judging animals extends back in time to ancient Greece. Even inanimate objects - such as a fallen pillar - could become a criminal defendant. The point of the cases was to investigate how terrible events had come about. Awesome Stories is the best source of material for motivating gifted students based on content and diversity.
  26. 26. Recommended Reading Environmental, Familial, and Personal Factors That Affect the Self-Actualization of Highly Gifted Adults: Case Studies Doctoral Dissertation Introduction and Literature Review, Deborah L. Ruf, Ph.D.
  27. 27. Number one way to reach gifted students: EMPOWER THEM Characteristics of gifted children predispose them to existential distress. Because brighter people are able to envision the possibilities of how things might be, they tend to be idealists. However, they are simultaneously able to see that the world falls short of their ideals. Unfortunately, these visionaries also recognize that their ability to make changes in the world is very limited. Dabrowski’s Theory and Existential Depression in Gifted Children
  28. 28. Haskvitz's Student Accomplishments Selected for Bright Idea Award by Harvard Represented the United States in International Technology competition in Rome Worked with Joy Hakim on her book, The Story of Us Selected best from 20,000 entries and they testified at the United Nations on the importance of environmental education.
  29. 29. Students' work was selected the best from 12,000 entries earned an all expense paid trip to Washington DC to meet the President. The National Wildlife Federation selected program as best from 9000 entries for students involvement in political action and the environment. Student’s integrated work in agriculture was chosen as one of the top 12 in the nation and was shared on national television. Students’ research was published in the National Middle School Newsletter. Students passed state environmental legislation. Students Piloted the Close-Up Foundations National Community Service Program. Graffiti campaign reduced graffiti by 90 percent in the community.
  30. 30. Students' work was the centerpiece for the County of Los Angeles summit called by the Los Angeles Registrar of Voters and lead to rewriting of county and state voting forms. Students' class work has earned trips them to the United Nations, Washington DC, Tampa, CNN in Atlanta, Sea World, and Disneyland in national competitions. Students won five congressional writing competitions and over 20 essay and speech contests. Students were finalist City of the Future engineering competition for industrial creativity. Students’ work selected by Oregon Trail and California Oregon Trail group for their sites. Students' work on environmental friendly driving techniques featured on DMV website.
  31. 31. Differences • Bright child • Knows the answers • Interested • Pays attention • Works hard • Answers questions • Enjoys same-age children • Gifted child • Asks the questions • Extremely curious • Gets involved physically and mentally • Plays around; still gets good test scores • Questions the
  32. 32. Differences Part Two • Bright Child • Learns easily • Listens well • Self-satisfied • Learns with ease • 6-8 repetitions for mastery • Understands ideas • Gifted Child • Good at guessing • Bored -- already knew the answers • Shows strong feelings and opinions • Highly critical of self (perfectionist) • Is
  33. 33. Differences Part 3 • Bright Child • Completes assignments • Is receptive • Copies accurately • Enjoys school • Absorbs information • Technician • Gifted Child • Constructs abstractions • Initiates projects • Is intense • Creates a new design • Enjoys learning • Manipulates
  34. 34. References How Do I Know if My Child is Gifted Differences in Gifted, High Achievers Janice Szabos, Challenge, 1989, Good Apple, Inc., Issue 34 Poor Teacher Training: End of Gifted Teaching Making a Difference: Motivating Gifted Students Who Are Not Achieving Del Siegle D. Betsy McCoach Motivating Gifted Studen Helping Gifted Student
  35. 35. Preventing Cheating
  36. 36. Marylou Kelly Streznewski in her book Gifted Grown Ups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential, gifted people may make up as much as 20 percent of the prison population.
  37. 37. I asked Mom if I was a gifted child. She said they certainly wouldn't have PAID for me. – Calvin (Calvin & Hobbes)
  38. 38. Satire Videos
  39. 39. Have a sense of humor
  40. 40. Have a sense of humor
  41. 41. Thank you for coming Alan Haskvitz Email