Every Child Learns Differently: The Need for Gifted Education Policy

mercury newsIt’s no secret that the education system in the United States has lagged in recent decades compared to other countries around the world. Part of the failure of the system is the lack of specialized programs and the overwhelming approach of providing “cookie cutter” educational approaches to all students. The fact is that each student is different, and students with distinct personalities, strengths and weaknesses need to be placed in learning environments that are conducive to their growth and development. Every child learns differently and it is time that we reform our education system to reflect that truth.

The failure of the educational system is seen clearly in the inability to deal with gifted students. Although some schools do effectively provide alternatives for gifted children, most districts seem to forget that these pupils require unique types of educational stimulation to reach their full potential. Gifted children are tomorrow’s leaders, innovators, and geniuses. We have to alter our approach to education in order to allow students with high levels of brain capacity to flourish and reach their full potential.

Gifted numbersIt is imperative that states and school districts begin to develop policies that require teachers to be properly trained in the field of gifted education. Just as schools are mandated to deal with “special needs” students, there should be programs and classes with curriculum that cater to gifted and 2e (twice exceptional) students. Intelligent students have a tendency to become bored with curriculum in schools, and there are studies available regarding how we can better educate these children. It is time to employ these techniques.

Gifted students are often marginalized or even misdiagnosed as ADHD or hyperactive. Some children are even mistreated by teachers and staff because of their analytical thinking which can be viewed as “smart-alecky” or as an attempt to undermining authority. Mandating that educators are more aware of traits and characteristics of gifted students will decrease these trends of mistreatment, and provide these students with the proper intellectual stimuli that they require for development. Very few states require any training for educators, and there are no funds allocated for gifted education, with very little support from governmental entities in spite of the push by educators for such requirements and policy. 

Policy creation of more gifted programs and pushing for increased awareness about the gifted community are imperative. We are all aware of the age-old adage “the children are our future.” This truth needs to be taken to heart by creating alternative approaches to teaching children of different levels. We can create new classes, subjects, new techniques and exercises to increase the effectiveness of the curriculum not only for gifted students, but for all children. Children have varying interests, skills and strengths, and it is time that our schools begin to cater to those distinct needs.