The school district has a program of gifted education which is quite comprehensive and effective. Nonetheless, it has a number of drawbacks. Shaklee (2001) stress that it is important to have an efficient program or it is better not to have any program at all. Therefore, the school district in question should consider certain changes.
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First of all, it is important to understand that gifted children should get the corresponding education from the earliest stages. Rogers (2002) emphasizes that gifted children in kindergarten should also have the opportunity to develop. The researcher notes that it is possible to estimate a child’s potential at early stages (Rogers, 2002). Thus, Emma, the first-grader, is an example of inappropriate treatment of younger learners. Emma should have started a program for gifted children as early as in the kindergarten or, at least, in the first grade. The earlier a child starts getting the necessary education, the more effective the program becomes. Hence, the school district should consider possibility of adopting the program for gifted students which starts in the kindergarten or the first grade.
There is another serious issue to be addressed. Gallagher and Gallagher (1994) stress that programs for gifted students should be comprehensive. The researchers add that it is important to take into account family life of students (Gallagher & Gallagher, 1994). For instance, Muhammad, the twelve-year-old student of the sixth grade, can be regarded as an example of the negative affect of constraints in the family. Muhammad is a gifted student and likes studying but he cannot study properly at his foster home. The program should also take into account difficulties of such students. It is possible to encourage such students to spend more time at school (doing homework with peers and/or teacher, studying in libraries, etc.).
Finally, there can be issues related to overload. Thus, Ricki Rivers is a gifted student, but she does not need the load she used to have. She is eager to focus on English. Remarkably, Neihart (2001) notes that there are certain myths about gifted students. According to these myths, gifted students can handle all tasks given, they are absolutely self-directed, etc. (Neihart, 2001). However, Ricki could not cope with the overload and she has decided to leave the program. Therefore, the school district should pay more attention to the students’ load. Students should be able to cope with the tasks given and they should not be or feel overwhelmed. Otherwise, they will simply stop studying and their gifts and talents will never develop. For instance, Clark (2002) provides a variety of strategies and methods to effectively motivate and develop gifted students. The school district in question should consider adopting some of these strategies.
On balance, it is possible to note that, while creating the program for gifted students, the school district in question has to pay more attention to development of a program for younger gifted learners, appropriate load for gifted students, and possible family problems of students.
Clark, B. (2002). Growing up gifted: Developing the potential of children at home and at school. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.
Gallagher, J.J., & Gallagher, S.A. (1994). Teaching the gifted child. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
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Neihart, M. (Editor). (2001). The socio-emotional development of gifted learners: What do we know? Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.
Rogers, K. (2002). Reforming gifted education. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press.
Shaklee, B. D. (2001). Program design. In M.S. Landrum, C.M. Callahan, B.D. Shaklee (Eds.), Aiming for excellence: Annotations to the pre-k-12 gifted education programming standards (pp. 1-15). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.