During the educational process, we often encounter so-called “gifted students”- people who possess particular features that distinguish them from the others. As the majority of such students tend to adopt their own approaches to critical thinking, interesting solutions, and brainstorming ideas, they are rather difficult to stay imperceptible. However, when learning process is concerned, less than a half of the students can respond to standard requirements. The abovementioned reasons the existence of numerous issues devoted to the term “atypicality”. Our vital task is to highlight the area of their atypicality, discover the key elements of it, and communicate with one of the students who pertain to the category of gifted learners.
It should be mentioned that these people prominently display such distinctive features as self-motivation, curiosity, perseverance, devotion to the process of working, enjoyment in developing their talents, and ameliorating knowledge. Thus, they are more concentrated on the studying process and discovering something exceptionally new in their leisure time. On the contrary, their peers prefer spending time in communities, sharing their experience, and expressing themselves in different ways. In fact, gifted learners are rather specific in the sphere of their conduction. They are more shy, sensitive, and vulnerable to a variety of events than other classmates. Hence in some cases, gifted students require even more support and attention from their teachers than the ordinary students.
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Due to the stereotypes and prejudices existing in our society, we are used to appreciating gifted students in a wrong way, frequently recognizing them as those who can cooperate and develop an individual program of learning by themselves (“Myths about gifted students,” 2009.) In other words, they are supposed to work independently and cannot accept any intervention in their lives. What is more, the majority of the teachers are not prepared to educate their students in a different manner. As a result, the lack of special training engenders a conflict in the group since gifted learners do not always meet the expectations or cannot understand what their instructors demand.
Eventually, those gifted students are not considered to be the role models for the majority of their groups. As most of the students tend to imitate the behavior of their peers who are believed to have similar capacities and strengths, the atypical learners can experience the feeling of depression, silliness, and miscomprehension at the same time. They rarely succeed to promote the favorable working opportunities for the whole class, by showing their knowledge and answering correctly to all of the questions. In that turn, other children can less intelligent dump, humiliated, and may easily lose faith in their abilities. Another aspect of atypicality underlies in the context of grade and proper appreciation. Not all of the gifted students receive the high grades; furthermore, because of their own understanding of the learning process and independent vision of the apparent requirements they are often not academically successful. With this respect, constant corrections and attempts to impose standards can deprive us of an opportunity to raise a future genius.
On the basis of personal experience of meeting such gifted learner, the research related to the particular sphere of atypicality of this person was conducted which helped to understand what traits and features make the learner special. The above mentioned person is 16-year old girl Julie who studies at the specialized high school. The observations obtained from visiting her class and watching her presentation signify the girl’s success in the learning process, responsible attitude to the work, eagerness, and the high level of preparation. Her major is history, but the girl also shares deep interested in math, economics, chemistry, and physics. Apart from positive comments from her teachers, the recent test results are the direct proof to the fact that Julie is one of the most talented students in the region. She took part in the number of competitions including English and literature, history, math quizzes etc.
The teachers also revealed the information regarding her unfamiliar methods of studying and the traditions she would like to continue. For instance, Julie prefers spending her time in a local library instead of surfing the Internet in order to find the required information. She always provides precise description of the way she intends to accomplish her homework by writing down the main details of a particular plan. Julie’s mother also said that her daughter never goes in bed unless she understands the whole material and discovers something new in each subject.
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What is more, the gifted girl is able to dedicate her free-time to the extracurricular activities, which implies that she possesses the well-developed organizational and time-management skills. More profound research revealed that she participates in a special group of non-professional street dancers and helps her mother in the shop at weekends. As for personal features, Julie refuses to recognize herself as a gifted teenager, and says she is a passionate, concentrated, and open-minded girl with specific life goals.
However, Julie‘s classmates have rather different vision about her. They are sure that Julie learns everything by rote with the aim to demonstrate how clever she is. The interview with some girl’s peers demonstrates that the majority of them perceive Julie as a weird and smart teenager who does not look after herself, always sleeps with books, and has no friends at all. Moreover, there were negative comments related to the fact that she does not provide an opportunity to respond to the teacher’s questions and reacts improperly when someone makes a mistake.
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The results of the research may arouse further issues regarding this problem. If all of the gifted students deal brilliantly with the educational programs but experience difficulties in communication with their relatives, the latter may find it hard to help the former to develop. With this respect, the teachers are supposed to play the most important role in the students’ lives and make significant influence on the studying process.
Obviously, only individualized educational programs can assist in addressing the issue under consideration. In the context of contemporary understanding, atypical learners require the creation of the flexible curriculum acceleration as a compulsory intervention into their education. The gifted students have to set independent goals, conduct analysis and evaluation of the material, as well as make personal conclusions and suggestions. The teachers are to participate in their students’ activities and cooperate with them (“Policy and implantation strategies for the education of gifted and talented students,” 2004.) Another essential measure concerned with the issue is to let such children provide their individual projects based on their interests and goals in order to develop the responsibility and promote the feeling of control among them. The combination of grouping strategies, enrichment, counseling intervention, and the well-developed process of acceleration could significantly increase the recent statistics.
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In conclusion, it is necessary to outline that the above suggested steps will be effective in providing the right treatment of the matter. The implementation of the presented programs can improve the students’ attitude to the working process on the whole. At the same time, it should be kept in mind that gifted students are the ordinary children who need support as anyone else. Since all of us belong to humankind, we are responsible for our behavior regarding such people.