Review of Best Practices
In Gifted Education:
An Evidence-Based Guide
Best Practices In Gifted Education: An Evidence-Based Guide
by Ann Robinson, Ph.D, Bruce M. Shore, Ph.D., and Donna L. Enersen, Ph.D.
Published by Prufrock Press, Inc, (Waco, Texas ) for the National Association for Gifted Children. 2007. 286 pp.
Figuring out how to best meet the needs of gifted children, whether at home or at school, can be a challenge for even the most dedicated parent and teacher.
The situation is often made worse in many public school settings because teachers and staff are also trying to meet the needs of an entire class, whose abilities may range from the supremely gifted to the struggling.
This valuable resource, based on scholarly investigation of what really works (and what doesn’t) in various educational settings across the country, would be a worthy text for professional development. Although the division of chapters into a discussion targeting parents, the classroom and the school strikes me as somewhat squishy and artificial, on the whole this works very well.
Among the topics: how teachers can identify and develop a gifted child’s talents; use parents appropriately in the classroom; model social skills that may be lacking in a cognitively precocious student to help her successfully manage peer relationships; compress and differentiate curriculum to challenge gifted children; having children enter school earlier, having them skip a grade, or otherwise accelerate them; offer career education to help students explore possibilities that might otherwise never have occurred to them; develop worthwhile and productive mentorship programs, as well as provide additional opportunities inside and outside school.
The authors also dedicate space to thoughtful explorations of the role gender differences sometimes play in gifted children (and why girls may need extra encouragement to try out for the math team, or science competition). Similarly, they pay careful attention to the need for both classroom teachers and principals to look for multiple intelligences in children, especially those who come from low-income or otherwise disadvantaged homes.
The ultimate goal, of course, is for these gifted children to enhance and develop their natural skills by exposure to a variety of stimulating intellectual experiences–practice with critical thinking, creative projects, languages (such as Latin, starting in the 4th grade, according to some experts), challenging math and science curricula. One key point, for example, is that “administrators need to recognize that talented readers do not need to jump the hurdles of the grade level reading curriculum.”
Given the pressures on schools to be sure that there is ‘no child left behind’, it’s sometimes easy, unfortunately, for the needs of gifted children to go unmet. This book is a much-needed antidote to that prevalent trend.#