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Gifted Child in "Average" Classroom

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: I believe my 11-year-old daughter is gifted. What do you think about keeping gifted and "average" children together in the classroom? I've noticed in the beginning of the semester she was very happy to help others, but now I think she is having a difficult time in school and also with her grades and behavior. Can you help me?

A: Today, most students in elementary and middle schools --from the gifted to those with special needs -- are receiving the greatest part of their education in the general education classroom. Keep in mind that the classroom teacher has the responsibility of meeting each student's individual needs. In reality, this can be difficult to accomplish in classrooms where students have such diverse abilities. Most teachers elect to teach lessons directed towards the needs of average students. However, special programs make it easier for all students to receive the education they need.

If your school has a gifted program, it could turn things around for your daughter and make school more enjoyable for her. Find out how she can take part in such a program.

It's time for a talk with your child's teacher. However, before doing this, talk with your daughter to get her input on why she may be having some problems at school. You could be worrying unnecessarily.

Gifted children are often asked to spend an inordinate amount of time helping classmates. While this is a worthy endeavor, it should never interfere with the gifted child's right to learn. Hopefully, this hasn't been happening to your daughter. You should certainly discuss this issue when talking to your child's teacher.

Often, gifted children are not challenged to perform to their fullest capacity because teachers think they are doing fine. To become an advocate for your daughter, you need to learn as much as you can about giftedness. Visit these websites: National Association of Gifted Children , Educational Resources Information Center, and Family Education Network'sGifted and Talented Resources.

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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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