Home > School and Learning > Learning Differences > Gifted Education > New Teacher Doesn't Understand Giftedness

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

New Teacher Doesn't Understand Giftedness

Gifted and Talented Expert Advice from Rita Culross, Ph.D.

Q: My son is 11 and has been in the gifted/talented program since he was five years old. This year he has a home room teacher who just graduated from college and is challenged to keep him from being distracted and disorganized. What resources can I offer her?

She has assigned his peers to monitor him to assist with his behavior. I've told the principal my belief that this is peer pressure and therefore not a good solution. This seems to be a situation that is set up for failure.

A: Beginning teachers do face major challenges in individualizing instruction, in mastering classroom management problems, in evaluating students' performance, and in integrating technology in the classroom. Most beginning teachers have had little direct experience with, or education about, the gifted and talented.

Since your son has been identified by the school as gifted/talented, I would assume there is someone within the district who handles programming for the gifted. As a start, I would contact the gifted program coordinator or resource teachers with specialized training in gifted education and explain the problem.

It is not unusual for beginning teachers to have an established teacher-mentor. Another teacher with a background in gifted education may be able to work with your son's teacher to help her adapt the curriculum and instruction for your son.

An excellent reference for regular classroom teachers is Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use to Meet the Academic Needs of the Gifted and Talented by Susan Winebrenner. This book provides specific instructional ideas and a list of teacher-friendly references with more information on the gifted.

Finally, you might consider volunteering in your child's class. Ask the teacher how you might help her. Adults can provide enrichment activities for children and help with administrative tasks to permit the teacher more time to devote to education.

More on: Expert Advice

Rita Culross is Associate Dean, College of Education, and Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Curriculum and Instruction at Louisiana State University. Culross has served as the consulting school psychologist for a public school elementary gifted program, and has written a book and several journal articles on gifted education.

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.


10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks