Social and Emotional Issues of Gifted Students

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Pat Schuler, Ph.D., NCC, LMHC

5th Annual ECU Gifted Conference
October 5, 2011
www.ecugifted.com

Published in: Education

Social and Emotional Issues of Gifted Students

  1. 1. The Social and Emotional Issues of Gifted Students: Strategies for Educators  Pat Schuler, Ph.D., NCC, LMHC Creative Insights 1654 Columbia Turnpike Castleton-on-Hudson, NY 518-257-2018 [email_address]
  2. 2. Not every child has an equal talent or an equal ability or an equal motivation, but children have the equal right to develop their talent, their ability, and their motivation. John F. Kennedy
  3. 3. Only a small percentage of gifted children have psychological adjustment problems, so why is it important to address their social and emotional needs?
  4. 4. Outcomes-positive or negative <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Achievement vs. Underachievement </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Development of “true self” vs. “false self” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Mental health and connection vs. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>isolation/depression/suicide </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Giftedness Affects Psychological Well-Being and Development <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Particular way a person is gifted </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Degree of giftedness </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• How well a gifted person’s needs </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> are being met </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Neihart </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Definitions of Giftedness “ The General Assembly believes the public schools should challenge all students to aim for academic excellence and that academically or intellectually gifted students perform or show the potential to perform at substantially high levels of accomplishment when compared to others of their age, experience and environment. Academically or intellectually gifted students exhibit high performance capability in intellectual areas, specific academic fields, or in both intellectual areas and specific academic fields. Academically or intellectually gifted students require differentiated educational services beyond those ordinarily provided by the regular educational program. Outstanding abilities are present in students from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of human endeavor. ” (North Carolina. Gen. Stat. § 115C-150.5)
  7. 7. Definitions of Giftedness <ul><li>Columbus Group, 1991 </li></ul><ul><li>Giftedness is asynchronous development in which </li></ul><ul><li>advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. </li></ul><ul><li>This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching, and counseling in order for them to develop optimally. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Characteristics of Giftedness <ul><li>Intellectual Personality </li></ul><ul><li>• exceptional reasoning ability • insightfulness </li></ul><ul><li>• intellectual curiosity • need to understand </li></ul><ul><li>• rapid learning rate • need for mental stimulation </li></ul><ul><li>• facility with abstraction • perfectionism </li></ul><ul><li>• complex thought processes • need for precision/logic </li></ul><ul><li>• vivid imagination • excellent sense of humor </li></ul><ul><li>• early moral concern • sensitivity/empathy </li></ul><ul><li>• passion for learning • intensity </li></ul><ul><li>• powers of concentration • perseverance </li></ul><ul><li>• analytical thinking • acute self-awareness </li></ul><ul><li>• divergent thinking/creativity • nonconformity </li></ul><ul><li>• keen sense of justice • questioning of rules/authority </li></ul><ul><li>• capacity for reflection • tendency toward introversion </li></ul>
  9. 9. Characteristics of Giftedness <ul><li>Intellectual Personality </li></ul><ul><li>• exceptional reasoning ability • insightfulness </li></ul><ul><li>• intellectual curiosity • need to understand </li></ul><ul><li>• rapid learning rate • need for mental stimulation </li></ul><ul><li>• facility with abstraction • perfectionism </li></ul><ul><li>• complex thought processes • need for precision/logic </li></ul><ul><li>• vivid imagination • excellent sense of humor </li></ul><ul><li>• early moral concern • sensitivity/empathy </li></ul><ul><li>• passion for learning • intensity </li></ul><ul><li>• powers of concentration • perseverance </li></ul><ul><li>• analytical thinking • acute self-awareness </li></ul><ul><li>• divergent thinking/creativity • nonconformity </li></ul><ul><li>• keen sense of justice • questioning of rules/authority </li></ul><ul><li>• capacity for reflection • tendency toward introversion </li></ul>
  10. 10. Intellectual Characteristics <ul><li>Intellectual Curiosity-stronger need to know </li></ul><ul><li>Positive Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>• has large stores of information </li></ul><ul><li>• prefers complexity </li></ul><ul><li>• is interested in current issues </li></ul><ul><li>Negative Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>• asks many questions </li></ul><ul><li>• gets “off topic” frequently </li></ul>
  11. 11. Intellectual Characteristics <ul><li>Learns more rapidly-retains information </li></ul><ul><li>more easily and longer </li></ul><ul><li>Positive Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li> • masters basic skills easily </li></ul><ul><li> • early reader </li></ul><ul><li> • advanced in mathematics </li></ul><ul><li> • unusual academic achievement </li></ul><ul><li>Negative Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>• becomes bored easily </li></ul><ul><li>• resists rote or repetitive tasks </li></ul><ul><li>• disrupts class when work is finished </li></ul>
  12. 12. Intellectual Characteristics <ul><li>Vivid imagination-intellectually playful </li></ul><ul><li>Positive Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>• is good risk taker (in areas of strength) </li></ul><ul><li>• appreciates plays on words </li></ul><ul><li>• has a sophisticated sense of humor </li></ul><ul><li>Negative Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>• interrupts with “humorous” distractions </li></ul><ul><li>• gets carried away with jokes </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>At a high school in Montana, </li></ul><ul><li>a group of high schoolers played </li></ul><ul><li>a prank on the school. </li></ul><ul><li>They let three goats loose </li></ul><ul><li>in the school. </li></ul><ul><li>Before they let them go, they painted numbers on the sides of the goats. </li></ul><ul><li>1, 2, 4. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Local school administrators spent most of the day looking for # 3.
  15. 15. Intellectual Characteristics <ul><li>Divergent thinking/Creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Positive Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>• shows high motivation/long attention span in interest area </li></ul><ul><li>• has complex ideas/information in unusual areas </li></ul><ul><li>• is involved in many activities </li></ul><ul><li>Negative Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>• may suffer from peer isolation </li></ul><ul><li>• is a daydreamer </li></ul><ul><li>• resists interruption when involved in interest </li></ul><ul><li>• leaves projects unfinished/overextends </li></ul>
  16. 16. Characteristics of Giftedness <ul><li>Intellectual Personality </li></ul><ul><li>• exceptional reasoning ability • insightfulness </li></ul><ul><li>• intellectual curiosity • need to understand </li></ul><ul><li>• rapid learning rate • need for mental stimulation </li></ul><ul><li>• facility with abstraction • perfectionism </li></ul><ul><li>• complex thought processes • need for precision/logic </li></ul><ul><li>• vivid imagination • excellent sense of humor </li></ul><ul><li>• early moral concern • sensitivity/empathy </li></ul><ul><li>• passion for learning • intensity </li></ul><ul><li>• powers of concentration • perseverance </li></ul><ul><li>• analytical thinking • acute self-awareness </li></ul><ul><li>• divergent thinking/creativity • nonconformity </li></ul><ul><li>• keen sense of justice • questioning of rules/authority </li></ul><ul><li>• capacity for reflection • tendency toward introversion </li></ul>
  17. 17. Personality Characteristics <ul><li>Perfectionism </li></ul><ul><li>A combination of thoughts and behaviors associated with high standards or expectations for one’s own performance. </li></ul><ul><li>healthy/adaptive or unhealthy/maladaptive </li></ul><ul><li> Hamacheck, 1978 </li></ul>
  18. 18. Personality Characteristics <ul><li>Perfectionism </li></ul><ul><li>Innate sense of how things should be </li></ul><ul><li>and not just as they are. </li></ul><ul><li>In other words, they have an </li></ul><ul><li>innate urge to perfect. </li></ul><ul><li>M-E. Jacobsen, The Gifted Adult </li></ul>
  19. 19. Personality Characteristics <ul><li>Perfectionism </li></ul><ul><li>Positive Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>• likes order and organization • high, realistic expectations </li></ul><ul><li>• quest to achieve “personal best” • willing to make mistakes </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Negative Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>• needs order and organization • concern over mistakes </li></ul><ul><li>• state of anxiety • intense sensitivity </li></ul><ul><li>• is critical of own and others’ ideas </li></ul><ul><li>• unrealistic expectations-all or nothing </li></ul>
  20. 20. Personality Characteristics <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Sensitivity </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Cognitive domain </li></ul><ul><li>• perceptiveness </li></ul><ul><li>• heightened awareness of nuances of interpersonal verbal and nonverbal communication </li></ul><ul><li>Positive Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li> • empathy, compassion </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Negative Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li> • interpersonal difficulties </li></ul><ul><li> • respond to emotionality-”What’s wrong?” </li></ul>
  21. 21. Personality Characteristics <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Sensitivity </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Affective domain </li></ul><ul><li>• child’s experiencing of emotions in self & others </li></ul><ul><li>• usually easily moved emotionally </li></ul><ul><li>Positive Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li> • awestruck by daily experiences </li></ul><ul><li> • appreciate aesthetic objects </li></ul><ul><li> • emphatic connection with others Negative Classroom Behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>• easily offended or hurt by remarks of others </li></ul><ul><li>• intense emotional reaction to neutral statements </li></ul>
  22. 22. Personality Characteristics <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Intensity -having a characteristic quality in a high degree </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Thought : “Her mind is always whirling.” </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose : “Once he makes up his mind to do something, he’s not satisfied until it’s accomplished.” </li></ul><ul><li>Emotion : “She internalizes everything anyone says about her.” </li></ul><ul><li>Spirit : “He’s always looking out for someone less fortunate who needs help.” </li></ul><ul><li>Soul: “She asks questions that philosophers have asked for centuries and gets upset when we can’t </li></ul><ul><li> give her definitive answers to them.” </li></ul><ul><li> Delisle, 1999 </li></ul>
  23. 23. Summary of Issues <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Asynchronous Development </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• intellectual vs. physical vs. social vs. emotional </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Intensities or Overexcitabilities </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• greater sensitivity to environment </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• heightened emotional sensitivity </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Perfectionism </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• expectations- self and others </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Self-esteem/Identity issues </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> • Who am I and where do I fit? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Summary of Issues <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Introversion • Peer pressure </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Competitiveness • Social skills </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Dealing with stress • Responsibility </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Leadership skills • Study habits </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Career exploration • Family dynamics </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• Acceptance/toleration of others </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  25. 25. What can teachers do to help their gifted students? What 10 strategies can I use tomorrow?
  26. 26. # 1 - Recognize, Understand, & Accept Asynchrony Understand that success can mask a student ’ s needs.. Look beyond the grades - what else is happening in this student ’ s life?
  27. 27. STRATEGIES- # 2 Provide a SAFE ENVIRONMENT : physical/intellectual/social/emotional As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous. ... In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized. Hiam Ginot, author, psychologist Every child in our classroom receives what he or she needs. Ross Greene, author, psychologist
  28. 29. STRATEGIES-Intellectual- # 3, # 4 # 3 Teach Creative Problem Solving (CPS) # 4 Raise the Learning Ceiling - offer challenge and choice • ADVANCED content- complex, indepth • HIGHER LEVEL thinking skills • SELF-DIRECTED skills- contracts • Foster a culture of achievement- “Stretch my brain” • use quotations, pose questions • INTERESTS - Opportunities for creative self-expression • End “DRILL and KILL” • Boredom is toxic to the brain! (M. Diamond) • “ Kids like me need meaningful repetitions of complex materials.” Josh
  29. 30. <ul><li>STRATEGIES - Intellectual- # 4 </li></ul><ul><li>• Use Quotations, Pose Questions </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Let me explain myself. In the land of the oranges </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I am faithful to the apples. Elsa Gidlow </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these. George Washington Carver </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You miss 100% of the shots you never take. Wayne Gretsky </li></ul></ul></ul>
  30. 31. <ul><li>STRATEGIES - Intellectual- # 4 </li></ul><ul><li>• Use Quotations, Pose Questions </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Little Book of THUNKS: 260 questions to make your brain go ouch! Ian Gilbert </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>• A thunk is a beguilingly simple-looking question about everyday things that stops you in your tracks and helps you start looking at the world in a whole new light. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do ideas come from inside or outside your head? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  31. 32. STRATEGIES-Intellectual- # 4 # 4 Raise the Learning Ceiling - offer challenge and choice • ADVANCED content- complex, indepth • HIGHER LEVEL thinking skills • SELF-DIRECTED skills- contracts • Foster a culture of achievement- “Stretch my brain” • use quotations, pose questions • INTERESTS - Opportunities for creative self-expression • End “DRILL and KILL” • Boredom is toxic to the brain! (M. Diamond) • “ Kids like me need meaningful repetitions of complex materials.” Josh
  32. 33. STRATEGIES-Intellectual- # 4 # 4 Raise the Learning Ceiling - offer challenge and choice • ADVANCED content- complex, indepth • HIGHER LEVEL thinking skills • SELF-DIRECTED skills- contracts • Foster a culture of achievement- “Stretch my brain” • use quotations, pose questions • INTERESTS - Opportunities for creative self-expression • End “DRILL and KILL” • Boredom is toxic to the brain! (M. Diamond) • “ Kids like me need meaningful repetitions of complex materials.” Josh
  33. 34. STRATEGIES - Social # 5 Connection! Connection! Connection! • Don’t insist introverts become extraverts- “soul-mate” • Find mentors who share similar concerns and passions • Provide opportunities for discussions on topics gifted kids face - self-understanding, expectations, perfectionism • Provide outlets for caring • Connections with similar and different peers ! ! !
  34. 35. Who Am I? And where do I fit?
  35. 36. STRATEGIES - Emotional # 6 Self-Understanding! Self-Understanding! Self-Understanding! • One of a Kind • Bio Poems • Ideal Day at school • My Needs • My Wish List • My Goals Strengths Weaknesses
  36. 37. • Bio Poem I Am That Kid Gil I am that kid who has deep mental conversations with himself because he has no one to talk to about those things. I am also that kid who can’t talk to anyone about these things because most people just don’t understand. I am that kid who is frustrated with the world because it shuns those different kids like me. I am also that kid who is shunned Just because I am not afraid to be me. I am that kid who doesn’t take life seriously because life is better when you can laugh at everything. I am also that kid who takes everything seriously because I am really unsure what to do in this thing called life.
  37. 38. STRATEGIES - Emotional # 6 Self-Understanding! Self-Understanding! Self-Understanding! • Help them to be understood, respected, and to be taken seriously. • Encouragement to excel beyond grade level expectations - “ I can handle this. I may need help, but I can handle this challenge.” • Provide criteria used to determine appropriate behavior and grades so that they can expect the system to be fair. • To know why something is being done, & reason for rules. • explaining cause and effect engages their interest and makes material more meaningful
  38. 39. STRATEGIES - Emotional- # 7 Help Them to Identify Their Feelings • Teach them to own their own feelings • not play the blame game • Teach about stress and stressors - perfectionism • Understand intensities: HALT (Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) • DEEP BREATHING! • Teach them the “Platinum Rule” “ Not everyone wants what you want.” • Consider other’s needs, perspective, intentions
  39. 40. STRATEGIES - Emotional- # 7 Help Them to Identify Their Feelings • Teach them to own their own feelings • not play the blame game • Teach about stress and stressors - perfectionism • Understand intensities: HALT (Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) • DEEP BREATHING! • Teach them the “Platinum Rule” “ Not everyone wants what you want.” • Consider other’s needs, perspective, intentions
  40. 41. I want to be a good person and live my life the right way, keeping in mind that there might be a little kid who ’ s watching what I do. Rebecca Lobo UCONN & US Olympic basketball champion • Bibliotherapy - identification, catharsis, insight STRATEGIES - Emotional- # 8
  41. 43. STRATEGIES - Emotional- # 9 TEACH COURAGE - Resiliency! • Encourage excelling beyond grade level expectations - • “ I know you can try.” • “ I can handle this. I may need help, but I can handle this challenge.” • Encourage trying new things without penalty • “ Inch by inch, it’s a cinch. Yard by yard it’s hard.” • Tell them they are capable & it matters what they do well
  42. 44. STRATEGIES - Emotional - #9 TEACH COURAGE - Resiliency! Stay in the struggle Mistakes - teach me about myself RETHINK  REFRAME  RESTATE WANT  WORK  WAIT THINGS TAKE TIME
  43. 45. STRATEGIES - Emotional - # 10 MODEL what you want to see! Because what you do matters • Teach in a safe environment - accepting of diversity • Demonstrate intellectual curiosity • Use Creative Problem Solving in your teaching • Connections • Self-understanding - goals • Identify and express your feelings in healthy ways • Courageous - share who you are, try new adventures!
  44. 46. Only a small percentage of gifted children have psychological adjustment problems, so why is it important to address their social and emotional needs? <ul><li>So they will achieve, develop their </li></ul><ul><li>“ true self,” and be mentally healthy. </li></ul>

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