TEACHING ENGLISH TO GIFTED STUDENTS By Abdullah bin Ismail Sekolah Menengah Sains Machang Kelantan
Definition of gifted/talented students : “ children who possess demonstrated or potential abilities that give evidence of high performance capability in areas such as intellectual, creative,specific academic or leadership ability, or in the performing and visual arts..”(Nazarro, 1978)
Harvard neuropsychologist has suggested that although IQ test measures linguistic & logical/mathematical intelligences, it does not account for at least five more:(1)kinesthetic,(2)musical,(3)spatial,(4)interpersonal,and (5)intrapersonal (Scherer, 1985). William W.West (1980) not only identifies obvious characteristics of the verbally gifted, such as reading avidly, writing frequently and fluently,and participating in oral communication activities, but also stresses the importance of observing students who exhibit signs of disruptive behaviour, pointing out that these students may simply be bored or unchallenged.
Key principles In Developing An Effective English and Language Arts Program : •Design a curriculum that builds upon the characteristics of the intellectually gifted. •Provide for continuity. •Select teachers on the basis of their ability to work with the intellectually gifted and the talented. •Evaluate success within the program on the quality of the work produced rather than by tests of mastery of lower level skills.
“ A gifted program not only gives students a sound foundation in verbal, reading, and critical reading skills but allows them to use these skills in an interdisciplinary fashion” (Scher, 1986) .“The time is ripe for teachers to work relentlessly to create classroom situations in which students are tempted, cajoled,seduced, provoked and firmly rewarded not for being excellent, but for thinking”(Peterson et al.,1992)
Learner outcomes - specify student behaviours we want at a particular developmental point. Examples: •appropriately challenging for gifted students at the requisite stage of development, •linked to a specific area of study within the regular school curriculum, •sustantive and worthy of substantial instructional time and student independent time, and •assessable through authentic approaches.
Comparison between learner outcomes for gifted students and generic outcomes (Eg.Ninth-grade English) : Analyzes and interprets key social,cultural, and economic ideas as expressed in the literature,art, and music of America at 40-year intervals. Develops an understanding of the chronology of American literature. Creates a literary work in a self-selected form, using appropriate structural elements. Is familiar with the structural elements of literature. Evaluates diverse materials according to a set of criteria or standards. Comprehends a variety of materials. Gifted Generic
General strategies for modifying the curriculum Objectives: - meeting the learning capacity of the students -meeting the students’ rapid rates of learning in all or some areas of study, and -providing time and resources so that students can pursue areas of special interest. Options: -lesson modifications, -assignment modifications, and -scheduling modifications (Lois Roets ,1993)
Sharing New Styles of Thought and Expression - Once children are finding words to creatively express feelings and sensations, as well as happenings,a logical next step is to develop those sensations and impressions into analogies. -Khatena’s (1973) studies have shown that analogies come naturally to gifted children.
-Additional activities related to story listening and storytelling experiences can extend the natural interest of the stories into analogy motivation. -To reinforce the concept of using the familiar to explore the abstract, the teacher could bring a box or basket of objects and allow each child to choose something to develop into an analogy. For greater variety, a set of pictures of sea creatures, animals, plants, or other objects could be used in a game in which children see how many analogies they can generate individually, in small groups,or as a class.