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Faith and Trust in the Process of Gifted Education

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faith and trustOne of the frustrating things about working as an educator in gifted education is that often we don’t get to see the results of efforts we make in facilitating the learning that encourages gifted children to become all that they can be. The big ideas, intriguing questions, and advanced and enriched content we present won’t necessarily manifest in tangible, observable results in the face time we have with those students. Curriculum taught at an advanced or abstract level is not likely to be included on a state proficiency test, a grade level assessment, or even in assigned and behavioral tasks. At best we sometimes only notice that gifted students appear to be happier in themselves and in their school than they were before the intervention.

But, I think it’s important that we have faith and trust in the processes of gifted and talented education. Have faith in the students’ exceptional abilities to take in new ideas, ruminate on possibilities, engage in long-term problem solving, and use whatever spark you provided in some constructive manner weeks, months, or years later. Trust in the process. Don’t let your inability to see, think, or feel the effects of your thoughtful differentiation in the now keep you from implementing these changes. One example I can share from SIG was when an alumna shared with us that she had majored in women’s studies in college as a result of her interest in this field, sparked by taking a class at SIG many years prior in women’s studies. This course exposed her to concepts and content that would not have been a part of her core school curriculum and paid off many years later.

If you’ve had the good fortune to have a student circle back to you to share how your individualized efforts paid off in the long run, please do share with as many people as you can. That sharing will help all of us believe, trust, and have faith as we double our efforts to plant the mental and emotional seeds that nurture our gifted student for their lifetimes.

All the best,

Barbara Swicord, Ed.D.
CEO, National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT)
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG)

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