Reforming Education: It’s Personal for Gifted Folks
We’ve all known or been that someone. You know, the reformed reformer — the person who quit smoking and is now obnoxiously anti-smoking, or the person who has given up gluten and can’t stop talking about the benefits of such, or the person who has found religion and is now preaching to everyone who will listen. Sometimes we may be annoyed by these newly-found states of bliss thrown in our faces; however, we can’t help but feel happy for them in their conversion ecstasy.
In my line of work, which is gifted education, the best adult conversions I have witnessed have been teachers who have embraced new ways to teach that engage them as much as the students. I have had teachers say to me that once they have gotten over their obstacles, and opened their eyes and minds to exciting and interactive ways to teach, that they could never go back to rote teaching and learning again—much like their students also feel, I would imagine!
Rather than direct instruction with single correct responses and back and forth singsong exchanges between teachers and students, these reformed educators have discovered that it’s is much more fun, fulfilling, and worthwhile to present students with problems, issues, and concerns that they can grapple with through complex questioning and discovery. They can now ponder and research individualized projects of their interest to manifest new understandings in personal ways through their products. Time flies; teachers and students are motivated and engaged; learning abounds for everyone.
If you are an educator with gifted and talented students in your classes, who hasn’t converted yet, consider how you might transition to the “other side.” What obstacles are you facing that you can overcome? What convincing do you need to lead you to a new type of euphoric teaching? Whose help do you need to get you there? Think about it and make a plan of action. You’ll be glad you did for your sake, as well as for those gifted students who will be very appreciative.
All the best,