Reviewed by a Davidson Institute for Talent Development.
When Gifted Kids Don't Have All the Answers claims, ". . . affective education belongs in the teacher's guide. And that's what this book iis" (p. 5). Delisle and Galbraith deliver on this claim in this guide for teachers that is effective and pertinent to affective education. When approaching this book, busy teachers need not read it cover to cover. Depending on a teacher's familiarity with gifted education, the sections on identification may not be as helpful as "Emotional Dimensions of Giftedness" and "Being a Gifted Teacher." The authors prepared for two audiences, the regular classroom teacher interested in gifted education and the practicing gifted and talented teacher, by efficiently cross-referencing activities and materials within chapters.
A teacher unfamiliar with gifted education could read this book and have a solid idea of what to implement in a classroom and how best to help students. If a regular classroom teacher suspects that a student is gifted, this resource secures a starting point for identification and resources, and will demystify the issues surrounding gifted education. Delisle and Galbraith include fundamental information on giftedness, beginning with how to view and approach definitions of giftedness and continuing with classic articles, such as Stephanie Tolan's "Is It a Cheetah?" For teachers interested in differentiating curriculum, When Gifted Kids Don't Have All the Answers gives concrete suggestions on options such as compacting and assessment to inform decisions and planning. Also, teachers who are new to working with gifted students will find that this text explores gifted identification in a comprehensive way and defines I.Q. in a historical context.
However, the experienced gifted education teacher who is looking for ways to meet the emotional needs of his or her students will find specific activities and discussion topics to help make the classroom a safe environment. Above all, the idea that comes through to both audiences is the need to help gifted students understand themselves and the concept of giftedness.
Great attention is given to students' thoughts, questions, and reactions. Many of these thoughts and other asides can be seen throughout the book in gray boxes. While these boxes can seem to interrupt the flow of the text, the content justifies the distraction.
The greatest strength of this book is the practical approach and usability of the information. In the chapter entitled "Being a Gifted Teacher" the authors include pages of questions and answers that help to explain gifted education. These dialogue scenarios are powerful and poignant--giving educators a clear idea of what questions to expect and how best to respond. Other materials include models of class rules, handouts, and many, many great ideas on how to approach gifted students in meaningful and helpful ways.
Whether struggling with perfectionism, gender stereotyping, minority pressures, socialization, or having too many options—students, even the most gifted, struggle sometimes. Throughout When Gifted Kids Don't Have All the Answers, Delisle and Galbraith do not let their audience forget these and other emotional needs facing gifted youth. They emphasize that it's a teacher's duty to help meet those needs, fulfilling that claim of this text being an effective book for affective education.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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