A few themes emerged from our discussions of effective collaboration. These include:
TIPS from 2008 Seminar
A few themes emerged from our discussions of collaborating with school personnel. These include:
TIPS from 2005 Seminar
A few themes emerged from our discussions of collaborating with schools. These include:
Create clear goals for your childMake sure you have clarified the goals for your child in the school setting. What do you want your child to gain from this experience? Is it enrichment? Socialization? Fun? Once you have the broad goal, you can create objectives to reach those goals. You can also clearly communicate those goals to the teacher and other staff. This provides some structure for your collaboration and a plan for your child.
Be ProactiveAlways plan ahead and push the school to plan ahead. No one enjoys a crisis and the goal should be to avoid one! Plan ahead for enrichment, socialization, and behavior supports your child may need. If you have clear goals than a plan can be created ahead of time.
Find an AdvocateMost educators want what is best for the child and want all children to learn. They also want a calm classroom. Build from here. Find the person who you know also wants best for your child. Work with this person first and spread your collaboration from there. You may be able to work with this person to create the plan and then disseminate the plan from there. Your new advocate may be willing to help get the plan in place and monitor the progress. This person may become a strong advocate for your child.
Pick your BattlesThis concept applies to many issues in life. Which goals are most important to you and your child? Which goals are worth fighting over and which can slide? Prioritize your "battles" before you meet with the team at the school.
Keep issues separateA lot of gifted children also struggle with other exceptionalities. Try to separate the issues of needing enrichment and needing support for other issues. Ask yourself--Is this an issue of the AD/HD or the giftedness. This is not easy and may not be possible but it may help clarify the support needed.
Learn your school's philosophy and policyLearn your school's written and unwritten policy on individualization. Does your school create plans for each child? If so what do they look like? Can you have input into the plan. Is the plan supposed to be individualized but all plans look the same? Finding these answers may give you the starting place for collaboration.
Look at Enrichment creativelyRemember that enrichment is not just more work. We all know this but we can forget when we are upset. The teacher may find it tough to provide more individualized work but maybe she can provide other enrichment activities such as leadership roles in the classroom, peer tutoring, designing games or activities.
Provide teachers with an "out"Gifted children can be intimidating! Teachers may be afraid the child knows more than the teacher. And this may be true! Be honest with the teacher. The teacher does not need to know everything about Quantum Physics but should be willing to help the child find the resources and learn with the child.
Outline the goal of each taskWhen asking the teacher to allow your child to skip ahead or modify the task or assignment, make sure you and the teacher are aware of the goal of the task. For example, is the goal of the math worksheet mastery? If so, the child may be able to show mastery and not complete all of the worksheets. However, if the goal is speed and automaticity of math facts, the child may need to complete all of the timed math tasks.
Create an environment of mutual respectAlways remember that you know your child best. However, the teachers know the current curriculum and typically have more knowledge on teaching. Create an atmosphere that brings both areas of expertise to the table. Acknowledge the teachers expertise and offer to help the teacher individualize her expertise for your child. This creates a partnership with the same goal.
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.
The appearance of any information in the Davidson Institute's Database does not imply an endorsement by, or any affiliation with, the Davidson Institute. All information presented is for informational purposes only and is solely the opinion of and the responsibility of the author. Although reasonable effort is made to present accurate information, the Davidson Institute makes no guarantees of any kind, including as to accuracy or completeness. Use of such information is at the sole risk of the reader.