The field of gifted education has discovered ways to create and maintain optimum learning conditions for twice-exceptional students. It is important for parents and teachers of twice-exceptional students to teach compensation strategies. Specific teaching and learning methods enable such students to successfully progress on their learning journeys.
Twice-exceptional students cannot improve by simply “trying harder.” Their learning challenges often emanate from a series of neurological twists and turns as messages try to make their way to the brain from the source of the stimulus, be it seeing or hearing or some other perceptual sensation. The good news is that these students have above-average intelligence and can be taught specific compensation strategies that can allow them to make significant progress in their productivity in school.
While planning and teaching these strategies, it is helpful to remember the words of Kenneth Dunn (1987): “If they are not learning the way we teach them, let’s teach them the way they learn!” When we keep trying to teach kids in ways that have repeatedly failed, discouragement soon replaces optimism. Furthermore, we want to send messages full of hope and confidence to the students. Rather than implying there is something wrong with the kids themselves because of their repeated failures, we can change methods of instruction until we find one that is a “good fit,” and learning success can be achieved.
The rule to follow when teaching students who are twice exceptional is simple. When teaching in their areas of strength, offer them the same compacting and Which one of the kids in your life is 2e? differentiation opportunities available to other gifted students. When teaching in their areas of challenge, teach them whatever strategies they need to increase their learning success. Never take time away from their strength areas to get more time to work on their deficiencies. Never remediate their weaknesses until you teach to their strengths!
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Guidelines for Teachers Who Work with Gifted Potential
Guidelines for Parents
Teaching or parenting children who are twice exceptional is very challenging. The most serious challenge is making certain that the giftedness is recognized. Any efforts parents and teachers can direct toward understanding and teaching the whole child, with all his complicated learning needs, will go a long way toward creating optimum learning conditions for these very interesting and challenging youngsters. Happily, there are many more resources available now than ever before.
This article is a condensed version of an article by the same title from Understanding Our Gifted, Winter 2002. Reprinted with Permission, Open Space Communications; www.ourgifted.com. Susan Winebrenner writes on topics related to teaching gifted students and students with learning difficulties. She is co-author with Dina Brulles of the third edition of Teaching Gifted Kids in Today’s Classroom, and The Cluster Grouping Handbook. They have also created a multimedia kit for the former book that includes a DVD demonstrating effective strategies to use with gifted and 2e students. The third edition of her book, Teaching Kids with Learning Difficulties in Today’s Classroom, with Lisa Kiss, a special education director from Pennsylvania, will be out in 2014. These materials are all described at www. freespirit.com. Finally, she has released the long-awaited revision of her very first book, Super Sentences, through Author House.
This article, which appeared in the November, 2013, issue of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter (http://www.2enewsletter.com/), is a condensed version of an article by the same title from Understanding Our Gifted, Winter 2002. Reprinted with Permission, Open Space Communications.
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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