Currently in Egypt, there are no clear directions on how to educate gifted children. Efforts to help the gifted are sporadic and depend upon the discretion schools, and educators. Often schools start gifted programs only when parents demand them.
People often assume that gifted children will thrive in school. The reality is that many such children are bored; if the curriculum is too easy, they sometimes tune out and underachieve. Or they can become depressed. Some children are even incorrectly diagnosed as hyperactive because their restlessness leads to behavior problems. They are also likely to encounter social problems. Because they have different interests from their peers, they often feel alienated from their classmates and can be targeted for teasing.
To meet the needs of gifted and/or highly intelligent students, schools should include programs to help them master the important concepts and various fields; develop skills and strategies that allow them to become more independent, creative, and self-sufficient learners; and develop a joy and en-thusiasm for learning. Some may also benefit from being with similarly tal¬ented peers so they have a social group with which they are comfortable.
Specifically, programs and classes for gifted children should provide them with stimulation and challenge in their areas of strength and should encour¬age more creativity and originality.
Of course, these are the very same things that should be provided to all chil¬dren. What distinguishes educational programs for gifted children is their ac¬celerated pace of learning and the increased breadth and depth of topics covered.
However, both schools and parents often find it a challenge to provide the ap¬propriate services and stimulation for gifted children. Some teachers find the superb critical thinking and analytical skills of many gifted children to be an annoyance and a challenge they prefer not to face. The youngsters' verbal skills, large vocabulary, and ability and eagerness to question traditional facts and conclusions may be perceived as irritating and dominating by some teachers and fellow students. This can lead to social problems that require developing better social skills.
If possible, schools should hire teachers who are trained to work with gifted students in a variety of fields. Often, gifted students are brought together for several hours a day to allow them to work with other gifted students and with a mentor. Independent study, advanced special classes, and taking advantage of resources outside the school (such as college courses) are other possibili¬ties.
If your school does not offer specific services for gifted children other than advanced courses, you may need to seek out extracurricular activities and sit¬uations for your gifted child.
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics
National Association for Gifted Children
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