Gifted students need to be challenged and identified

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Gifted students need to be challenged and identified

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Level: PhD

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Gifted Students Need to be Challenged and Identified
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Gifted Students need to be Challenged and Identified
Challenging Students in the Classroom
It is widely acknowledged that all students need to be challenged on a routine basis to encourage them to learn something new each day, irrespective of their academic level. According to Schwartz et al. (2013) and Cooper (2013), teachers must go beyond the ‘correct’ answers and probe all students’ thinking and understanding in the classroom. Cao, Jung and Lee (2017), and Sternberg and Davidson (2005) expressed similar views, but they went further to assert that the practice is founded on the fundamental assumption that learners can become more profoundly engaged when higher micro-demands are placed on them, in every lesson, and by espousing a different attitude of expecting more from the students. Brophy (2011) observes that the easiest way of ensuring that students anticipate success is to ensure that they attain it consistently, which requires the teacher to set tasks that are challenging but attainable and then supporting their learning efforts through feedback and guidance. However, too often, gifted students find themselves in classes run by teachers who have no training in gifted education. This causes teachers to only focus on delivering to their average ability students (Olthouse, 2014), thus leaving the gifted unchallenged. Davidson and Davidson (2004) and Colangelo, Assouline, and Gross (2004) asserts that the gifted American child, as well as children from any other countries, have the rights to learn and be academically challenged just like the other children. On the same note, Borland (2012) in his special education approach asserts that education should be made appropriate for gifted students.

For the purposes of equal learning, every student should be challenged. However, since some students are more gifted than others, it would be ineffective to give them a similar challenge since the gifted students might not feel challenged. As a result, they might not be as engaged as the other students. The level of motivation will be limited, and hence boredom might engulf (Landis & Reschly, 2013; Betts & Neihart, 1988; Zabloski, 2010). Cao, Jung, and Lee (2017) warn that the failure to give talented students tasking tests could turn them into average and less motivated students. Although student motivation depends on both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, Phillips and Lindsay (2006) noted that when the intrinsic and extrinsic factors of motivation clash, they lead to lowered or lack of motivation of the learner. For instance, Reis and McCoach (2002) found out that when teachers or gifted students focus their energy addressing their perceived challenges and/or difficulties while ignoring the development of talent, eventually the students fail to realize their potential and end up being underachievers in that they do not attain their education goals.
Notwithstanding the high potential to be successful, gifted students must get regularly challenged to avert the possibility of dropping out of school. Zabloski (2010, p. 27) notes the population of gifted dropouts at approximately 20% percent while Landis and Reschly (2013, p. 221) established the dropout rates among talented students to vary from study to study depending on the definition of giftedness espoused, with percentages rising when more economically diverse student groups are considered gifted. To put more emphasis on this point, Zabloski (2010, p. 31) points out that in comparison to the general student population, gifted students who drop out appear to have a relatively low tolerance for boredom and feelings of contempt for peers and teachers. This is in addition to lacking self-motivation, which together contribute to underachievement (Wright and Borland, 1993).
No Monopoly on Giftedness
It is commonly acknowledged that no group has a monopoly on giftedness, yet gifted education is still characterized by the overt underrepresentation of certain cultural groups. Renzulli (1978) notes that there is no consensus on how some students become more gifted as compared to others; hence there is no way one can claim or assign ‘giftedness’ to a single group.
Yet, White students constitute the majority in most gifted programs. In fact, Wong (2016) and Fish (2017) state that when Hispanic and black students are compared to their Caucasian or Asian counterparts, they are less likely to be assigned to gifted programs. Specifically, Wong (2016) found that in the United States, when compared to their white classmates, black and Hispanic learners are 66% and 47% less likely to be considered for or assigned to such programs. In addition, Erevelles (2017) points to the unmistakable racial disproportionality in special education programs where students of color are often relegated to alternative schools or segregated classrooms. Payne (2011) emphasizes the persistence of ethnic and racial disproportionality that characterizes gifted education in many school districts supports this finding. Borland (2012) disapproves of the disparities as he believes that gifted students are national resources that need to be identified and developed for the common good.
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