The personal learning network for educators
I thought I'd break the ice by saying what prompted me to join this group.
Whenever I thought of gifted learners the image I got was of very young children. Last year, however, I had two students I think of as gifted but they were much older (17 and 26). The 26-year-old had been diagnosed with Asperger's.
Last year, as well, I had a 6-year-old that really impressed me as a learner (and a person). I found the pedagogic tools I had and my instinct were enough to guide her without having to think how I could raise the bar for her. It all happened so naturally.
Not with my older learners. My 17-year-old was completely unfocused (in life, I'd venture) and for the best part of the year acted as if nothing I could suggest would remotely interest him. Or, he'd give me the overpolite, politically correct responses I abhor. Our relationship improved and I care for him, but I can't help thinking (wondering whether) he's past some critical stage (not necessarily age-related) when you learn what you're capable of doing and how you can try out different strategies to do so and to let others guide you when you're not finding them. He got frustrated a lot during the year -when things were too difficult for him. When they were not difficult -he saw no point in exploring to see what he could take from the experience and basically just dismissed the whole thing saying it was too easy.
My learner with Asperger -for whom I cared too, would probably deserve a whole other post.
So what do you think when you hear "gifted and talented"? What images and experiences come to you?