It is important to learn about the emotional intensities of gifted children, so that we can better understand them and where some of their thought may come from originally . Each different child has so many emotions whether it is dealing with working on an assignment and wanting so badly to do their work perfectly or interacting with other peers socially. If we as educators can understand their emotions, it will help us to know how to respond to them in different situations and talk to them in a way that we can all understand each other. If we can learn about these emotions, then the gifted child hopefully will feel like they can be themselves in any class or situation.
I totally agree with AmyL. To realize that my gifted students can be so different emotionally from one another means i need to have a more individualized approach when teaching these students. The one size fits all will not work, and worst of all we will lose their interest which can cause a negative emotional response to our class and their learning.
I also agree with Amy. If we learn about emotions, we are more equipped to positively respond to them. Ultimately, we want to help our students as much as possible.
In response to AmyL on June 11-I agree that if we learn about more about the emtions of our individual students we can understand them better and provide a better learning environment for them.
In response to AmyL:I think when we get to know each student, we will learn about each student's emotions. It is so important to build a relationship with each student so we can better understand each child.
I agree with Amy that you have to be able to "interpret" the intense emotions of the GT child. Accurate interpretation takes skill and practice. Open communication with the child is a necessity. Once you understand the why's and perhaps, when's of the behavior, then as the teacher, you will be equipped to support and give this child the very best educational experience they can have.
As gifted learners, these children are often stereotyped. I think the need to characterize children with labels and test scores, have left teachers not realizing the importance of social interactions and the social well being of the child. I suspect some the children we characterize as ADHD or Asberger's, could be better understood if we looked at them through the lens of G/T.After reading the first section, I realized some children I have taught fit the emotional intensity part clearly and the under achieving part too. They were students not identified as g/t, but when I connected with them, I could say they were probably more g/t, than the high achieving students who were identified and don't fit the profile at all. And finally, in the end we teach the whole child. We are role models, educators, spiritual leaders,etc and information is critical if we are to be successful with any child.
I was very glad that the idea of twice-exceptional children has finally started making its way out into the mainstream. I think the G/T lens has been narrowed, as far as placement, but there are many under-achieving or even low/SPED students that, like you said, are more G/T than the stereotypical high achievers.
In response to Sara Russo June 13, 2012 1:04 PM: I too appreciate the increased awareness of twice-exceptional students. I wonder how well we do at meet their needs, especially at the secondary level. As much as I try to be on the lookout for these students, I don't really know what I would do strategy wise to help them if they were struggling academically, socially, or emotionally. Do you have any suggestions?
I think we will understand GT students better and be able to help them meet their social and academic needs. I am GT and experienced a lot of the situations in the book. I think learning about the emotional intensities will help teachers become more aware of the positive opportunities we can provide our GT students in the classroom. Pages 35 and 36 discuss the impact some of our assignments may have on GT students that we may not think about. An open-ended question may seem like a good idea because they can tell us everything they know. However, the student may not understand what the teacher is asking him or her to do and get frustrated and not do the assignment at all. I think it will also make us more aware of what response we give to their emotional intensities. On page 44, the author states that we need to help the students learn a calmer response to their emotions.
In response to KMuske "we need to help the students learn a calmer response to their emotions." I believe that we will have to learn to be their emotional coaches. Just like on a team a coach has to learn what motivates a player, in the classroom we need to not only understand what motivates a student but also how to help them deal with their emotions. This will require us to be more disciplined when dealing with the G.T. student. Otherwise we will lose them to their emotions and not have a happy productive student in class.
In response to KMuske on 6/8/12, open ended questions can be baffling to anyone one. The use of analytical and critically thinking skills can be easier for the GT student than a typical student. However, it is still difficult for them because as educators I know we don't teach how to respond to questions that ask this of them. I think the shift to teaching strategies and not rote information in school will be beneficial to GT students.
It is crucial to learn and try to understand the emotional intensities of gifted students. In our profession, we develop and nurture the gifts and talents of our students, it is must that we understand what makes them tick. Emotional intensity is part of who some of our students are, and the only way to help a child attain success in school is to understand the essence of who they are. Gifted children experience the world differently—more intensely, more encompassing and even more vividly. We must be aware of this. By really “getting them” a teacher of a gifted child will be more successful in guiding them in their educational development. The gifted child will also pick up on the teacher’s vibes towards him or her. The stronger the relationship between the teacher and the student, the better the conditions for an optimal learning experience. As teachers, we owe it to each of our students to get to know them and build relationships with each one and their families. Speaking of families, listening carefully at parent conferences can help the teacher of an emotionally intense student understand and learn about the child better.
In response to PKassir on June 10: I agree that we need to nurture our students’ gifts and talents and we definitely can learn a lot about their home life by listening carefully at parent conferences. We, as teachers, do need to work hard to “get our students” so that they know we are there to help them be successful. I also agree with your statement that students do pick up on vibes from the teacher. If we really get to know our GT students and build a trusting and positive relationship with them, we will be able to work with them and, hopefully, find some positive outlets for their “intensity.”
In response to PKassir:I completely agree with your comment about parent interaction. I have also learned that you when you hear comments and concerns from parents, you really get to know the atmosphere of their home and how you can help their child.
It’s important to learn about the emotional intensities of gifted students so we can understand, help, and effectively educate this population and perhaps help their parents better understand the *whole* gifted child. Students who feel valued and supported by their teacher also feel safe, ready to learn, and comfortable in expressing their thoughts and feelings. A teacher’s modeling of the “acceptance” of the emotional intensities of gifted students will help their peers do the same thing. By learning what to expect and being given the tools for handling/redirecting the emotions behind the behavior would eliminate the stress and frustration a teacher might feel when dealing with the emotionally intensities of gifted students.
To FMoore's post on June 10. I agree that when the teacher is able to model the acceptance of the emotions of GT students, then the rest of the students in class will follow suit and feel more comfortable interacting with them. I think the other students in the class also often struggle with how to respond that they just really decide to keep their distance and this in turn isolates the GT students. Yes, learning about tools that teachers can use to handle these emotions will certainly reduce the frustrations of a teacher and help the class to run more smoothly.
pg. 29 & 33 I think it is very important to learn about emotional intensity of gifted students. I was surprised to see that "the children naturally possess strong emotions that can fluctuate between very happy and very sad." Because these kids can be so passionate about what they are learning and doing they can forget about the other students in the class. They can come off as arrogant or bossy in their manner. The other students do not see this as just their intellectual curiosity. Because gifted students can be so passionate about the world they can have behavioral outbursts. They can either be external where you are able to see them or internal leading to depression and also being withdrawn.There is such a variance between emotions that as a teacher I need to spend more time getting to know what type of emotional make up my students are so i can best help them achieve what they want in a emotionally balanced manner.
It is importatn to learn about the emotional intensities of the gifted because they are the people we are working with. As teachers, we need to encourage learning and achievement. We need to understand kids emotions when working with them. "Helping these children to manage these intense global feelings is the key to balancing the effect of the existential stressors they may experience" (page 33).
To elizabeth h June 11, 2012It's true that we are working with gifted students, some who haven't been officially identified. These children grow up to be gifted adults. It is very important for us as educators to encourage learning and achievement while helping students cope with their intense emotions in order to be successful now as well as in the future.
It is very important to learn about the emotional intensities of gifted students so that we can meet their needs in the classroom. By recognizing and understanding the emtional intensities of your indivudual students, a teacher can provide a solution for problems that may be hindering their learning in the classroom.This will also help the self esteem of the student because they often feel like they are "not normal by the general population's standards" when in fact the are "normal for a gifted person".
To NDeans- I really agree with your comment on meeting the emotional needs of gifted students. Many times they feel very abnormal and out of place. Their giftedness can sometimes overshadow what they are really feeling inside. Understanding and working with the students emotional intensities will really enhance and guide their learning.
I think it is important to understand where our kids are coming from. The more we understand each child - their quirks, strengths, weaknesses, etc, the better the teacher we will be. I know all students are not alike, but there are similarities from year to year with personality types and ways our students learn. If we know our students better, WE will become better teachers for this special group of kids.
I agree with BChristopherson, June 12, 8:21 that it is important to understand where our kids are coming from. What I see now is that I have the opportunity to learn about these quirks and share with the next teacher what strategies I used and when working with these children.
Why do you think it is important to learn about the emotion intensities of gifted students? I think it is important so that we better understand what issues they are going through and hopefuly i can find a way to address some of their emotional needs in my classroom and also make me more aware that i need to change the stereotype i have in my head of what g/t students are supposed to be like...not all g/t students are going to be the same and each one may have different emotional issues..
AmyLJune 6, 2012 11:13 AMin response to her comment, i totally agree!if i can learn more about the emotional issues my g/t students are facing, i can do a much better job of trying to build a better relationship with that student..I can think of one student this past year who was failing and i now feel like i did nothing to make sure he knew that i was concerned! i feel like i just sat there and let him fail because that is what he wanted to to..
It seems that gifted students need us for academics and, equally, if not more, to educate them in ways to navigate their unique responses to the world around them and others. We can be of great service to them by guiding them to develop a true understanding of what is to be gifted and developing a positive self concept. It is important that these students understand that giftedness is multifaceted and is not defined by a single characteristic, i.e. achievement or intelligence. It seems that with this type of education and support it is more likely that these students’ life goals could be pursued and reached without being derailed by negative manifestations of their intensity.Additionally, on pages 47-48 the author mentions the gifted child’s need for solitude to “rejuvenate”. In socializing with some gifted adults, I began to notice that they share a common fear—fear of losing their mind. Overtime, I noticed they shared common fears of diseases that affect the mind and mental injury. I also noticed other behaviors that would be characteristic of what the author describes as the need for solitude. The descriptions of the parental struggles and parent-child relationship strains that this unique need caused revealed what I suspect might be another importance for understanding emotional intensities. It occurred to me that a common perception of solitude is aloneness, but, for the gifted, I do think it is aloneness at all. I suspect that when the gifted are in solitude they are not alone; they are with their mind. It is as though their mind is their soul mate. It seems that, for the gifted, having time alone with their thoughts has a similar effect as spending leisure time with friends and family does for non-gifted. I know that may not be a perfect analogy, but my point is that it is important to understand the desire for solitude is not necessarily an indicator of depression or any other disorder. For the gifted, it seems to be as healthy a behavior as exercising or socializing.
To S. Acevedo: Thank you for your insight. Your point that GT students may have increased fear of losing their mental capacities was a lightning bolt for me. I appreciate the way you explained that being alone with their mind is healthy behavior.
To S. Acevedo June 12, 2012 We all need our solitude at times, don't we? I really like your description of gifted children being alone with their mind. A close friend of mine is gifted and he talks about how sometimes he needs to be alone to read or watch TV just to "turn off his brain" for a while. Mundane tasks in solitude help him renew his energy.
It is clear that GT students’ cognitive, social, emotional behavior all need to be addressed. It is important that the GT student who is a perfectionist, for example, understand that they at times, will need to control their obsessive behavior. How to control the pressure that a perfectionist puts themselves through should be observed and whenever a teacher can help to allay their “self put upon stress,” do it! On the other end of the spectrum, I had a child with Aspergers and his erratic, unpredictable behavior needed to be closely monitored and there were specific teacher actions on my part depending on what type of emotional outburst he was having.
And yet our colleagues feel that because we teach Gifted kids our life is perfect. We don't have to deal with the issues they have. I feel that we have to be more of a psychologist and parent. They come to us with so much and add to that the intensity of their emotions. No wonder I'm drained when they leave my room (not to mention I have them for three periods).
Jeff, agreed! I don't teach strictly GT classes, but my colleagues who do are certainly drained after those classes--and sometimes question our assignments or responses, since they've been hearing a lot of negative feedback from the students. They also seem to have to deal with a lot of this intensity as it manifests itself in a teenager who is struggling to gain more independence--we have runaways, drug and alcohol problems, and other types of acting out. It is a different beast from my AP classes to be sure, even though I have some GT kids sprinkled throughout!
As a high school teacher, I feel like we get the end of the student's GT educational experience. At this point they have mostly already decided if they are going to be more like Emily or more like Andrew. It is important to learn about emotional intensity because there are multiple opportunities with a GT student (especially after the first couple of weeks where the honeymoon period, if any, has worn off) where one might think it is mere laziness, or get frustrated with a student trying to get a perfect product. Instead, if we are able to look objectively at a student and focus specifically on their needs in the classroom.
I agree with Sara Russon, June 13, 1:00 p.m. HS probably does feel like the end of the GT education experience. Being on the front of their education experience (2nd Grade), I feel that we can improve in assisting these children with strategies that they can use as they move through their education experience. Perhaps this will help them in not following the path of Emily or Andrew.
I think that as educators we care very much about our students and want them to be successful. We are very good at differentiating and meeting each student at their level….academically. Sometimes we forget to differentiate for our students emotionally. Gifted students need this kind of differentiation. It is important to learn about the emotional intensities of gifted students in order to foster a positive teacher/student relationship, which in turn promotes a positive classroom environment and builds the gifted student’s self-esteem.
I often see GT students' emotional intensity about things needing to be "right" and "fair". Their genuine frustration is not meant to get the teacher off-topic or avoid assignments; they passionately believe in justice. If they are unable to enact justice, they may become depressed and quit trying. As teachers, perhaps part of our mission is to help them figure out how they can make the changes they see the world needing, and part of our mission may be to help them cope with problems that I see as insurmountable, but they see as opportunities to improve the world.
I believe that if we understand and meet the emotional intensities of our children it will impact their learning and success in the classroom. Gifted children are intense in their cognitive abilities and their emotional development. With this extending to all areas of their lives it can be challenging. If positive emotional intensities are promoted in the classroom it can lead to build a positive self esteem and create a positive learning environment.
In my opinion, I think it is important that we learn about this so that we, the educators, can gain the understanding that in most cases - they cant help it! The child is just as confused about the range of emotions as the adult. I have personal friend with 2 highly gifted children and as I am reading through the book I am relating everything to my interations with them. Just last week I took the little girl on some errands with me and at the time I kept thinking how horribly mean she was being to my 5 year old. When in reality as described on page 47 (e-reader page #), she (the gifted child) found the topic of conversation mundane and of little value to her therefore she was resistant and (I, in mommy-mode) thought it was to the point of meanness.
I think it's important to learn about the emotional intensities of gifted children because these children are often stereotyped. For example I had a child this year who was AU and GT and there were behaviors that his parents would refer to as "well that's just his GT". I think this book in particular provides specific strategies to teach children how to live with this intensity and not just assume many of the things we do about GT students.
Ms. E, I agree! I think too often when GT classes or parents or the students use GT as a crutch, I feel as if I'm pandering to a child simply because he or she is supposed to be smart. That is not going to help that child in the future. Being aware of these emotional intensities can help that child sort out his or her emotions and that profit him or her in college, in the workforce, and in future relationships.
It is important to learn about the different kinds of intensities so that we as educators can recognize them and help the students learn how to deal with them more effectively. I cringed as I read this section because I recognized a student that I had this past year, and thought about how I dealt with her. Most of my conversations with mom were about her lack of friends/social skills because of her being an only child. While I do continue to think that had a hand, I now wonder how I can reconnect with the student and maybe help her with a different approach.
It is important to me because I now am able to see "both sides of the coin." I was guilty of thinking that the gifted had it pretty easy, and if they weren't experiencing academic success, it must be they didn't care about that or they were just "lazy" . Now I have a much better understanding of the problematic side of giftedness. How the same intensity that helps can also hurts them.
On page 28 she talks about not leaving assignments too open ended. I've never really thought about this and have always given my kids, what I felt lots of freedom with assignments. Having read much of this chapter I find what I was doing could have actually been hurting the progress of the kids.
My son was identified as Gifted this past January, and my wife and I struggled with his behavior. Now I k ow that some of it comes from the fact that he is gifted ( the rest because he's six). Having taught GT now for 13 years, I am learning a lot about what makes them tick. Maybe those kids that didn't finish work weren't lazy; maybe my assignment on Russian politics really didn't interest them. It has made me go back and reassess what I have planed for next year.
I believe that learning about the emotional intensities of gifted children will help me teach them more effectively. I think it is important to be able to recognize when you have such a child in the classroom and I think it will be invaluable to help the child discover his or her own coping mechanisms, working off of the idea on page 42 that children need to learn how to "mediate [their] own feelings and control the outbursts." That profits everyone in this GT circle, from parents to teachers to peers.
We need to understand the whole child. Their emotional needs are so closely tied to their learning. Understanding their emotional intensity when grappling with large problems (p. 36), will help us better empathize and work with these students. It is wonderful to have students who are so passionate about issues they care deeply about, but we need to help them navigate through the myriad of related emotions they often feel. This will help them be well adjusted and happy.