Motivating Underachieving Gifted Children - Understanding the Basics
By Andrew Loh
Most gifted children are under achieving and they also lack motivation
to do well in academics and classroom studies. Motivating such children
could be a Herculean task both for the parents and teachers. However,
parents may not like to sit idle and fail to motivate their gifted ones,
obviously because it relates directly to professional and personal
career of children. Parents may like to understand some simple and basic
things to understand how motivation works in the case of gifted
What is underachievement?
It is a very difficult term to define as most of them technical and
applying its broader meaning under a single context could be very
difficult. Underachievement acts a fine thin line between two other
terms – potential and achievement. Potential is a universal standard for
detecting potential in a child by using standard IQ and other similar
tests. On the other hand, achievement is something that could be reached
by a child and it is usually linked to academic performance within a
Common traits of gifted children who are currently underachieving in their studies and classroom
Identifying similar traits in gifted children is always difficult.
However, here are some broader characteristics that can be fund among
gifted children who are under achieving.
However, lack of motivation seems to be the most serious problem that a gifted
child faces in his or her life. Two reasons are likely to affect a
gifted child's motivation to study and get grades. One, he or she may
not be challenged enough in the classroom and second, they feel to get
their curiosities satisfied early in the classroom. When these overpower
gifted children, they may find daily classroom activities extremely
boring and monotonous. In the end, they will start losing their
motivation very slowly and over a period. Underachievement is a leaned
and acquired behavior. In fact, gifted children are not born
underachievers. The attribute of underachievement could be undone and
unlearned with consistent efforts.
Is it possible to reverse signs and patterns of underachievement in
gifted children? Yes, it is possible only when parents use the right
type of technologies. Three types of strategies are available to reverse
underachievement and make gifted children learn like normal children
(Please see Whitmore's research on these three strategies):
These strategies treat gifted children feel
as if they belong to a family and a close-knit group instead of treating
like just another roll number. Teaching and training both at home and
classroom should be individualized and they should take care of the
needs of gifted children too.
Here, children's desire to learn and master should match the actual
learning method. In other words, classroom should be positive enough to
invite a gifted children learn all by self. He or she should also be
able to self-evaluate the progress made academically.
All children have their strengths
and weaknesses including gifted children. They may also have different
social, psychological and intellectual needs to grow and thrive.
Teachers and parents should understand these factors without fail.
Remedial strategies provide an opportunity for the gifted children to
excel in the areas of their preference and choice.
Gifted children are emotionally quite different from others. They learn in
their own specific way that is special to their mental needs. Although,
teaching such children are quite difficult, parents could develop a
sense of self induced motivation in them to master their classroom
curriculum. Gifted children are known to feel negative and frustrated
with their boring classroom and blackboard based curriculum. In other
words, they might need an environment that is conducive to their likes
and preferences. Underachievement in gifted children is not exactly
lower academic performance. Rather, it is a disappointing performance.
However, given enough opportunities and choices, a gifted child could
also become an excellent classroom performer.
Available research on gifted children suggests these simple academic techniques to motivate
them. One, understand their choices, likes and preferences and proceed
to motivating them to improve them. Motivation relates to a
psychological approach and parents would need to use positive techniques
of motivation. Motivation is an approach that pulls up gifted children
from their self-induced perimeter and later feeds positivity to drive
out negativism and defiance behavior that usually comes with gifted
children. In a way, motivating gifted children to achieve the best in
academics is a psychological exercise that needs immense patience and
tolerance. Continue to read
Motivating Underachieving Gifted Children Tips.