Learning Environment for Gifted Children
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Describe a good classroom organization and learning environment for gifted children.
A: This sounds more like an
assignment question! Anyway, I will briefly list down a
What is most important is a Differentiated Instruction,
which is indeed a continuous process of learning about
students' needs and interests and using that knowledge to
guide instruction. Here, teachers need to use their
knowledge of students to determine how content can be
presented, appropriate activities, and to guide students in
demonstrating what they have learned based on their
The classroom organization and management is essential.
Class size is typically small and flexible with ample space
for students to move around and explore and engage in
various activities while remaining on task.
The teacher acts as a facilitator and instead of presenting
the curriculum, s/he would concentrate on creating and
selecting learning opportunities for students, guiding them,
and working with them to assess their progress. Lessons are
student-centered. Students are also allowed to schedule
their own task (for part of the time) to encourage
exploration and independence with recommendation by the
In a gifted classroom, it is important to maintain a
well-balanced social and emotional climate for all students,
especially the gifted at-risk (minority, girls, disabled,
underachievers). There should be differentiated learning
even in the same classroom for gifted students of varying
abilities and talents. If included in a regular class, they
should not feel threatened and mask their abilities.
Acceptance is essential for these students and each one's
abilities and talents ought to be valued and appreciated,
however with a fine balance as to not go over the board.
Issues of perfectionism should be addressed and not at all
Gifted students differ from other in three key areas that
is, the pace at which they learn, the depth of their
understanding and the interest that they hold. It is highly
important for the school to cater for these needs regardless
of whether there is a special program for gifted students or
in a mixed ability classroom.
Last but not least, teachers of gifted students should be
well-trained to handle the differentiation learning and
emotional issues that they may go through as this is crucial
to their learning. This is especially important at primary