Gifted or A Better Teacher?

By Lily S.

The Administration for Albuquerque Public Schools has the option to add a gifted program for social studies classes in middle school in the following school years, but is this necessary to better a child’s education?

The recent Block Schedule at APS middle schools has paired Language Arts and Literature classes together.  Since this new scheduling, a student who took gifted classes in literature would also have gifted Language Arts. Thus, those students who took all gifted classes; Math, Science, an Literature, would only have Social Studies as a regular educational class.  The question in mind is “Would it be a small step to having Social Studies being a ‘Gifted’ class?”

Others opposed to the idea to believe “An ‘all-Gifted’ student also needs to be in regular Ed. classes such as Social Studies”

A known issue is the quality of the work given out by Social Studies teachers.  Students in Gifted classes complain about their teacher not giving them good learning material, but instead busy work with little affect on their eager minds. These “Gifted” children say the teacher gives easy work, possibly because they also teach boisterous children who are careless about their homework and learning.  Yet, many teachers think that if a student was Gifted, they should go more in depth with their assignments by doing research or adding new levels to their homework.

Ms. Lopez, a Seventh and Eighth grade Social Studies teacher believes “Gifted students and regular Ed. students learn from each other because of their different viewpoints.”  She also believes it is valuable for students of Gifted and Regular Ed. to learn how to deal with everybody’s attitude and their individual ways of thinking.

Still, there are those rambunctious kids who do disrupt the learning process for others. Those types of students can not only hold back the other pupils from learning, but can get the teacher off-track and not focus on teaching, but on trying to manage the chattering kids.

If a “Gifted” Social Studies class was created its students might have a more calming environment with possibly more in-depth learning.  If that happened just imagine what the regular Ed. classes would be like.  They might be more focused to fit their students’ needs, or they could be even louder without the presence of Gifted kids dedicated to learning.

Ms. Lopez also thinks that “All students should be taught as gifted students.” This means that the teachers should be involved and make sure each child should try to reach its highest learning potential.

This brings us to the really baffling question of all, “Is it the teacher who really should be instructing better instead of moving students to a Gifted class?” Some teachers do follow the saying “Teach all students as if they were gifted.”  These teachers go in depth as a Gifted teacher would by making students analyze what their work and have them learn a wide variety about a subject.

Interviewed students with a teacher like that say “I am learning everything I need to learn. I don’t see why we would need a Gifted class when we are learning as much as possible.” Students who have the other type of teacher can feel like they are on their own with no one to answer and explain their wondering questions.

If this is the fact, than what should be the solution:  manage through the year with a difficult teacher;  attempt to switch to a better teachers class;  or, have a gifted program for those students who want to be challenged?

Parent of a student at Jefferson Middle School says “The school should have Gifted Social Studies so the students can let their creative thinking flow out onto current events and solutions to the future.” Many Gifted classes are focused on showing their imagination and critical thinking. With a Gifted class the students could possibly have a reserved time to analyze current events and communicate ideas about solutions to economic and financial problems with gifted peers.

With this assigned time they could bounce ideas off each other to create more/better ideas. Then again, students who would be in Regular Educational classes still need the time to communicate their ideas. Yet, some students are left by the teacher to do their work without discussions or fulfilling lectures on an idea or topic.

Trying to fit the needs of every student is a hard thing to do, but can we improve it just by having a better teacher, one not necessarily “Gifted”…just better?

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