Skip to main content

A Message on a Post-It

Not long ago in my MindPlus class, we were talking about being gifted and what that means for us. Instead of talking, one student quietly wrote on a post-it ‘I don’t really feel like I fit in at school’ and stuck it on the wall. This innocuous little post-it kick-started a torrent of ‘me too’ comments and we talked at length about this meant. Whilst fitting in is not the same as a sense of belonging, the two can go hand-in-hand. Children talked about not feeling 'right', not fitting with others, being misunderstood, being different, not being able to be themselves, and not meeting others like them as factors that contributed towards their sense of not belonging. 

As a teacher, a parent, and a human, I felt devastated for these young people carrying the burden of not fitting in, not feeling part of things, not belonging.  I wondered what it was that made them feel so ill at ease?  I wondered what steps we could take to enhance belonging in our classrooms?

Some of my ponderings brought me back to the three key words of this blog tour, accepted, included, connected.

Accepted – To belong, our gifted tamariki need to be accepted by all. Their differences, along with the individuality of all children, should be celebrated. Acceptance begins with gifted children, their parents, teachers and peers understanding the concept of giftedness. Specialist input can help us as teachers, as well as our gifted students, come to understand this better. 

Included - To belong, our gifted tamariki need to have their intellectual and social needs met, whatever the setting, and in this way, they can feel included. Specifically working to understand and meet the needs of gifted children will help them to feel included, and thus to belong. Again, specialist input can help with identifying and providing for gifted children. 

Connected - To belong, our gifted tamariki need to find a place where they feel they fit, to find a peer group of those with like-minds or similar interests. This sense of connection to similar others enhances belonging across settings.  Specialist programmes can bring together groups of gifted children, as can well designed school programmes.

If as teachers we worked on accepting, including and connecting our gifted children, will their sense of belonging be enhanced? Will the post-it messages change?

Proud to be part of the Gifted Awareness Week 2016 Blog Tour

Photo credit Flickr user Dean Hochman, post-it notes, licensed for commercial use CC BY 2.0


Popular posts from this blog

Celebrating Success - From the Horses' Mouths

Celebrate Gifted Aotearoa NZ: Catalysts of Success is a great theme for Gifted Awareness Week 2018. It's positive, hopeful, reflective and fun! This theme combines some interesting ideas, and I asked myMindPlus classes (one-day-a-week specialist programme for gifted learners, part of the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education) what they thought about this theme for Gifted Awareness Week.  So here come some ideas from the horses' mouths... 
Firstly, celebrating. Gifted Awareness Week is indeed a week of celebration for those of us who are connected to gifted education, as learners, parents, teachers, or as interested parties. It gives us all of a specific time and reason to recognise and feel proud of our gifted learners. Having this specific time helps us to get past some of the reasons why gifted learners (and perhaps also their parents) can be reluctant to celebrate their success.  Here are some of the things my students said: 
⁃ “Sometimes my success isn't recognised as …

The Diverse Doctor

In the weeks and months leading up to Gifted Awareness Week this year, I've been immersing myself in a new fandom, that of Doctor Who. I've enjoyed (thanks to Netflix) the different regenerations of the Doctor, his various companions, his adventures and travels and troubles, and mostly I've enjoyed his musings about life and humanity. So merging my new interest (obsession?) with Gifted Awareness Week I thought it apt to look at lessons about diversity from Doctor Who and think about how these might apply to the very real context of gifted education in New Zealand.

Lessons in diversity from Doctor Who:

Image credit: Flickr user: Doctor Who Spoilers, licensed for use CC BY 2.0

- an awareness that life exists in many variations
The Doctor takes many forms. He understands, at the most fundamental level, that he himself is the very embodiment of diversity. From this understanding, he is then aware, from his travels in time and space, that life takes many forms. Some life forms…