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Recognition Of Individual Differences In The Classroom

2391 words - 10 pages

Recognition of Individual Differences in the Classroom

Recognition of individual differences is one of the hardest jobs that
a teacher faces in the classroom. It requires a strong sense of
instinct as well as the knowledge of characteristics of each of the
specific differences. Without this, the teacher is unable to fulfill
their job to the best of their ability because they are denying the
students an environment in which their learning can flourish. One such
difference that occurs in the classroom is giftedness. Giftedness is
defined as

Children who give evidence of high performance capability in areas
such as intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership capacity, or
specific academic fields, and who require services or activities not
ordinarily provided by the school in order to develop such
capabilities (Clark, 1992, p6.).

Looking at giftedness in students between the ages of 12-18, we will
discuss the nature of the attribute, the challenges it presents,
strategies for motivation and the enhancement of learning within the
psychological stage of Identity vs. Role Confusion.

During this age group [12-18yrs], adolescents are beginning the
process of developing skills for a meaningful role in adult society.
They begin to ask the question of Who Am I?, as the options seem
limitless compared to who their peers are, and where they fit in, in
the grand scheme of life. There is a heavy dependence on peers and a
strong need for the “self” to be accepted by them. This also includes
concerns about appearance (thin girls and strong boys),
self-consciousness and the development of active sexuality. In
addition to this, the adolescent starts to spend a significant amount
of time thinking about what they want to become as adults. With this,
comes the extreme pressure for academic achievement combined with
personal development.

It is in the nature of gifted students to demonstrate characteristics
such as unusual retentiveness, advanced comprehension and
logical-mathematical thought, ability to think in abstract terms,
solve complex problems, generalize and ability to see unusual/ diverse
relationships. However there are physical signs of giftedness to look
for as well, such as high motivation to learn from a young age,
introverted behaviour, emotional sensitivity and/or strong academic
self-concept combined with an average-to-lower social self-concept.

Recognition of giftedness used to be based solely on the adolescent
attaining and IQ score of 130 or higher, however it has been
criticized as the IQ only covers a select range of skills. Feldhusen
states, in Psychology Applied to Teaching that another problem with
determining giftedness is that cognitive processes and achievements
are “still often looked to as indicators of giftedness at the expense
of other such relevant...

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