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ED4128 Educational Psychology - Research Assignment

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Introduction

ED4128 Educational Psychology - Research Assignment Karla Conway # 20010964 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. ...read more.

Middle

They do not have the fundamental skills to pull themselves from this and under all of this sudden pressure they begin to lose their thirst for knowledge. This becomes a vicious circle - causing habitual underachievement. One of the worst results of this downward spiral that Ziv states, is when it comes to opportunity for higher education (i.e. Tafe or university), the doors close to the gifted underachiever because they have failed to get the results required for entrance. This creates a real sense of failure in the student. The other type of underachiever is the "hidden underachiever". This is the child who is gifted, yet because the parents don't realize s/he is gifted, when they come home with B's on the report it is seen that they are doing well, when they are not reaching their potential at all. This is why it is so important that teachers identify this as early as possible. Social relations suffer greatly in gifted students because they are rarely able to relate to others their own age, on an equal level. Because there is a significant intellectual gap, the gifted student sometimes finds it difficult not to look down on normal children. Underachieving helps gifted students to be accepted by peers, but it seems they have to abandon their intellectual pursuits in order to do this. The gifted child is most often left isolated and alone. The challenge lies in complete integration. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gifted students already have an inherent desire to learn. In order to keep them motivated, the teacher should try to relate curriculum work to their current interests. Stimulating the student to partake in exciting learning activities will make the learning interesting. Using experiments, role playing, media, creative projects and interaction gets students actively using their brains. This begins the fundamental process of intrinsic motivation. Students are self-motivated to learn because the experience is fun and interesting. Take into account the six principles of motivation ( positive thinking, enjoyment, feeling important, achieving success, personal benefit and clarity in teaching) when creating a modified curriculum- just because they are gifted, doesn't mean that extra work has to be stuck in books! Make students aware of their meta-cognitive beliefs. If a student can understand the ways that they learn best, then they have power over their own learning. Giving the student as many choices as you can offer, creates motivation in itself. Remembering that fun, diverse teaching methods combining theory and practice, funny stories and a passionate, enthusiastic teacher will motivate students whether they are low achievers, average, bright or gifted. Clearly, in the Identity vs. Role Confusion stage of development, the examples of strategy and motivation are going to be effective in the secondary educational environment. Understanding and appreciating the developmental characteristics of adolescents, teachers of gifted students should be able to make a difference and enhance their learning, to keep them striving to their potential and protect them from falling into the trap of underachievement. ...read more.

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