Best Practices for Teaching Gifted Students

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  • 0:03 What Are Gifted Students?
  • 0:48 Best Practices
  • 2:16 Practices to Avoid
  • 3:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Teaching gifted students can be a tremendous privilege, but it can also be a challenge. In this lesson, you'll learn about some of the ways a teacher can meet the needs of gifted learners. You'll also learn about what not to do with the gifted students you encounter.

What Are Gifted Students?

As teachers, we hear the term 'gifted' with some regularity, but too often we don't discuss what this word means and its impact on our daily practice. A gifted student is one with unusual strengths or talents in one or more areas.

Gifted students tend to learn very quickly, and they also learn differently from other students. They may not need the same scaffolding or assistance that other students need, but this does not mean that they are fully independent or don't need support from the teacher. In fact, because they so often have unique learning styles and profiles, gifted students require sensitive teachers who understand the best ways to meet their needs.

Let's discuss some best practices to teaching gifted students and also some practices to avoid.

Best Practices

Gifted students can sometimes be challenging to work with because they do not necessarily respond to traditional instructional patterns. Here are some of the practices that will help gifted students excel in your class:


Try not to force gifted students to adhere to rigid academic or social expectations. Give them a bit of leeway: maybe they finish their work quickly and need more time to read independently or work on their own projects. Maybe they get very invested in their work and end up needing more time than the rest of the class. Being flexible about your expectations will help gifted students find their unique strengths and ways of learning and working.

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