This post is part of a series, When Giftedness Gets Annoying.
Let’s look at some case studies that represent some actual instances of gifted student behaviors. The ones we’ve chosen are student profiles where a gift, interest, or talent may present with multiple sides. How do you respond to the “rough seas” of giftedness and do a positive redirect? How do you harness the best side of the behavior and help students develop skills that lead to smoother sailing?
J is the student who brings TMI (“too much information”) to every conversation and classroom discussion. At any moment he can share a treasure trove of information and stats, culled from intensive and regular viewing of the History and Discovery channels. He reads voraciously and will stop by your desk each morning to drop the latest factoid. In the midst of class conversation, group work, and other gatherings, he shares his latest information in what often feel like non sequitur moments.
Other students tend to ignore him, while some roll their eyes. Now you’re seeing kids whispering about him, though you’ve not overheard any insults.
J can dominate any conversation; in fact, he seems quite happy if he can speak for several minutes straight. But he’s not engaging effectively with other students, and you’re already wondering how to cut down his contributions so others can get the mic–while also feeling as if this approach can’t be the only intervention.
You keep thinking: this kid has so much ability–his mind is so capacious, his desire to learn so expansive, and his willingness to share so intense. Surely there’s a way to channel this in a positive manner, while helping him interact more effectively?
How would you harness J’s interest and skill and redirect him in a positive way?