Meeting the Needs of Gifted Learners

By Stacey Burt on March 3, 2010

One of the most interesting and challenging groups of students to teach in the regular education setting is the gifted learner. With a Masters degree in gifted and talented education, I have researched several methods of instruction for gifted learners. I have compiled a list of resources and tips for educators that provide instruction for this diverse group of students.

One of the first recommendations I would like to make is reading the book, Genius Denied, by Jan and Bob Davidson. The authors of this book outline that fact that America is failing some of its brightest learners as students are forced to relearn information they already know year after year. It also explains what this dilemma can mean for the gifted learner in the way of underachievement, frustration, failure, and even depression.


The Davidson’s web sight is a great resource for teaches, parents, and students. I especially like that the site provides information on gifted policy for every state. Here is the URL:

Here are some of the easiest things to do to meet the needs of gifted learners in your classroom:

1. Always give a pre-test to determine mastery in all subjects. I generally use 90 percent as my cut off for mastery. If mastery is indicated, I challenge the student on the material at a much deeper level.

2. Compact material so your gifted learner can move at a faster pace.

3. Permit time for these students to pursue topics that they are interested in, they have a habit of becoming experts on concepts and topics if given the chance.

4. DO NOT use them as peer tutors. This is wasting time they could be learning something new just like their peers.

5. Meet with them and set goals, both academic and personal.

6. Use themes in your classroom like systems, conflicts, or powers. These spread across content areas and can be powerful if implemented correctly.

7. Allow gifted learners to work on long term projects. Many are so thorough in their research, you won’t be disappointed with the results.

8. Flexible grouping. Allow gifted students from younger grades to attend your class for certain subjects.

9. Help these students find mentors that can guide them in the field(s) they are passionate about.

10. Continue to learn as much as possible about this population. They are definitely one of our country’s great natural resources.

Finally, here are some more resources on gifted learners for you to explore:

All the best-



Thanks a lot Stacey. This really helps. This is exactly what I was looking for - detailed an well explained and you also provided extra resources. Thanks a million. I will list them down and tape it on my desk until I am familiar with it. God bless!

Love it....well said Stacey.

Also, very timely, I might add.

Peace out,


Thanks Angela! We have that mothering instinct to protect all of our students...just want to make sure we focus on the needs of ALL of our sweet ones.

You rock-


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