Sample letter for parents to teachers of gifted children
Here is a sample letter to be adapted and given to the teachers of your children who have not been trained or made aware of the specificities of gifted children.
First, you should make sure of what is the exact situation, please follow this link to find some key tips to help you work with your teacher/school/district : https://www.nagc.org/get-involved/advocate-high-ability-learners/advocate-your-child
If you realize that nothing's done the way it should and it's a knowledge and will problem, check the letter below.
I have voluntarily separated this prewritten letter from my article on the wanderings of the school in the face of gifted children in order to improve the referencing of the content so that it can be found more easily by the majority of parents who have to deal with these difficulties.
You have permission to copy, modify, and reuse this letter to give to your child's teacher. For professionals, journalists, bloggers, you have the obligation to cite the source of this letter in a clear and detailed manner as well as to link to this website, in case of editorial use.
It goes without saying that I decline all responsibility for the possible consequences arising from the use of this letter and you are therefore entirely responsible for your action.
This letter has been traduced from French, please alter it before use with the specific wording needed.
It has been deliberately formatted to fit on a single A4 page. When editing the content, I encourage you to make sure it fits on an A4 page to ensure its reading. If at all, this is effective.
Hello Mr/Mrs ************,
I know that you don't have much time, so I have prepared a 3 minute read summary to help you understand in 7 points what a gifted child is and the specificities of learning for adapted care and pedagogical differentiation (information taken from reliable sources and professionals of learning disorders).
- There is an official framework for taking into account gifted students who are part of the special education needs group.
- A gifted child is not necessarily brilliant.
- The usual learning methods based on repetition and rote learning, among others, are not adapted to them, and 2/3 of these children will eventually encounter difficulties (refusal, school failure, emotional or behavioral problems, etc.).
- Correct results and the absence of visible problems do not exempt the implementation of a pedagogical differentiation, because they have a different memory and cognitive functioning and this influences the learning, comprehension and attention processes.
- The acquisition of knowledge and concepts is 3 to 4 times faster and qualitative.
- The ease of redundant tasks is the number one problem. Tasks that are too simple/repetitive do not trigger cognitive processes, resulting in errors that may suggest that they still have gaps. Errors are not a sign of deficiencies or a need to revise/retake concepts necessarily. They invest in and do better on complex tasks.
- They do not have a good grasp of the implicit and may interpret the instructions/question at face value, or not understand them, not thinking they can be so simple.
How to adapt the rhythm (Base center référence des troubles des apprentissages, Hôpital Neurologique, Lyon) (Ideally find the right research or center for your country)
- Differentiated work by level and/or skills.
- Acceleration of the training with specific support.
- Individualized timetable with a contract by period.
- Follow-up of certain subjects in another class.
- Enrichment/expansion in areas of success.
- Grade skipping should be favored in the primary grades.
What work should be done? Enrich, deepen. To adapt his pedagogy around 6 axes (Base reference center of learning disorders, Neurological Hospital, Lyon) (Ideally find the right research or center for your country):
- Knowing and respecting his difference.
- Teach him methods to structure his thoughts and language. Work in particular on learning to break down reasoning.
- Nourish his intellect, exploit his resources.
- To compensate for ease by proposing exercises adapted to his real know-how by limiting repetitions when a concept is assimilated.
- Propose motivating and more complex research activities.
- Encourage autonomy, creativity and the use of intuition.
The stakes are high; we must ensure that we do not pave the way for the difficulties already mentioned, such as refusal, academic failure, emotional or behavioral problems, etc.
We must not allow the child to become complacent, and lose himself to vegetation, and we must ensure that he keeps a positive and interesting vision of school by offering him regular intellectual stimulation as well as a balanced emotional environment, which is why we must be vigilant so that he is not neglected or mistreated by his peers.
I very much hope that in the very short term you will be able to implement differentiated and more complex teaching, I have decided to start on my side, but this gives him extra work which is not going in the right direction. Reducing repetition and making the work more complex seem to me to be the first things to put in place and I would like us to discuss this.
My child has a folder in his bag containing the documents from ********* and the « reference center for learning disorders » which cover in detail the points mentioned in this document, including a list of resources and he will wait until you ask for it to give it to you.
Thank you for your consideration,
The last paragraph is useful as it will give you an indicator of how/if the document was read and processed, and will allow you to question why the documents were not requested of your child. Do not necessarily draw hasty conclusions...
You will find on the NAGC website a great link of ressources for teachers : https://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources-educators
Some Key reports in Gifted education you can use to support this letter : https://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/key-reports-gifted-education
As a reference, only to show you the kind of document from an undoubtable source that you need to support this letter, because I couldn't find one in English, here is the French document that is referenced to in the letter, please find one from this kind of source with this kind of data : le rapport du centre de référence des troubles des apprentissages, Hôpital Neurologique, Lyon