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Individual Learning Styles: Is Your Child Bright or Gifted?

5th Oct 2016

Kids define themselves in context of their immediate surroundings, mainly school and the home.  Peers, teachers, grades, and social identity mold a child’s ego and levels of confidence at school.  Kids exhibit individual learning styles.  Teachers and parents get stumped when it comes to distinguishing a bright vs gifted child.  Help distinguish the two types of learners and identify whether your child could be either one.

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There Is a Distinction

In general conversation, a ‘bright’ child could be interchangeable with a ‘gifted’ child.  However, researchers point out a difference; observing subtleties helps parents understand their children and behavior.  For example, a gifted student may ask thought-provoking and out-of-the-box questions while a bright student is comfortable and efficient in supplying answers.  Watch for patterns of behavior rather than label each act.  Generally, a child’s feelings toward school and related is a sign of whether they are gifted or bright.

Discovering a Gifted Child

A gifted child enjoys ideas and learning new things.  They are inventive and methodical in asking questions.  However, teachers and parents could misinterpret such children as disruptive.  Gifted children may loathe school but are full of wild ideas.  Ultimately, these children are intellectual by nature and capable of doing very well in school.  A gifted child may have great confidence in their capabilities yet lack the desire to express themselves or do well; for example, a gifted child may score high on achievement tests yet fail regular classes due to a lack of effort.

Seeing a Bright Child

A bright child is what most think of upon mention of a ‘straight A’ student.  They love going to school, are exceptional at answering questions and doing homework, and have great memories.  However, such students need encouragement from teachers and parents.  Because the student is so mentally and emotionally invested in scholastics, recognition and feedback is crucial.  A bright child appreciates guidance and goals.

Getting the Most from Education

Parents and teachers must work together to properly address, react, and nurture gifted and bright children.  Each type has its needs and preferences regarding school participation, teacher relationships,  a need for encouragement, etc.  A bright student’s natural inclination to do well in school fuels their interest.  However, they need positive feedback from teachers and parents.  Unfortunately, a gifted child can fall through the cracks.  Imperceptions and assumptions of parents, counselors, and teachers, along with the predilection to act out, can make such students appear disinterested in learning.  These students need special attention and may do better in a small classroom or within a one-on-one setting.  A parent may gain added insight via WISC test resources.  The WISC tests a child’s learning capabilities versus testing on what has already been learned.

Look for Patterns of Behavior

It’s normal for a parent to misinterpret behaviors after reading about gifted and bright children.  Rather than deconstruct your child’s behavior, look for patterns.  Also, don’t let a child’s behavior obscure your ability to assess their level of intellect.  Those who show poor judgment can be assumed to perform poorly in school.

Elizabeth Porter has worked as a teacher for several years now and is soon-to-be a Mom herself. She enjoys writing education articles aimed at parents so that they can help their kids from home.

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