Children who are very bright but do not do as well as they should in school are puzzling to educators. Whether these students are not challenged enough, are underachieving or have different ways of learning, we as teachers of the gifted have to become advocates for them. We must tailor programs and strategies to appeal to their interests and talents. A teacher's ability to find those talents and utilize them within the learning environment can make all the difference in a student's success in school.
Part of my focus as a lecturer here at UGA has been on using technology to teach and reach gifted students and their teachers. As the coordinator of the online programs in Educational Psychology, Gifted and Creative Education, I develop curricula for assisting teachers to reach their gifted students. In my classes, I work with my students to show them how to effectively coach and support their gifted students.
It is also very important for teachers to accurately assess and deal with the social and emotional issues of the underachieving gifted students. These issues can vary from the stigma that often attaches to being the smart kid to perfectionism and procrastination that afflict the gifted. In my classes, I work on coaching my students and showing them how to effectively guide and support their gifted students. The more tools we all have in our toolbox, the better equipped we will be to help these gifted students to achieve and make a better world for all of us.