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Does your gifted child need a mentor?
SUNDAY, AUGUST 27, 2017 14:08 PM

Mentors can help gifted kids find their interests and flesh out potential career paths. Mentors are not just for kids who need a little extra help to keep up in school. In fact, gifted children can benefit from these formative relationships. Think for a second, have you ever been stumped on how to help your gifted students improve on their schoolwork? You might not answer a question because your kids are learning at a higher level than you did in school. Mentors can offer assistance that is unmatched, especially for gifted students enrolled in age-appropriate classes and may seek outside stimulation. Here are some positives of mentoring to consider:

Mentors promote advancement toward careers

Gifted kids may not receive extra attention in class. This means while their teachers may know of specific aptitudes and interests, they are not nurtured. If a gifted kid is really into biology a mentor may be the perfect person to further related learning. Outside of the classroom, the mentor can create and assign stimulating projects, research and homework that will help the student get a sense of the subject and potentially identify a career path to work toward. It is essential that adults who interact with children in an academic setting know of their students' goals and skills so they can guide the kids in the right direction.

Addressing multiple potentials

In an essay published by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education, author S.S. Berger noted that many gifted children have "multiple potentials." This term refers to the fact that often, talented kids have impressive abilities in several fields instead of just one. While a child can be great at math that does not mean he or she is gifted. If that same kid earns incredible scores on math IQ testing and reading, he or she may be considered gifted. Since these children have multiple talents, mentoring is the perfect opportunity to help these students flesh out their abilities. 

Provoking thought and leadership

Teachers in regular classrooms will try to account for the needs of gifted students, but may not have all the resources to adequately challenge them in regular academics. Mentors can serve as thought provokers - individuals that focus solely on gifted kids and can assess their personal needs and interests. Mentors must nurture critical thinking skills and encourage gifted students to look further into their texts and topics they like. These factors can help make sure such students do not become bored or even disruptive in class.

Mentors can provide gifted kids with extra assistance to keep them interested in their schooling and following personal learning endeavors. These individuals can be teachers, community leaders or even just adult friends of high intellect and can work with gifted kids to their benefit. Parents can ask their gifted children's regular teachers for advice on finding a mentor or look to local tutoring services or gifted child meet-ups to see how other parents found their kids' mentors.

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