Insatiable Hunger… Becoming a Detective!

In my words, I USED to play the piano. Last Friday I felt like playing for a little while. ThatPiano music playing pianist musician. little while turned into a marathon!

After two hours my fingers remembered, the notes returned. By the third hour, there were glimpses of music!  I HAD to play, my soul was famished! No meals were prepared, no work was done, my family was left to fend for themselves.  Apparently listening to my playing is a ‘beautiful’ way to drift off to sleep!

At 10.15 pm, I stopped as abruptly as I had begun. I was full, my hunger satisfied!  I wished my husband goodnight and fell into a deep sleep.

I had remembered that I am a musician! 

There are so many definitions and controversy about classifications of giftedness. A conversation that we will save for another time!

If I had to pick one quality that gifted individuals portray most frequently, it is their insatiable desire to learn, especially in their area of passion.

Unfortunately schools do not always provide opportunities for students to immerse themselves in learning.

Funny, I always thought that is what schools were for!

Many gifted students spend hours everyday ‘learning’ things they can already do with ease or have no interest in. Too often they hand in substandard work because they are literally ‘asleep’ at school.

As teachers and parents we need to become detectives. Watching for that ‘spark’ of passion waiting to be awakened. A question from parched lips, sparkling eyes, alive at last!

When I was a new graduate and coordinator of the Gifted and Talented Program I went to the Principal and advocated for Passion Projects. Opportunities for students to spend time learning in their interest area. There was of course curriculum to get through! Calling something Passion Projects with teenagers in the Western Suburbs was asking for trouble. He was probably right about that one!

When did we decide that the curriculum is more important than learning? 

That formal assessment is more important than knowing ourselves? Or the only way to structure our day is to compartmentalise it into separate subjects?

I appreciate that changing the whole structure of schools is no easy task. (Not that I don’t wish we could!) We can still begin in small powerful ways.

Here are five ideas to get your started…

1. Observe your students (your children)

Start to notice those moments of aliveness.   ‘Listen’ to their body language. Connect with their energy in the classroom. With practice you can ‘feel’ whether your students are energetically present, missing in action, asleep or spinning out of control.  This last one is very common with creative students who are creating their own entertainment!

2. Get Curious

Ask open ended questions to uncover your students areas of interest.  Get curious about how they spend their time. If they were to design the perfect school day, what would they be learning about? How would they be learning?

3. Be courageous

What are you currently doing that is a learning turn off? Do they have suggestions?  You can create a classroom environment where honest feedback is welcome.  Teach them how to give and receive feedback. Show them you are willing to act on feedback where you can, encourage them to do the same.

4. Provide opportunities for self directed study

There are always places were students can design their own special interest project.    Gifted students will want to go DEEP for extended periods of time!  Pretesting for existing knowledge and curriculum compacting can free up space for immersion.  Conversations are really important. They take learning into unexpected places.

5. Know yourself

As teachers and parents we can be so focused on meeting the needs of others that we forget that we have our own passions too! When you give yourself permission to spend time on what you love, you will naturally make this a priority for the young people in your care!

Did you know?

The majority of teachers and parents who feel drawn to this website are themselves GIFTED. That means I am talking to you.

It is time to get to know yourself as a gifted adult. Until January 31st 2015, I am offering a very special coaching session to help you uncover your genius. You can find out more about the program here.