Search form

10 Ways to Help Your High Achieving Students Find Their Passion

As a teacher, has it ever struck you that we often tend to differentiate content for low achievers but inadvertently neglect to differentiate content for our high achieving and gifted students? “Differentiation” refers to teaching strategies that cater to low-achieving students’ needs. With this, teachers work to fill various deficit gaps for learners.

Many educators unknowingly concentrate on low achievers and forget high achievers. So, what can teachers do to remedy this situation? Consider these ten ways to help your high-achieving students find their passion.

1. Provide On-Going Projects

Create and encourage students to choose an ongoing classroom project when a student is finished with their work. Such projects effectively alleviate behavior trends common to exceptionally gifted learners. Try what Dubai’s International School does, the Hour of Code.

Hellen Green, a seasoned Gifted and Talented Coordinator reveals:

“Introduce a coding enrichment program... Let the students create lively, interactive and animated experiences. They can use Scratch to learn essential programming concepts, develop logic skills, and improve algorithm competence.”

“As part of the fun gaming project, students can recreate popular games Space Invaders and Pac- Man... Since gifted kids thrive in challenging environments, they’ll thoroughly enjoy the fun experience,” concludes Ms. Green.

2. Utilize Brain Teasers and Puzzles

Many high achievers have a specific trait- they love trying to solve seemingly unsolvable puzzles. Brain teasers and puzzles are viable mental challengers as they stimulate the brain to process information at a higher level.

Try using some favorite games like Math Tiling Puzzles to catapult your students to higher levels of understanding while encouraging fun!

3. Encourage the Use of Social Skills

Encourage high achievers to participate in social work (incidentally, this is often their weakest link!). Help them develop social skills like compassion and empathy in a safe environment.

Have your students write letters to patients in hospitals or soldiers serving abroad. Setting up a station in your classroom with an ongoing project like this can encourage the development of your student’s social skills.

4. Introduce Genius or Passion Projects

Allow your students to pursue personal interests while developing literacy skills. For example, have your students learn a new language on sites like Duolingo. Or encourage graphic design projects or creating YouTube videos.

Each time you foster a student’s passion, you validate their interests and bolster their self-confidence during self-exploration.

5. Encourage Virtual Networking

Connect your high-achieving students with other gifted students virtually on websites like Edmodo. Let your students connect with others in their areas of interest, such as science or the arts. Creating such connections fosters a sense of belonging.

6. Be Realistic

Don’t set the bar too high; keep your curriculum at your student’s level, even if that level is elevated for high achieving students. After all, they are still kids.

Don’t provide extra work that will require an increased awareness that a student might not have access to at home. Remember that time outside the classroom is just as valuable as the time at school. 

7. Encourage Creative Engagement

Engage your high-achieving students with softer educational pursuits. Keep them engaged with music, art, drama, dance, and programming as these all stimulate different brain areas. Give your students a chance to be creative while having fun.

8. Target Individual Weaknesses

High achieving students have deficit areas; concentrate on these weak points when seeking to support your students. You know even your best student has some stubborn weaknesses.

Surprisingly, many may struggle with handwriting or spelling issues. Others deal with athletic limitations or inadequate social skills. Encourage such students to address their varied weaknesses and find ways to turn these limitations into strengths.

9. Push for Growth Within Their Grade Level

Have you ever been tempted to give a gifted fourth-grader an assignment usually meant for fifth or sixth graders? We suggest you try something else! Consider letting your students expand out within their current grade instead.

Teach them new skills or give a varied assignment; doing so can help build new vocabulary within a relevant topic area. 

10. Foster Peer Teaching

This last tip may help you the most in the classroom. Use your high-achieving student as a peer model and tutor. If your high-achieving student is up for the task, have them help another student. Their way of teaching maybe just want the other student needs to grasp a concept. 

Final Thought

Help your high-achieving students find their passion by fostering their growing minds and thirst for knowledge.

Written by John O. Ndar
Education World Contributor
Copyright© 2022 Education World