Sounded simple enough, except that this was (again) something completely new to me. I was there to share the lessons I’d learned advocating for my gifted kids, but I was stumped. How do I explain advocacy to both kids and parents at the same time?
Then I came across these:
Just as we don’t expect every child, or every person for that matter, to wear the same shoe size, we shouldn’t expect that one size fits all when it comes to the learning needs for students of any given grade or age.
We don’t ask kids to endure the physical pain of wearing ill-fitting shoes; we, as the adults who care for them, periodically check in with them to see if they have the right fit because we recognize that they may experience long-term harm from always wearing poorly fitting shoes. Likewise, we shouldn’t expect them to endure a poor fit in their daily learning environment; according to The Curriculum Compacting Study from the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT), the consequences can be troublesome:
“Students who already know the material or who can master it in a fraction of the time it takes other students face boredom, inattentiveness, underachievement, and may become discipline problems. Worse yet, they never learn how to work or study because everything they encounter in school is often too easy for them.”
Just as we teach them how to let us know if they feel they are outgrowing their shoes, we need to let kids know that it is okay to tell us if their educational fit isn’t right. By our example, we can teach them self-advocacy strategies that are respectful, appropriate and effective.
And eventually, we can empower them to advocate for the fit they know is right for them.