Tag Archives: advocacy

Advocacy and the Gifted Teenager

By Min-Ling Li

Min-Ling is IEA’s Apprenticeship Program Coordinator. She joined IEA after teaching high school mathematics in Los Angeles. Her dedication to supporting high-potential students is rooted in her own experiences as a student who struggled to find outlets that nurtured her intellectual and social dispositions.

Meeting the academic needs of gifted teenagers requires a

Meeting the academic needs of gifted teenagers requires discussion, planning, and cooperation.

Amelia is a 10th grader who attends a small private school in Northern California. She enjoys singing and dancing, as well as reading about the universe and diving into the intricacies of supernovae. Amelia is self-motivated but often finds that her school and the courses offered do not satisfy her curiosity in the arts, math, and sciences. The content to learn within her school is often shallow, and completing assignments of knowledge-gathering is baffling to her, as she can find the answer with taps on a keyboard and Wikipedia. She despises memorization. Amelia is respectful. With that said, she follows her enthusiastic and inspiring teachers as they “cover material” which she masters quickly. Amelia is an example of a gifted child within “American schools [that] pledge to educate everyone and expose students to a wide variety of topics” (Davidson, 2004). Amelia’s needs are oftentimes overlooked.

Providing safe and nurturing learning environments for gifted students is often difficult when the student seeks services within educational spaces that are not aware of the needs of gifted youngsters. As the coordinator for a gifted program and a teacher of general education students, I have gained knowledge and experience from my interactions with teenagers. Being an advocate is pivotal in my responsibility to offer the best learning environment for gifted students.

Read about advocating for gifted teens!

Small Steps

van_gogh-great_things_small_things2Last week, IEA’s staff members met for a two-day retreat. The retreat was filled with fun, laughter, and collaboration as we participated in teambuilding activities, discussed our programs and the organization, and planned for the coming year. To start the retreat, each team member shared a quote she brought to inspire the group.

Here are some of those quotes:

“The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.” – Thomas Merton

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vince Lombardi

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

As we looked at the quotes and listened to why each person chose that quote, we found a few themes: We are all here to make a difference. The issue we are addressing – the importance of meeting the needs of gifted children – is a big issue, and we encounter many barriers in working towards that goal. However, that goal is worthy of every ounce of our time and attention, and the small steps we take to get there are powerful and important. Every small step we take impacts a life, and every life we impact impacts the world. That is why we are all here.

Over the rest of the retreat, we talked specifically about the small – and sometimes large – steps IEA will take over the coming year to support the needs of gifted children across the country, steps that included everything from school outreach to parent support to enhanced program offerings.

All of us in the gifted community can take small steps to work towards a world in which our gifted children are understood, celebrated, and supported. Please join us as we take necessary steps towards that worthwhile goal.