Among the students presently enrolled with us there are approximately 11% who I would term as exceptionally able, bright learners. These are children who achieve across the curriculum and distinguish themselves academically both in school and externally (NAPLAN, ICAS). A significant percentage of our senior students would also fit this description.
Highly able students require different skills from their tutor. They learn more quickly than their peers and often need a more rapid instructional pace. Because they can deal with a higher degree of difficulty, the expectation is that their content, the processes they use, and the end product should be more complex, more abstract and more open ended than appropriate for many of their peers.
However, because highly able learners achieve with relative ease, many have not learned how to study hard, take risks and strive. This is why appropriate instruction is so important. This does not include asking them to do things they already know how to do. Reading more books that are too easy or doing more math problems that have ceased being a challenge are killers of motivation and interest. There must be the expectation for each child to stretch and grow with their progress and growth measured against competition with themselves rather than others.
Teachers need to be flexible and reflective and have the capacity to extend even the most capable mind. My tutors and I thoroughly enjoy teaching these children and endeavour to stimulate and challenge them.
A Grade 8 boy, a student in 2014, showed us very quickly to be one of the brightest students we had seen. However, while doing well at school, he never excelled, perhaps because he was not personally competitive. This fellow became interested in computer programming and his tutor was able to share with him some Grade 11 Maths C work relevant to his programming. All students bring specific challenges, not least these exceptional young people.