Welcome to a collection of thoughts, questions and interesting links relating to giftedness ..............
You may also like to check out my website where you will find more information for children, parents and teachers.

Monday, January 23, 2012

How do you tame a lion?

And what has that to do with education?

Both literally and figuratively, ‘taming a lion’ means approaching something intimidating and powerful and by the use of strategy and your wits, disarming the beast.Advocating for your gifted child can feel a little like ‘taming a lion’, at least initially. Parents often feel some degree of intimidation stepping across the threshold into the school to discuss their child. But with strategy and a degree of intuition, you can 'tame' the situation and bring about a positive outcome.   
Just as with a real lion, building trust is a critical element in the ‘taming’. The most important thing a parent can do is to establish a positive relationship with the teacher of their child. If a child is gifted, this can become even more important. You can build this trust by introducing yourself and then being visible over time. Teachers will be more receptive to parents they are familiar with, when they know what to expect. If you can’t be there face to face, keep in contact with your child’s teacher. Give them feedback when things are going well, tell them about the positives.
If you can, help out in the classroom. It has the added advantage of letting your observe your child in the classroom and the dynamics in action. Consider volunteering to help with reading or other activities, helping the teacher with ‘non-teaching’ tasks like displaying student work, collating materials or even doing errands. You might consider volunteering to go along on an excursion or camps or be involved in preparing for performances.

Just as taming a lion doesn’t happen overnight, your (positive) relationship with the teacher will develop over time. But it can make a huge difference. No-one wants to get their head bitten off, neither the teacher nor the parent!
One parent summed it up neatly with her comment:
You can’t expect the school to go out of their way for you without giving them something back. The relationship has to be two way.”

You will find more Tips for Talking to Teachers in  Derrin's forthcoming book Gifted and Thriving at school: How Proactive parents can get the education that fits their child, which will be available at the end of February. 

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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