Personalising learning - extending gifted and highly able students

Our schools are working with parents and the Tasmanian community to provide gifted and highly able students with extended learning opportunities. These opportunities ensure these students are provided with an appropriate level of challenge and enrichment to engage them with lifelong learning that will help them reach their full potential.

Just like any group of learners, gifted students have different strengths and needs across learning, social and emotional domains. Research shows that without learning programmes to support them, gifted students are at high risk of under-achieving, disengaging from learning and developing emotional and behavioural problems.

What will be an effective learning programme will vary, depending on the student’s individual profile of strengths and needs. Below is just one example of personalising learning for a fictional gifted student – Rhys.

Example: Personalising learning for Rhys 

Rhys is a Year 4 student who has very poor handwriting skills, which his teacher and parents find difficult to decipher. He is very reluctant to write in class and appears disorganised, disengaged and isolated at school.

Rhys’s teacher spoke with his parents and found out that Rhys’s fine motor control was excellent when he was using very small components to build Lego constructions – an activity that he is passionate about at home. He was also able to use a computer keyboard effectively.

His teacher built on Rhys’s strengths and started having him complete written tasks using technology and engaged him with a school robotics extension programme for slightly older students.

Rhys’s parents hadn’t realised he was having difficulty socialising with other students so began taking him to a local soccer group to learn how to work with students his own age as part of a team.

These changes resulted in Rhys:

  • feeling more confident at school
  • loving participating in the Robotics programme where his learning development was being stretched
  • becoming more organised and settled in the classroom
  • demonstrating his high level of capability in other areas of the curriculum 
  • being able to go back to his handwriting tasks with a more focused approach
  • feeling more relaxed with his peer groups and making friends more easily.

Supporting gifted and highly able students

To enable schools to support gifted and highly able students, the department provides a professional learning programme for teachers as well as extended learning opportunities for students.

Through its eLearning Programmes, the department provides a range of extended online learning courses for students called the Centre for Extended Learning Opportunities (CELO) Online. These courses are facilitated by award-winning teachers and are designed specifically to meet gifted students’ need for challenging content; complex, authentic learning tasks; and opportunities to work with like-minded peers. For more information, see the infosheet about CELO Online.

For teachers, a professional learning programme called Gifted Insight is provided through the Professional Learning Institute. This programme gives teachers insight into the unique educational, social and emotional needs of gifted and highly able students and provides research-based strategies to meet those needs.

Participating teachers learn how to; identify giftedness in students; use strategies that effectively extend the level of challenge in every day curriculum-based learning tasks; and develop their knowledge of the range of enrichment opportunities available.

An associated online professional learning community provides ongoing support and information for teachers working with gifted and highly able students.

For more information about gifted and highly able students, see the brochure Gifted Students.

Tasmania’s Government schools are supporting all learners in all schools through personalising learning.
Some learners have greater support needs and comprehensive programmes are providing all students with access to a full range of education opportunities.
Discover more about the support available…

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