How to craft gifted classroom dynamics that empower students to take charge of their own learning

Holy Learning Partnerships Batman!

dynamic-duos-gifted-classroom-dynamicsBen and Jerry

PB and J

Batman and Robin

Teacher and student

Some of the best results come from great partnerships; and learning partnerships between teacher and student are absolutely essential in the gifted classroom, according to Joyce Juntune, Ph.D, who covers this in her course “Developing Learning Partnerships in the Gifted Classroom.”

Dr. Juntune is a renowned consultant, trainer, professor, and lecturer with more than 45 years of experience in the field of education. She is an instructional associate professor at Texas A&M University where she teaches graduate-level courses in her expert areas of intelligence, child and adolescent development, educational psychology, giftedness, and creativity.

Learning Partnerships Defined

parnerships-for-building-gifted-classroomsWhat exactly is a learning partnership?

It is a mutual shift in the balance of power in the classroom.

Dr. Juntune explains that learning partnerships look at the classroom dynamic as a shared learning experience, where both educator and student are asking bottomless questions as they seek to truly digest and synthesize the content together.

“The one place you absolutely must have a learning partnership is in the gifted classroom,” she says.

Rethinking the Roles of Teacher and Student

The shift to create a learning partnership is vital, but it may also be uncomfortable at first. “If you are an insecure person, do not get near any gifted kid!” says Dr. Juntune.

This discomfort happens, she says, because of how educators perceive their role. Yes, our job is to facilitate learning, but that is a very different job from merely teaching. Teaching is set up as a process of “I know. I tell. You listen. Now you know.”

Facilitating learning is different because it changes the purpose of being in the classroom from spouting information to co-learning, because, guess what, we are all curious!

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

gifted-classroom-learning-partnershipsDr. Juntune shares that the great temptation for educators is to “own” their class content by presenting their class as the exhaustive total of learning that can ever be done on a subject, rather than admitting (or perhaps even realizing) that they will only be scratching the surface.

This “education-god complex” is a particular pitfall when educators have spent a number of years teaching the same grade or subject. If your lesson plans are on an annual “cut-and-paste” schedule, it’s time to wake up to the mysteries that await you in your class content. It’s never too late to start fresh and get excited about delving even deeper into the subjects you teach. Your students will jump into the journey with you.

Embrace the vision of Robert Frost: “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”

Teachers aren’t the only ones working in this learning partnership

curiosity-in-gifted-classroom-dynamicsIt takes two. Students have a basic and vital role, but must  learn how to embrace it as well. Dr. Juntune gives practical tips for guiding students to follow their own curiosity and take the initiative in their learning with skills like:

  • Setting high expectations for themselves
  • Developing decision making skills
  • Honing the skill of estimating time
  • Learning to plan ahead
  • Understanding their own patterns and interests

Once the partnership is established, and both the teacher and students are engaged in learning, gifted students are unstoppable.

“So here is our job in a learning partnership, point them in the right direction and get out of their way. You are facilitating the learner; you just get them on the path, point them in the direction, and then stand aside and let them do the learning. You direct the jazz ensemble of learning in your classroom but you don’t insist on playing every instrument.”

Get the skills and strategies that help gifted students to be successful in learning partnerships

Are you ready to integrate learning partnerships in your gifted classroom? In this 3-hour course you will learn how to:

  • Foster curiosity in your gifted students
  • Actively engage them by inviting their input
  • Tie lessons to their interests

By the end of the three, one-hour modules, you’ll have a working knowledge of these basic skills and how they apply to learning partnerships with your gifted students:

  • Decision making
  • Time estimation
  • Planning and organization

start developing learning partnerships

Delivering Quality Training – No Matter Where You Are

Did you know that this course is mobile ready? That means you can complete the course on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, or any other mobile device!

Photos courtesy of Flickr via Shed On The Moon, Sahaja Meditation, Alain Wibert, & Jaetographer