Gifted children in rural and remote schools can often face additional challenges. This may include feeling forced to choose between either working alone at their own advanced level or working at a lower level in order to blend in with their peers and be part of the social group.
Support and guidance
Where this 'forced choice' occurs it is important that parents work with teachers to provide support and guidance and encourage a sense of belonging and development of their child’s potential.
Some options that parents can explore with teachers include:
- finding a mentor who shares your child's passions. Mentors can be within the community or could be a trusted person who could communicate online with your child
- finding an opportunity where your child can share their expert knowledge with others and thus contribute to other's learning. For example: a young IT 'whiz' (expert) helps older students or teachers with IT issues: sharing musical or athletic skills with others in the community, etc.
- for at least some time each week, organising for your gifted child to be with others (possibly online) who share similar interests or strengths in learning. Being the only gifted student in a class can be isolating and cast doubts within the student about his or her place in the world - 'Am I weird and wrong to be striving to achieve at such a different level to my peers?'.
It is important that children who are gifted and living in a rural or remote community have their interests listened to, respected and encouraged, even though they may be outside those readily available in a small community.