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The Underachieving Gifted Child: Recognizing, Understanding, and Reversing Underachievement Paperback – October 1, 2012
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About the Author
Del Siegle, Ph.D., is an associate professor and teaching fellow in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, where he teaches graduate courses in gifted education, creativity, and research design. He is president of the National Association of Gifted Children and also serves on the board of directors of The Association for the Gifted (CEC-TAG). He authors a technology column for Gifted Child Today. Siegle’s research interests include Web-based instruction, student motivation, and teacher bias in the identification of students for gifted programs. He currently serves as the coeditor of the Journal of Advanced Academics.
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Many teachers see underachieving as a lack of giftedness or even rebellion. If this was required reading for all of our educators, they would be able identify and help these gifted children flourish! Why our educational systems don't require this knowledge is beyond me, but I am glad it is at least available!
With its use of easy to read language, this book present ideas, research, and theories in a way that is simple for parents and teachers to understand while not compromising the depth of the information covered. The ideas flow in a logical progression from chapter to chapter making this a quite enjoyable read. The strategies discussed in the book could be implemented in either a classroom or home environment. Many times the author notes ways in which both the school and parent can encourage underachieving gifted students.
A major focus of the book is Sylvia Rimm's Trifocal Model. This model, which is implemented over 6 months, has been quite successful in reversing underachievement in gifted learners. The Achievement Orientation Model is also discussed. Other topics that related to giftedness and underachievement are discussed including defining underachievement, perfectionism, and how to make learning more meaningful.
The author takes the time to make distinctions between effort and ability and the various ways in which different students underachieve. There are also some strategies aimed at preventing underachievement such as the proactive step of teaching gifted children that their abilities are developed as opposed to simply being innate and the necessity of challenging young gifted children in the classroom so that they have the chance to learn study skills and how to approach a challenge early. Overall, this is a fantastic resource for parents and educators of gifted students at all grade levels.
Kudos to the author for clearly explaining this overlooked niche and providing constructive ideas and practical approaches that increase the book's value. I wish my parents and teachers had this material before they launched me into decades of institutionalized education. Particularly recommended for professional and aspiring teachers, motivated parents of bright children, and inquiring administrators.