Are ‘Gifted and Talented’ pupils put under too much pressure?

by Sonia

Zinnia hits the books
Zinnia hits the books

Gifted and talented students, achieving over the average grade, are thought to have it easy but do they really?
The stereotypical idea is that life is easier for clever kids, they do not have to work hard for good grades and generally they breeze through exams, but gifted and talented students are generally put under too much pressure from teachers and parents, who believe that the can achieve more.

In an interview done with a gifted and talented student I asked if there workload is much more that an average students as well as if they felt that they were under pressure from teachers and parents? Here is the response:

“Yes, I think that because my teachers think I’m cleverer they give me more work to do because they think I can complete it easily, or I will find the work easy and complete it quicker so they give me more work. My parents also think I can achieve more, like if I come home and say that I got 37 out of 50 in an exam they’ll want me to get higher and they really put me under pressure because I feel that I still have to work harder to get higher marks to impress them. ”

I also asked what type of work they were doing in class at the moment and found out that in most of the classes even though they were in year 9 they were doing work that a typical year 10 and 11 GCSE class do.

“It’s like you’re not doing year 9 work in year 9. Especially in maths, were doing year 11 work and it’s hard but you feel stupid if you put hand up to ask for help because the other people in your class get what they have to do, and it’s like the teachers expect you not to put your hand up for help anyway because you’re a top set.”

However, when interviewing a teacher i was told that:

“ I assign homework because there is no way that I can give each student enough time in class to practice everything they need in order to be good at it. I can’t sit with each individual student, but a parent might be able to, or might be able to assign an older sibling to do so. However, parents won’t know if a child is having difficulty unless the child tells them, which they often don’t, or without seeing them struggle on homework”

As well as this, it has been proven that more intelligent pupils are more likely to take illegal drugs in later life because they need to cope with the stress they are being put under.

With this link proven, we can see that putting clever students under too much pressure is not good for them mentally. If we were to expect the same of them that we do of other students it would benefit them as they would be less stressed and happier.

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