Building Your Gifted Learner: Throw Your Plans out the Window

Though there are a multitude of diverse approaches to instruction, building your gifted learner takes a special kind of architect; especially since a gifted learner will probably want to build himself. Keep in mind your goals, but you’re going to have to be flexible enough to expand your ideas and share in the construction of this creation. Eventually, you may just find yourself throwing your plans out the window and watching your child create his own design.


Traditional learner-Like a traditional home, you know what to expect and can understand how everything fits together. As an architect of learning, you can find a traditional setting or curriculum that works for most traditional learners, follow the directions, and you’re set.


I’ve taught many of these students in the classroom. I thought it was curious that they seemed to see me as the person in charge of their learning. Giving them back their ownership of learning was often met with resistance and confusion. They were used to following directions, not creating their own blueprints for learning.


Gifted learners are rarely traditional.


Traditional learners don’t ask many questions.
Traditional learners don’t get bored as easily.
Traditional learners  take guidance and direction well.
Traditional learners are comfortable being told what to do and how to do it.
Traditional learners are relatively content with the materials and direction you give them.


If you’re reading this, you probably don’t have a traditional learner.


Gifted learner- Face it, you’re building a mansion. It has a 4 car garage, swimming pool, tennis courts, a library with a secret passage, and hey,(why not)…a staff to help you run it. If you build your dream mansion, you’ll want to move around the layout, add those special touches for extra appeal, and do it your way. That’s a gifted learner. They have big dreams and if you’re not busy supporting those dreams, you’re getting out of the way. Greatness takes patience and a change in plans whenever something isn’t working well.


Gifted learners are noticeable in the classroom. They ooze “different”. Whether they are resistant to learning or not, they always want to create their own worlds and design who gets to live there. They may be unsure and need support, but they realize that the building is their own. I just wish education in the classroom worked for them more often than not.


I’m finding the same with my own gifted son. Though he still needs my support, my guidance, and reminders of the parameters, he’s working through building his own life and I’m okay with that. I have to be; it’s my role. It’s his life.


Gifted learners ask lots of questions.
Gifted learners get bored easily.
Gifted learners want/need a lot more independence.
Gifted learners crave a self-directed style though they still need your support and guidance.
Gifted learners want to know more- whether it’s through breadth or depth.


So, how do you build a gifted learner?

You don’t.

You’re the architect.



“Architects are involved from the earliest stages of a building project, which can start with developing ideas with the client, establishing budgets, assessing the needs of the building and its users, and its impact within the local environment.

They assist with site selection and work closely with contractors on site, ensuring that works are carried out to specific standards and that, above all, the building is sustainable, functional and aesthetically pleasing.” – Prospects

You’re only the architect.


Your job is to help design the plan to fit your child’s needs. You design the parameters (whether you’re choosing a gifted school, identifying online resources, or setting up a mentorship). You are part of the construction. You can help to improve or tear down your child, so don’t think that you’re handing over the keys to the kingdom. You’re there for advice, conservation, and to gather the resources to get the job done right. Your child is the one who decides on how the finished project will turn out. You’re only the guide.


You’re not the only one in charge. Involve your child in the process. Encourage his independence while you oversee the details and let your child build his dream.



This post has been added to
Educating Gifted Children: The Many Ways We Approach Their Learning Blog Hop from GHF.  Keep hopping!

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9 thoughts on “Building Your Gifted Learner: Throw Your Plans out the Window

  1. “You can help to improve or tear down your child, so don’t think that you’re handing over the keys to the kingdom.”

    Yes! It’s so important to guide from a spirit of kindness and with the desire to empower our learners. Love this. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the architect analogy. It does feel like that most of the time – finding the right tools so they can create what they imagine. (And for my architecture-mad son it’s also the literal truth).

    Liked by 1 person

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