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The Teacher's Corner: January 

When Teaching is More Than a Class

I stopped a former student in the hallway the other day to ask how he was doing. He proceeded to tell me at length about his Math class, the success of the Robotics Club, and the anticipation of the newest installment of the Star Trek franchise. I clearly remembered the shy 7th grader who spent 2 months researching the best digital camera to buy, and who also needed some help in organizing his homework assignments. He is now a senior in the High School, doing quite well. Just yesterday I received an e-mail from a former student, who recently chose to pursue a Master’s Degree in Engineering. I thought of the excited 8th grader who was astounded by the principles of circuitry. I wished him well.

Conversations like this happen quite often. Present and former students love talking about their lives; interests, fears, hopes, goals, and dreams. The monotony of daily classes is lost when students are allowed to discover who they are as individuals. Sharing personal anecdotes or relating a lesson to real world experiences helps to bridge the gap between content and social and emotional development. Teachers, especially during the middle school years, often need to begin the conversation. Simply asking “How’s it going” can open up the line of communication between teacher and student.

There are a variety of ways to incorporate Social and Emotional issues both into and outside of the classroom. Simple conversations are one way, and perhaps the simplest form, but others can take place as an entire curriculum. In the most recent issue of Teaching for High Potential, I tried to highlight some of NAGC’s most important resources for understanding and enriching the Social and Emotional Development of Gifted and Talented students. I encourage you to explore the following resources.

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