Teacher Kevin McDonald San Rafael explains why schools should offer gifted and talented programs for kids.
NOVATO, CA Tailoring educational programs to individual children’s needs is part of leading them toward success. Kevin McDonald of San Rafael is an esteemed teacher with experience teaching math, science, language arts, and history. He has developed full curriculums for these topics and has put together several Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) units.
Kevin McDonald San Rafael explains that gifted and talented programs can have great success when implemented properly. In fact, he states GATE options should be an essential part of every school system. Kevin McDonald San Rafael would like to emphasize that separate GATE classes are just one option schools can offer.
He believes that parents should have the option to have their kids in GATE classes if they choose, but schools can also do GATE clusters within classes. Kevin McDonald San Rafael explains more and more teachers are finding that strategies that were developed for GATE students benefit all students because they emphasize the need to make connections across disciplines. Students might study what Greek civilization contributed to science, math, literature, art, and history and make connections between these disciplines.
Kevin McDonald San Rafael explains that gifted and talented programs give students a better chance to reach their full potential. He states that while it can be difficult to satisfy the needs of all students at one time, strategies like depth and complexity can allow students to respond to the same material at different academic levels.
“When presented with more difficult assignments, GATE students tend to push themselves more toward success,” Kevin McDonald San Rafael says.
Kevin McDonald San Rafael explains that a classroom implementing gifted and talented strategies may present the entire classroom with an assignment to write biographies. While the majority of the class writes about one influential person, the GATE students may be asked to write about two influential people and compare their similarities and differences. Kevin McDonald San Rafael explains this is just one example of how GATE strategies can be implemented for a portion of students in the same classroom. He explains this is advantageous in many school settings as an entirely new GATE class doesn’t necessarily have to be formed.
“Another major advantage of GATE programs is that research has shown a true link between advanced students who are enrolled in gifted and talented programs versus those who are not exposed to the opportunity,” Kevin McDonald San Rafael says.
Kevin McDonald San Rafael states several studies have shown that a significantly higher percentage of those enrolled in gifted programs in high school obtain doctoral degrees. Although, he adds that academic success isn’t the only factor leading to future success.
“The point isn’t that gifted and talented students are going to more successful than others,” Kevin McDonald San Rafael describes. “It’s a concept of offering all students the tools they need to reach their full academic potential.”