Provision for More Able Learners
Once high potential learners have been identified, the most pressing question for teachers is how to ensure that school provision meets their needs, not only to maximise their educational outcomes, but also to nurture their social and emotional well-being.
Most of a child’s time in school is spent in the classroom, so it is essential that the provision provides them with opportunities for challenge, to go outside their comfort zone, to take intellectual risks, and to build resilience; as well as being inspired to learn.
Supporting High Potential Learners in the School Environment
High potential learners need support because they often lack regular challenge, meaning they do not practise learning skills that are essential for success. There are also some sensory, social, emotional or special needs issues that affect learning and can also lead to underachievement if not addressed. This advice sheet is aimed at teachers, teaching assistants and more able lead teachers/coordinators in primary and secondary phases. It covers why high potential learners need support and what kind of support is needed.
IEP/Challenge Plan for a High Potential Learner (Student Interview Proforma)
This advice sheet provides teachers and others within the education environment with a template to use when developing an IEP or Challenge Plan for a high potential learner. This form can be used by Lead Teachers or those with responsibility for high potential learners as a basis for a conversation with the student.
Example IEP/Challenge Plan for a High Potential Learner
This advice sheet provides teachers and others within the education environment with an example of an IEP or Challenge Plan for a high potential learner. It can be used by Lead Teachers or those with responsibility for high potential learners as a basis to develop similar plans for their own students.
Teachers Developing Talent
What characteristics does a teacher need to develop talent in young people? This advice sheet looks at what qualities teachers who naturally develop talent have and what can be done to increase motivation in students.
Helping Students to Develop Self-regulation Skills
Self-regulation is the process of taking control of one’s learning through planning, monitoring and evaluating. This advice sheet is based on information from the University of Connecticut’s Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. It is aimed at teachers and other educators.
Handwriting Difficulties and Ways to Demonstrate Learning in the Classroom
Pupils who have difficulty with handwriting can sometimes be misunderstood in school, especially if their ability and achievement are being assessed in written work and tests. If they have difficulty expressing their ideas, opinions and knowledge on paper, it might be assumed that they have little knowledge or have not learned from the lesson. It is important for these pupils to have opportunities to also present their knowledge in other ways. This advice sheet is aimed at teachers and others in an educational setting to suggest ways that this might be addressed.
Tackling Underachievement in the Secondary Phase
High potential learners in secondary school are often at risk of underachievement because of their different pace of learning, particular learning style, barriers to learning or social isolation. In order to combat these problem areas, five types of support have proven to be effective for high potential learners. This advice sheet is aimed at teachers and senior leadership team members in secondary schools and it shows how these types of support can be provided in the secondary school setting.
Motivating More Able Students to Learn
This advice sheet highlights some of the reasons why high potential learners struggle with motivation. To try to increase the motivation of high ability students eight strategies are suggested for teachers to try in the classroom. It is aimed at teachers in both the primary and secondary phases.
In addition to classroom-based activities, many more able students welcome and benefit from the challenge provided by specific opportunities that can be offered beyond the classroom.
Schools can organise activities for more able children to work together in a pull-out session within a year group or from several year groups, offer an open after-school/lunchtime activity that will be of particular interest to more able learners – such as a chess, creative writing or science club – or get together with other local schools to run an enrichment activity for more able learners.
As well as organising these kinds of opportunities themselves, schools may be able to tap into events offered by outside organisations or local universities. They can also keep parents and carers informed about other opportunities beyond the classroom.
It is essential for more able learners to be challenged with an appropriate curriculum. These learners are usually characterised by picking up concepts and making connections very quickly, and so need opportunities to embed their learning through the application of rich and sophisticated problems and tasks, rather than ‘more of the same’. Teachers have a huge impact on the learning experience of these students by ensuring that the curriculum provides both depth and breadth of learning. Sometimes it may be appropriate to introduce topics from later year groups or for students to work alongside older children.
Thinking Skills (Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy)
Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) are types of learning that are thought to require more cognitive processing and have more generalised benefits than other, Lower Order Thinking Skills (LOTS). Bloom’s Taxonomy sets out different cognitive processes from lower to higher order skills, and are helpful to use as a way of setting work for students that challenges them at all levels. This advice sheet is aimed at More Able Lead Teachers and Teachers at all phases of education. It outlines the different types of thinking skills and the kinds of questions and tasks that can be set for students at each skill level.
Enquiry-based learning gives students the opportunity to ask questions and investigate topics through researching and finding out for themselves. It encourages more able students to learn at their own pace: building upon their existing knowledge by starting at their own point of understanding or awareness. This advice sheet covers what enquiry-based learning is, the benefits for more able students and how to go about facilitating enquiry-based learning.
A confident, happy, thriving student; working towards his or her potential, is what every good school aims to nurture, support and educate. Sometimes, however, high potential learners can seem in more need of social and emotional support than other children their age. If these needs are not recognised and supported, high potential learners may find it difficult to achieve both academic success and emotional well-being at school.
Here are some common reasons why a high potential learner may benefit from pastoral support:
Transition to secondary school
Transition into secondary school can be both daunting and exciting. High potential learners can be particularly sensitive to change so extra care should be taken to ensure that the practical and emotional needs of these students are understood and met. This advice sheet will help you prepare for the arrival of HLP students and help give you the ability to meet their needs with confidence.
Social and emotional development
Educating happy, well-rounded and successful pupils is important for every teacher. As social and emotional problems can appear frequently among high potential learners, this advice sheet looks at the cause of these and offers some advice on dealing with them in the classroom.
The child is ‘out of sync’ with his or her intellectual maturity (asynchronous development)
Asynchronous development, whereby a child appears to be ‘wise beyond their years’ but in many ways is still very immature, has been described as the defining characteristic of high potential learners. This advice sheet explores the issues relating to Asynchronous Development in children with high learning potential and provides useful strategies and clear guidance to teachers on how to support pupils who are developing asynchronously.
Perfectionism and the fear of failure are common traits among high potential learners that can impact negatively on their education and prevent them from maximising their potential. This advice sheet focuses on how teachers can help high potential learners overcome perfectionism, the fear of failure and how to encourage them to attempt more challenging tasks.
Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy
This advice sheet explains the levels of questioning, gives question cues and example activities for all levels of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analysing, Evaluating and Creating.
Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy
This advice sheet shows how each of the levels of thinking skills in Bloom’s Taxonomy can be applied to activities using digital media.
Questioning for Challenge
This advice sheet shows how questioning can be used for extension activities, using Six Types of Socratic Questions by R M Paul and Five Types of Questions by Leslie Owen Wilson.
Collaborative and group activities are proven to benefit the educational achievement of high potential learners. This is a resource of collaborative challenges to use in the classroom.
This is a resource of over 20 different activities to provide extension and challenge in the classroom.
Higher Order Activity Examples
There are four different sets of examples to give guidance on types of activities that can be used to extend higher order thinking and verbal skills in the classroom.