How do gifted children learn? To most of us, the curiosity of how these children learn tend to fascinate us as we try to replicate their learning strategies with underachieving students. While we are generally aware that gifted children’s learning styles differ significantly from lower achievers, most of us do not know that both groups do not fare well if they are exposed to similar methods.
Interestingly, when researchers studied gifted teenagers across nine diverse cultures (athletics, arts, dance, leadership, literature, mathematics and music), those of a common talent, instead of cultures, show similarities in learning styles. In other words, students with similar talents from different cultures had greater learning similarity than those of a different talent but of the same culture.
Boys vs Girls
Generally, it was found that the there were differences of learning styles between genders. Boys prefer kinesthetic learning styles, likes freedom and are more non-conforming and peer-motivated than girls. They usually rely on visual learning style as the next dominant learning style.
Girls, on the other hand, tend to rely on auditory learning style, and are more conforming, quiet, authority-oriented and able to sit passively during lessons. They also need more silence while learning.
Do note that many children change their learning styles frequently as they grow older. Yet, there are some who hardly deviate from their original learning style as they mature.
Preferences for a particular social setting also changes as one matures over time. Generally, most young children are motivated due to the presence of an adult such as a parent or a teacher. Many become peer-motivated when they reach 11 or 12 years of age. Self-motivation comes in at the age of 15. Gifted children , on the other hand, become self-motivated by the age of 7 and do not depend on peers for motivation. Underachievers depend on peers for motivation earlier than most children and will remain that way after they have long pass adolescence.
For most people, motivation fluctuates daily and depends on class or the teacher taking them. For the average child, the first period for nonconformity usually starts at 2 years of age and lasts less than a year while the second period is around the age of 12-16. Underachievers and some gifted children remain non-conforming until they graduate and enter their adulthood.
It is no secret that most young children learn through kinesthetic moments. In fact, research indicated that less than 12% of these preschoolers are auditory learners and less than 40% are visual learners. When most children become older, their auditory and visual skills develop. However, there are some who do not develop the above skills and thus, tend to do poorly in school. If these underachievers are taught the way they learn, they will do very well in school later on.