Gifted Underachievers

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Sylvia Rimm and Linda Emerick both discuss the reversal of underachieving gifted students. Both articles address the characteristics and/or behavioral patterns of gifted underachievers as well as how the process of underachieving may be reversed. Rimm states, that “being intellectually or creatively gifted does not assure educational or creative success or productivity. There are risks and pressures that…detour potentially high-achieving children (Colangelo & Davis, 2003, p. 424).” Both authors agree that the risks and pressures that may result in underachievement include the pressure to achieve and feelings of inadequacy when goals are not attained (Emerick, 1992, p. 140). As negative experiences continue, both Rimm and Emerick agree that a poor attitude toward school and they no longer are in control over their academic future (Colangelo & Davis, 2003, p. 425, Emerick, 1992, p. 140). Due to the fact that their intelligence may no longer be evident, they are often times unrecognized or denied appropriate educational services. (Colangelo & Davis, 2003, p. 425, Emerick, 1992, p. 140). Although both authors agree that underachieving gifted students have similar characteristics and/or circumstances to which foster their attitudes, other influences such as out-of-school activities and the role of siblings are not mentioned in both articles. Emerick stresses that underachieving students may also have a strong interest in an out-of-school activity and that this interest is vital to the reversal of underachievement. According to the research study, these underachieving students maintained interest and engagement in their out-of-school activity despite their underachievement in school (Emerick, 1992, p. 142). Although Rim... ... middle of paper ... ...hieving include procrastination, incomplete assignments and careless work (Colangelo & Davis, 2003, p. 425). One of the main points stressed in Emerick’s study was the need for relevancy in the classroom. As a teacher, I think it is important to help students understand how what they are learning is relevant to their life. However, after reading Emerick’s study I think it’s important to use each student’s individual interest in relation to the content we are studying. By finding out the outside interests and incorporating those ideas into the content it may “motivate the student to learn and provide an avenue for learning various skills related to school success (Emerick, 1991, p. 140).” By creating a bridge between the content and interests, the goal is to motivate underachieving students as well as finding ways to keep other students engaged in school.
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