If you are a class teacher, then chances are that you have dealt with at least one Twice Exceptional (2e) student. Although the chances of having a student like this is fairly high in class, the awareness of the needs of these students is less high.
Twice Exceptional students often display “exceptional” abilities such as giftedness and disabilities such as Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, or (DCD). To improve teaching quality for Twice Exceptional students teachers can increase their understanding, break content down, monitor progress and utilize specific resources.
This article aims to provide teachers with strategies and resources for teaching 2e (twice exceptional students) in the classroom and the home.
First Understand the Characteristics of Students With Twice Exceptionality
- The first step in teaching Twice Exceptional students is to understand their characteristics. In most cases, there is no physical sign that points to a student’s twice-exceptional status. This is why the parent or the teacher can misconstrue the child as lazy, stubborn, or simply defiant.
- Generally, a teacher should look for a noticeable gap in achievement between academic grades and standardized test scores. Many twice-exceptional students display above-average intelligence in standardized test scores but significantly below-average achievement in the classroom.
- Furthermore, some of these students may display unresponsiveness to their academic environment and some may have difficulty with social skills such as initiating conversations or making friends. Again, it is worth noting that the traits of twice-exceptional students may vary depending on where their giftedness or disabilities lies.
- So basically, the most common trait is the large discrepancy between standardized test scores and academic performance. It’s one of the best indicators you may be dealing with a twice-exceptional student.
- Additional clues include a large discrepancy between subject performances. For example, the student might perform above average in mathematics but below average in history, language, and science.
- The root of these problems may be genetic related or simply a behavioral challenge. For example, Sometimes the problem is anxiety issues due to high expectations placed upon them by parents or teachers, perfectionism, impulse control issues, especially when completing homework assignments independently; these can all contribute to a student’s twice-exceptional status.
If a student exhibits these problems, then the teacher should consider molding a teaching strategy suitable for the child.
Use all available resources to teach the twice exceptional student
One of the biggest challenges for teachers is to develop appropriate teaching tools that address each weakness area of twice-exceptionality. This means the teacher needs to collaborate with other teachers that teach subjects in which the twice-exceptional student performs best.
If the child performs excellently in mathematics and poorly in the rest, it would be necessary for subject teachers involved in teaching this particular learning area to provide direct assistance. They should at least work closely together and communicate regularly on how they can best help the child.
In some cases, the results might be astonishing. For example, the results could show that music lessons make the child tick or visual expression such as drama makes the child alert. Regardless of the outcome, there must be something the child finds interesting and makes him perform excellently in one subject area.
The teachers need to try different strategies that include charts for visual learners, music for auditory learners, physical activity such as modeling for kinesthetic learners, and oral reading for verbal learning. If all these strategies fail, then move to the next step.
Breaking the content into manageable parts
There is a possibility that twice-exceptional students cannot understand the content presented in class. This problem could be due to the speed of teaching, the complexity of the language used, or even pressure.
Some of these students are par excellence brilliant but may suffer anxiety or frustration when forced with too much work. In such cases, it would be necessary for teachers to break down the subject into smaller parts and create a manageable learning plan that can help students learn independently at their own pace.
For example, if you are a history teacher and your 2e student has dyslexia, making them have trouble reading long novels, please break down the book into short stories.
Also, please select a certain number of keywords used very often to help students become familiar with the topic at hand and use them later on when reading the same content.
Allow more time for the student to complete their work
This step is probably one of the essential things a teacher can do when teaching twice-exceptional students. Allowing more time is necessary because sometimes, even with modified content and creative ways in which teachers structure learning materials for these children, they still may struggle.
Perhaps, it takes the student too long to process information or understand what they have been taught, which is counterproductive, especially in a classroom where the teacher assumes all students are equal. This could also be caused by parents’ pressure on having high grades.
Regardless of whether a child understands all concepts presented in class or if language issues such as dyslexia make reading longer documents difficult. In any case, the only thing a teacher could offer here is patience and understanding.
Study skills need to be built up from scratch and not through stressful situations during exam periods where everything seems like an obstacle rather than a positive challenge.
Monitor Progress Of Twice Exceptional Students frequently
Teaching twice-exceptional students requires patience and understanding on behalf of teachers, especially when dealing with such challenging cases as Autism, dyslexia, ADD, and ADHD, among others. This means Monitoring progress frequently is essential to see student’s growth.
Assumptions based on grades alone are invalid because such examinations do not always reveal students’ capabilities and progress.
Try to assess students by using different methods such as oral exams and performing specific tasks that require creativity. If these strategies fail, then perhaps there could be a need for child psychologists and other specialists who might give the correct diagnosis of what’s going on with the student.
Every twice-exceptional child learns differently from others due to their unique personality traits and conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD/ADD, anxiety disorder, etc.
Teachers face all possible hurdles when teaching twice-exceptional students. But they must not lose patience; neither should parents because, in most cases, children are bright enough to learn complex concepts if appropriately taught in an environment where everyone works together towards achieving one goal: success.
More information on Twice exceptionality.
Details on the stigma Twice exceptional students can face.