Organizational Skills and Gifted Students
Frequently parents and teachers complain that gifted students lack organizational skills. In fact, it is the lack of these skills that often hold students back.
The National Association for Gifted Children has an interesting article titled Organization Skills
It suggests possible reasons why a gifted child may appear to lack organization.
- He doesn't see a reason to participate appropriately at school.
- She has missed some basic foundation skills along the way.
- The student has a subtle learning disability.
- It may be a sign of perfectionism.
There are many reasons for lack of organization, but none of them should be used as an excuse for poor school performance. It is vital that parents help students to overcome this problem. How the child views the situation will make a difference in the best way to approach the problem. In this article, suggestions are given that get student buy-in in deciding methods that may improve organization.
When a child tries a new method for organization, the method must come from the child according to Organizational Skills for Visual-Spatial Learners
. It simply will not work to try to become organized under somebody else’s (like a parent’s) system. (I think this is probably true whether a person has a strong visual-spatial bent or not.) The student must create his own meaningful strategies that can be understand and remembered. Here’s how to help your young person get started:
- Be sure to visit office supply stores and other places that carry a variety of products designed to help with organization.
- Color-coded envelopes, files, and pocket folders are perfect for storing specific papers.
- Colored index cards are a great tool for note taking.
- The use of a day-timer or planner to record due dates and appointments is a tool available for the visual-spatial learner.
I do think that Linda Leviton, a member of the Visual-Spatial Resource Access team and a visual-spatial learner herself has an interesting idea. She states that visual-spatial learners are either horizontal or vertical organizers. If they are horizontal, they need a long table (preferably not deep) to put out (and leave out) works in process. If they are vertical, they need places to create stacks. She bought herself one of those paper sorters with cubbies and keeps it right next to her computer (with labels for each section).
Other ideas to help with organization include:
- using different colors to record homework assignments in one’s planner;
- allowing enough time during transitions to record assignments, put materials away, etc.;
- marking assignments as they are finished to give one a sense of accomplishment;
- placing materials to go to school or to take to a practice or lesson in a specific area near the door that your child exits (if this can be done the night before, it eliminates stress in the morning);
- having adequate office supplies. It’s difficult for a child to do homework if she can’t find paper, pencils, scissors, tape, post-its, etc.; and
- setting a good example as an adult by having good organizational skills.