In exploring the topic Gifted Children and Boredom, we first examined whether this statement is a straightforward plea or is there an underlying issue that needs discovered. How should we interpret the statement, "I'm bored." Could the child just use "I'm bored." as a default response? Take a look at this resource for some possible reasons and ways to help resolve them:
It is valuable to dig deeper into the statement. Is there something going on within the classroom environment? Is the pacing of the curriculum not fast enough for the child? Is the homework too complex or lacks in complexity? The more we know, the better we can understand where the disconnect (as Jeff says) is for the student.
I highly recommend reading Bored to Tears? We Should Listen! by Linda Deal. She describes nine factors of boredom:
- perceptions of time
- basic needs
- physical movement
- barriers to freedom
- lack of choice and control over activities
- mental stimulation
- coping skills
A Stagnant Environment
What can happen when a child must remain in an environment that is not intellectually stimulating? Boredom can lead to misbehavior, if the child expresses outwardly, or it can lead to drawing inward and shutting down. See the article: What can happen to bored gifted students by Tara Malone, Daily Herald.
In By Not Challenging Gifted Kids, What Do We Risk Losing? by Ingfei Chen, researcher David Lubinski describes a study where they found that students who received "a high “dose” of advanced and enriched learning activities in STEM areas (such as AP classes, taking college courses in high school, science fairs) were roughly twice as likely to earn a Ph.D. and tenure in a STEM field by their early 30s than those who got a low dose." (bolding mine) The educational environment and appropriate curriculum are vital to helping a gifted child reach their potential!
Turning boredom into motivation
How do you motivate a gifted student? Carol S Whitney, Ph.D. offers some excellent do's and don'ts when working with gifted children in Expert advice on ways to motivate and stimulate gifted children. Dr. Del Siegle has also researched motivation and gifted children, and discusses the 5 C's of motivation in the article Are We Failing Gifted Students? by Cindy Long, NEA Today.
- Control - to change a situation (I would add to feel comfort self-advocating for that change.)
- Choice - in what is taught
- Challenge (pretesting, pacing, compacting)
- Complexity (Sandra Kaplan's work is well worth looking into)
- Caring teacher - "We’ve found that this can actually override the other four Cs if they feel their teacher actually cares about them and wants to engage them.”
Most educators receive very little training on gifted children, so as a parent of a gifted child you may have a greater understanding of their giftedness. Gifted Homeschoolers Forum has a series of brochures that you can pass along to your child's teacher. "I am... intense * asynchronous * misunderstood" Educator's Guide to Gifted Children is one such publication that can shed light on the unique needs of a gifted child. Ohio Association for Gifted Children also has a publication called "What to Expect When You're Teaching A Gifted Child" that gives teachers a good beginning to they can adapt their teaching to better service the needs of their gifted students. Finally, Christopher Taibbi wrote a second article (to his unfortunate first article on giftedness and boredom), which has some very good advocacy advice: Giftedness and Boredom, Part Two: Tackling the Issue Head On.
Boredom doesn't reside just within the classroom, and so I think it is valid to compare the two experiences. When your gifted child is outside of school, outside of anything related to school, how does he or she experience boredom? I asked the question "Q5) Outside of the classroom, outside of school, can boredom be beneficial?"
Bored to Tears? We Should Listen! by Linda Deal, Duke Talent Identification Program (@DukeTIP)
Has good questions to ask your child.
"My child is bored..." Hampton School District (pdf) https://www.hampton.k12.va.us/departments/gifted/bored.pdf
What can happen to bored gifted students by Tara Malone, Daily Herald, found on Special Needs News
By Not Challenging Gifted Kids, What Do We Risk Losing? by Ingfei Chen, Mind/Shift (@MindShiftKQED)
Gifted Children and Adults—Neglected Areas of Practice by James T. Webb, PhD, National Register (@NatRegister)
Banish boredom from school for your gifted child by Gail Post, Ph.D. (@giftedchlnges)
Expert advice on ways to motivate and stimulate gifted children by Carol S Whitney, Ph.D. (@Carol_doc)
Are We Failing Gifted Students? by Cindy Long, National Education Association, NEA Today (@NEAToday)
Never Say Bored! by Carolyn K., Hoagies Gifted (@HoagiesGifted)
Good for advocacy.
Gifted Children and Lack of Attention by Carol Bainbridge (@Giftedkidsguide), About.com (@aboutdotcom)
Good for advocacy.
"boredom is 'a signal from your brain that you’re not making good use of a part of the brain,'" Curiosity Depends on What You Already Know by Zach St. George (@ZachStGeorge), Nautilus (@NautilusMag)
This article has a great podcast embedded in the article!
Why boredom is anything but boring by Maggie Koerth-Baker (@maggiekb1), Nature (@NatureNews)
If you find yourself stopped on the path of life... A great video!!
"When you get to this place of patience and boredom, where you're going to be for awhile, that is going to open up the realm of creativity and spirituality." ~Nalini Nadkarni, Fallen Tree, http://videowest.kuer.org/fallen-tree/ (@DougFabrizio, @RadioWest, @KUER_FM)
Neuroscientists literally change the way we think: Advantages of a wandering mind, Bar-Ilan University (@BarIlanU), @ScienceDaily
The quiet alarm by Andreas Elpidorou (@aelpidorou), Aeon (@aeonmag)
Giftedness and Classroom Boredom: Maybe It's Not All Bad by Christopher Taibbi M.A.T., Psychology Today (@PsychToday)
An unfortunate title, the comments hold the real gems.
Giftedness and Boredom, Part Two: Tackling the Issue Head On by Christopher Taibbi M.A.T., Psychology Today (@PsychToday)
The poor neglected gifted child by Amy Crawford (@amymcrawf), @BostonGlobe
Understanding High Energy Gifted Kids by Ian Byrd (@ByrdseedGifted)
Underachievement in Gifted Children by Institute for Educational Advancement (@IEAgifted)
Bored Child: How to Help Your Gifted Child by Stacia Garland, Exquisite Minds.com (@ex quisiteminds1)
Myths about Gifted Students, The National Association for Gifted Children (@NAGCGIFTED)
The miseducation of our gifted children by E. Winner, Davidson Institute for Talent Development