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ERIC Number: EJ1001805
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Nurturing Young Gifted English Language Learners: A Survival Guide for Parents
Smutny, Joan F.
Parenting for High Potential, v2 n2 p4-6, 8-10 Oct 2012
For many young gifted English Language Learners (ELLs), going to an American school is like a trip to Mars. Everything and everyone looks strange. Many ELLs feel unsure of their abilities when they discover that their proficiency in English can sometimes hinder achievement. They wonder what the other kids think of their speech, their accents, their clothing, and their nationality. Their story is that of the perpetual outsider. They tell of a language that is not only foreign but harsh and unwelcoming--not the language of love, song, and celebration. When they speak it, some feel foreign to themselves. In response to their children's struggles, parents of gifted ELLs often voice a need for them to "be who they really are." They no longer want to see how paralyzed their children are--seeking approval from teachers and peers to the point where they try to abandon the parts of themselves they think are unacceptable. Many parents in workshops the author offers express the wish that their children have, as one father said, "time to just be--to breathe, think, listen, create." More and more, they recognize the critical role of creativity in preserving their children's individuality, including their culture, language, and talents. There are many things parents can do to nurture the creative spirit of their children. Fostering the creative spirit may begin with supporting children's artistic interests or instilling an atmosphere of openness to originality and imagination in the home. But, taken to its depths, creativity offers a great deal more. It is important to remember that young gifted children--ELL or not--begin life already filled with a sense of the large and expansive world at their feet, full of promise. The role of parents is not so much to expand this world but to ensure that the one they have continues to grow naturally through the years of formal schooling. The practice these children gain drawing on their inner resources is immensely strengthening and nurtures a sense of independence and ownership of their own learning. Creative work--and the honoring of the creative force by parents and families--bring a sense of dignity and personal power that endure for a lifetime. (Contains 2 resources.)
National Association for Gifted Children. 1331 H Street NW Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-785-4268; Fax: 202-785-4248; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Parents
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A