Teaching Competitive Kids It's Okay to Lose


The first teacher of every child is a Mother. As the child enters into the world he/she tries to express his/her emotions through verbal cues and facial expressions.

As soon as they start scaffolding (3-4 months old) and understanding the correlation between different things from the surroundings, the child wants to learn the language of the parents as well so that he can communicate with them.

As he reaches the age of 1 year, he starts to spell single words and slowly comes the framing of short sentences and after a period of time, these short sentences get converted to long paragraphs with absolute expressions when he matures/becomes adult. But in this process of growth and development of the child, have you ever thought about how the child learns?

Though everybody learns at his/her own pace, still every child has a different learning pace. And in spite of having different learning pace, they have different learning capabilities as well. These specific learning capabilities make them different from one another.

Students who are exceptionally competitive with special learning capabilities are often regarded as a gifted child. Teaching such students with normal students is always a task for teachers. As these students have higher learning ability compared to others, higher learning pace, creativity, aptitude, and intelligence, therefore these students are difficult to deal for the parents as well as teachers.

Competitiveness is natural among preschoolers, says Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., Parents advisor and coauthor of Smart Parenting for Smart Kids. Although you'll want to address the issue, don't be too concerned if your child sees an opportunity to best her buddies in everything from who can swing higher to who can get to the front of the line first. "Kids this age are starting to figure out the concept of winning," says Dr. Kennedy-Moore. "At age 4, they'll compete over anything: Mine's bigger, better, bluer. They're not always sure about the complexities of winning and losing, but they do understand that winning is good, so they want to win at everything."

However, your kid's must-win ways may not be endearing to her pals. Preschoolers don't always make the connection between their behavior and others' reactions, so your child may be confused when a peer stops playing with her. "You can say, 'When you cut in front of Grace in line, how do you think that made her feel? How would it make you feel?'' says Dr. Kennedy-Moore. "Then talk about what she could do differently next time, such as taking turns or letting her friend go first."

Playdates will also be easier if your child learns to think of winning in terms of effort, not outcome. Begin by practicing good "playmanship" between siblings at home. "In our house, we talk about how great it is that Owen remembered where the matching cards were in 'Go fish' or praise Gavin for being such a good teammate," says Dr. Hancock. "We praise them for how they play rather than for the end result."

All in the Family

Still, it's hard to temper an overly competitive child's desire to win (especially against a brother or a sister). "Sibling rivalries are crucial to a child's development, these interactions are microcosms of how he'll respond to similar competition in the outside world," says Hilary Levey Friedman, Ph.D., a sociologist at Harvard and author of Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture.

That's a familiar scenario for Damon Dorrien, father of Kadyn, 4, and Mason, 6, in Smithtown, New York. "We have a backyard playset, with swings, a rock wall, and a slide," says Dorrien. "Being older, Mason can do a lot of things on it that Kadyn can't, but Kadyn is determined to come up with new tricks to show us." Rather than compare their sons, Dorrien and his wife praise each boy's efforts and focus on the fun factor: "Whenever Kadyn asks if he is 'winning' at ice hockey, I tell him that we are all winning as long as we're having fun,".

Healthy Challenges

Not surprisingly, some kids are simply more bent on winning than others: We live in a competitive world. The older kids get, the more they will experience winning and losing. "The ability to bounce back after a loss becomes increasingly important as your child reaches the elementary-school years," says Dr. Levey Friedman. "Teaching resilience now sets kids up for success because they learn that failure isn't the end of the world. It's just a chance to try again."

How Teachers must deal with Gifted Students:

1. Build Community before differentiating

To deal with the gifted child, its necessary to build groups of students with the same IQ level and on the basis of different kinds of talents they possess. Instead of differentiating them, on the basis of their gifted abilities it would be good for the teachers to first identify such students and groups so that such students can be allowed to work together in groups. By building groups we give chance to each child to grow and show their specific gifted abilities so that they can grow much better and learn more with the students belonging to the same capabilities. These students will understand each other in a better way, while working in groups and will help each other more.

2. Assess often

After checking their knowledge levels, they are sorted and grouped. While it takes time up front, the result is more targeted and meaningful instruction, she says.

Winebrenner suggests teachers start by presenting the most difficult concept first to allow advanced learners the chance to move on to deeper content. If a student understands the most challenging part of a lesson, there’s no need for them to learn the easier concepts that lead up to it.

“The language the teacher uses is critical,” she explains. “The teacher says, ‘I’m going to offer an opportunity for you to show me you already know the material. Anybody can try.' Once those who have mastered the content are identified, the trick is to have something ready for them to do that will present them with a true challenge, she says.
For instance, if students have shown they understand area and perimeter in math, look for a real-life problem in the school, such as a playground renovation. Allow students to apply their knowledge and create a plan for the new playground.

3 Let students take charge of their learning. Using information gathered from a student’s pretest, the curriculum can be compacted for advanced learners. Winebrenner suggests meeting with these students to discuss a “learning contract” that will allow them to work through a chapter more independently and that will offer related extension activities.

Kids can also help develop a project’s scoring rubric, a process that can lead them to understand the effort required, Winebrenner says.

4 Honor interests and allow for exploration. A gifted learner’s brain processes information rapidly, and he or she often thinks in more sophisticated, abstract ways. For this reason, Venosdale has found gifted students thrive with assignments that let them explore topics of interest in new ways. “Kids need to be challenged at their level to feel valued,” she says.

To engage gifted middle school students, educator Jeffrey Shoemaker says teachers need to find something meaningful with a “wow” factor. Authentic, hands-on projects are the draw for his students, who opt in to his pullout program at Ohio’s Lima West Middle School for one five-hour block each week.

In a general classroom, Shoemaker says teachers can let gifted students research a new angle of a class topic. For instance, last spring, when eighth graders were learning about the Civil War, some gifted students who already had a basic knowledge of the battles researched the ways in which soldiers died. They explored injuries and medical treatment, and they learned about everything from amputation to infections.“It was a cool project. The kids loved it,” Shoemaker says.

​​​​​​5 Involve parents. Parents can be powerful partners, and they are often vocal advocates. Angie French, a K–6 gifted and talented specialist at Timber Creek Elementary in Magnolia, Texas, says parents need to be informed about the resources the district and teachers have and be encouraged to work with their child’s teachers on enrichment projects.

Sometimes parents have insights that can help teachers. For instance, gifted children may seem focused in class but come home and tell parents they are bored, French says.

“There are multiple sides to these kids,” she says. “Girls might try to blend in because they don’t want to
be singled out as intelligent, and then go home and burst into tears

But a teacher, must always remember that, he/she cannot win all the students so, don't lose your heart "Win Some and Lose Some"

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