Foresight: 3 Strategies Teachers (and Parents) Can Leverage To Become a Fierce Ally to Gifted Learners

 

Foresight is the is the ability to know where you want to go, but also possessing the tools and vision to get there.

 

Welcome Mandie, a former gifted student of mine, who is contributing to this series by sharing her experience with foresight.  You may remember last week I shared the story of how I coached Mandie toward discovering her dream.  Foresight is a characteristic related to conceptualizing, but distinct in that it is the ability to know where you want to go, but also possessing the tools and vision to get there.  Mandie shares below how she made her dream a reality.

 

I am so lucky to have Dr. Brandi Maynard as my mentor, our time together turned out to be the catalyst of setting my dreams to life. The concept of foresight as described in Dr. B’s dissertation research was “the ability to see the likely outcome of the situation” and is related to her blog last week about conceptualization.

During our coaching session, I was given the gift of foresight. When talking me through my dreams, my desires, and most importantly helping me find my ‘why’ I had a true moment of understanding and excitement when I learned another way. Dr. B was so engaged in what I was saying, and with each answer, she had a follow-up question that continued to lead me to ideas that truly excited me.I had already been accepted into my doctoral program, but was so hesitant to spend another four years in school and continued to question my decision.

Prior to my time with Dr. B, I believed continuing in school was the only way I could make sure I was making a positive impact in the life of online students. I have seen students, parents, and teachers feeling so isolated in the online environment, and I want to expand upon creating positive virtual communities because I see how it motivates at-risk students to actually want to graduate high school. I have seen these strategies change lives and I wanted to expand this knowledge to other schools that may be struggling with cultivating the joy needed to support students. Dr. B saw that passion in me and continued to pull threads until we could both see the end goal of what would be known as hello edu.

With the inspiration from Dr. B and a new buzz of motivation and energy- it was time to get to work. This was not just a chat about dreams or career adviceit was followed up with concrete steps that were needed to make this dream a reality. I started to brainstorm a company name that very day as I was reading through the business plan examples and researching the licensing I would need to obtain. Without the manageable bite-sized pieces, it would have been too overwhelming. However, when I ran into hurdles, I would go back to the notes she sent me after our call, and I looked at her email with the guide to making a business plan. With each obstacle, I could look back and feel a sense of calm by knowing that this will work out because there is a guide I can work from if I start to feel lost.

This has made the process enjoyable because I could see this as a series of steps that needed to be completed instead of an abstract dream. The big picture of hello edu is to help others and make the world a better place, and I think it is beautiful that I would not have gone this route without Dr. B’s guidance and servant leadership.

Thank you to Mandie for sharing her story…I am very proud of her.  Servant leaders can help gifted learners plot out the necessary steps required to reach their envisioned future.  Below are three foresight strategies teachers (and parents) can leverage to become a fierce ally to the gifted learners they serve.

Anticipate the unique needs of the student- Anticipating the unique needs of the student is an intuition a teacher possesses that knows just the right time to introduce a concept so it connects to previous learning.  Timing is everything!

Possess the intuition to know when to turn the learning over to the student- Having the intuition to know when to turn the learning over to the kids is the ability to release control of the learning at the moment when the child can drive it themselves. They no longer need you and will do well on their own.

Promote out of the box thinking while keeping the end in minds- Promoting out of the box thinking while keeping the end in mind allows the teacher to question the learner to move the understanding forward while keeping the goal of the learning in mind.

When used together, these two characteristics will help students dream big dreams and reach those goals through a thoughtful, step by step process.  Servant leaders are the catalyst in this dream to reality process

In the comments below, or on your favorite social media using the hashtag #giftedresources, please share stories of students you know who are reaching their dreams.

Conceptualization: 3 Strategies Teachers (and Parents) Can Leverage To Become a Fierce Ally to Gifted Learners

Conceptualization is the creative process of knitting ideas together.

I love the messiness of fragmented thoughts winding together to form something extraordinary.  To me, the greatest gift is when someone invites me to collaborate on the conceptualization of an idea.  It has been an honor to go through this process many times and share in the success of others when their ideas come to fruition.  The following is a unique story of how a former gifted student invited me to help her conceptualize her dream.

Several years ago, summer was nearly over and back to school professional development was in full swing.  I was kicking off the school year with a group of teachers in Portland, Oregon when a bright-eyed millennial walked up to me giddy to say hello.  The beautiful young lady gave me a hug and I realized the young lady embracing me was Mandie, my former gifted student that was now all grown up.  That day was the beginning of a delightful mentoring relationship that I hadn’t expected.

Several years had passed and our friendship blossomed.  I watched Mandie grow both personally and professionally.  For nearly a year she told me she wanted to start her own school and enroll in a Ph.D. program.  Through deeply listening, I sensed a mismatch between what she was saying and where her heart was really wanting to take her.   I invited her to grab some time on my calendar so we could find congruence between her heart’s desire and her giftedness.

Our coaching call had a familiar cadence.  Mandie spoke logically about enrolling in a Ph.D. program and using the research from her dissertation to start a charter school.  After a few open-ended questions, the conversation took an interesting turn and Mandie became more and more animated describing how she would equip the leaders in her virtual school with the necessary skills to build a strong sense of community and belonging among the student body.   Like peeling back the layers of an onion, the spirit of that spunky 10-year-old gifted child I remembered began to emerge as she described how to masterfully create school culture using a unique blend of social media and grassroots student leadership development.  In that instant, it became crystal clear to both of us that Mandie’s mission in life was to share her successful formula for equipping and empowering virtual schools to create invaluable human connections in the online environment.  It was in that moment that hello edu was born.

Mandie invited me to come alongside her and help conceptualize her dream, a dream that doesn’t require a Ph.D. or a charter school of her own.  Like all dreams, it starts with an idea followed closely with a carefully executed plan.  Next week, I have invited Mandie to continue this story by sharing the foresight one needs to make a dream come to fruition.

Servant leaders can help gifted learners knit together their ideas to create their envisioned future.  Below are three conceptualization strategies teachers (and parents) can leverage to become a fierce ally to the gifted learners they serve.

Boldly seek innovative solutions- Teachers need to help young people boldly seek innovative solutions.  These solutions may or may not have been explored in the past, and sometimes the servant leader needs to point out the path that the child may have overlooked, a new and different way of reaching a potential solution.

Creating a well-designed learning experience-  Creating a well-designed learning experience allows the student to participate in lessons that begin with the end in mind.  Servant leaders help students begin with a clear understanding of the end result and then begin to lay the foundation of what is necessary to reach the desired outcome.

Making decisions between what is good, and what is best for students- Making decisions between what is good, and what is best for students, means differentiating between the two.  A servant leader’s role is to help the learner see where they have come from and where they are going.  The wisdom of an adult, coupled with a servant’s heart, can illuminate a young person’s path in ways they cannot see on their own.  This wisdom helps differentiate a good path, from the best path.

Servant leaders help learners with both conceptualization and foresight.  Conceptualization is the creative process people go through to cast their envisioned future.  Foresight is the logical steps necessary to reach the end goal.  When leveraged properly, conceptualization and foresight will help students dream big dreams and reach those goals through a thoughtful, step by step process.

In the comments below, or on your favorite social media using the hashtag #giftedresources, please share stories of students you know who are reaching their dreams.