Why Is My Gifted Student Demotivated By School?

Parents and teachers alike commonly report confusion or disappointment regarding children who perform drastically below their potential. Sometimes, a gifted child may show dwindling enthusiasm for school as they progress through each grade. This may eventually reflect in their performance at school and lead to a cascade of problems with their motivation, behavior and self-esteem.

My Child Used To Love Going To School

You may have witnessed a time when your gifted student was enthusiastic about school, beaming brightly at the prospect of spending a day with their peers in an exciting, encouraging environment. Indeed, many gifted children demonstrate an unquenchable curiosity and thirst for learning. So why is it that your gifted student seems unmotivated by school? Is there a particular group of factors that can be recognized and improved to restore their zeal and enthusiasm?

Why Is My Gifted Child Demotivated By School?

Children often experience disappointment and confusion due to a lack of intellectual stimulation. For example, a child who can already read sentences, name colors and recognize shapes in kindergarten may feel frustrated that the rest of the class is learning to do those very things. This may cause them to feel like their educational environment is uninteresting. Since teachers are required to ensure a specific overall level of competence for their class, a gifted child may not get the individual attention they require. Instead, the child may find themselves bored with schoolwork, waiting around for classmates to finish their work for the bulk of their school day.

Eventually, this leads to a gifted child mentally withdrawing from their learning environment. They may doodle absentmindedly, distract other classmates, or even watch the clock and count the minutes until the day ends. The gifted child may be ahead of other children at their grade-level with little effort, and may feel like the work is not challenging or interesting enough for them to learn from.

Children Lose Interest If They Aren’t Challenged

It’s important to recognize that your child’s behavior is not spurious or random. All behavior is motivated to some end, even if it is destructive or maladaptive. For example, if your child feels frustrated, misunderstood or depressed, they are unlikely to care about academic achievement. They may act out at being told to study, or may fear that their success in school may lead to heightened expectations that they may not be able to meet.

An Approach Specifically Designed for Gifted Children

Ultimately, educators and parents alike need to understand the role of the unwanted behavior. What need is it serving for the child? Are there other ways to meet that need?

At Rainard School for Gifted Students in Houston, TX, we understand and embrace gifted children, focusing on their unique abilities and needs to empower, inspire, and ignite their passion for learning. Our passionate teachers recognize that each child is different, employing the Rainard model to develop their emotional intelligence while letting them reach their full academic potential.

For more information, visit us at rainard.org, or call (713) 647-7246.