California Learning Strategies Center 
Helping Parents of Gifted Students 
backtotopDear Parents, 
I hear from many concerned parents whose gifted children are being used during class as tutors for struggling students. Parents worry that peer tutoring doesn't advance the education of bright students - and they're right.
This newsletter explains why gifted experts advise against using advanced students as peer tutors in the classroom. 
Unfortunately, overusing peer tutoring isn't the only mistake schools make with gifted students.  Our most popular publication, The Parent's Guide to the Myths, Misinformation and Half-Truths Teachers Believe About Gifted Students -- and How to Respond, explains everything parents need to know about what really works to help gifted students grow . . . and what doesn't.  
You can read more about the Parent's Guide below.  (Don't miss our special offer -- $5 off on phone orders before May 15th.) 
Please feel free to forward this newsletter on to other interested parents.
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As always, I look forward to your comments and suggestions. 
Susan Goodkin
Executive Director,
California Learning Strategies Center

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Why Gifted Students Shouldn't Be Used as In-Class Tutors
Many teachers believe that peer tutoring is helpful both to the student doing the tutoring as well as to the student being tutored. But research shows that when a high-ability student tutors a lower-ability classmate, only the achievement of the low-ability student is improved.
Gifted education experts also warn that routinely using gifted students to help low-ability students can harm the gifted students.
High-ability students who spend too much of their time working as peer tutors, rather than tackling a more advanced curriculum, are being denied critical academic challenges. Like other students, gifted students need consistent opportunities to "learn through real struggle." (Tracking, Ability-Grouping and the Gifted.)
Teachers are particularly cautioned against using advanced math students to teach less-advanced classmates.
When advanced math students already understand the material being presented, nothing is gained by having them spend additional time on the concepts - whether as a student or a peer-teacher. As math education expert Susan Assouline instructs, "Simply put, it is not a good use of talented students' time to tutor others instead of learning something new."

Additionally, gifted expert Karen Rogers cautions that when peer tutoring involves work that a gifted child knows and the other student doesn't, neither student is likely to benefit:
"The 'knower,' not being a trained teacher, will merely give the 'non-knower' the information to be copied and turned in, and she will learn nothing new for herself. For this kind of task, using the child as a second teacher may be pure exploitation of the bright child."
If you think your child is being used as a peer tutor more than is reasonable, you need to explain your concerns to his or her teacher.
Your request that your child not be routinely employed as a tutor is more likely to be successful if you suggest alternative uses of your child's time that won't require additional work by the teacher, such as having your child work on an advanced curriculum through an on-line program.
Suggestions for further reading:

Tracking, Ability Grouping and the Gifted, Philadelphia Association for the Gifted,
Developing Math Talent, by Susan Assouline and Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik
Re-Forming Gifted Education, by Karen B. Rogers, Ph.D.
  Boy with book
 Is your school inadequately challenging your child?  
Our consultants suggest resources  -- for home and school -- tailored to your child's interests and abilities, inform you about the best classroom approaches (including subject matter acceleration) for meeting bright students' needs, provide negotiation advice for persuading schools to better meet your child's needs, draft letters to help you advocate for your child, and more.
$125 per hour.  We're happy to prorate our fees for shorter consultations.  For more information, call 805-642-6686, or go to 

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The Parent's Guide to the Myths, Misinformation and Half-Truths Teachers Believe About Educating Gifted Students -- and How to Respond
"The Center's Parent Guides should be required reading for every parent of a bright student."
Taryn Cornelius, New York
"If you have a gifted student, you must read the 'Myths' Parent Guide."
Rachel H., California 
The majority of teachers have had little to no training in educating gifted students.
If you want your child to get an appropriate education, you need to learn what the experts say about what works for gifted students. . . and what doesn't.
Our 40-page report, The Parent's Guide to the Myths, Misinformation and Half-Truths Teachers Believe about Educating Gifted Students - and How To Respond, debunks the myths too many teachers believe about gifted students -- and helps you advocate for the educational approaches proven to provide gifted children with the challenge they need.
Myth: Ability grouping is unnecessary for high-ability students and harmful to other students.

Myth: Acceleration should be used sparingly, as few gifted students need it, and it causes academic/social problems.

Myth: Mixed-ability "cooperative learning" benefits gifted students.
Myth: Simply "clustering" gifted students in a classroom will meet their needs.
Myth: Gifted students are needed as role models in regular classrooms.
The Parent's Guide provides the information you need to counter these myths and more, and includes links to downloadable information you can share with teachers.

 Only $19.95!
Special offer: Five dollars off on phone orders before May 15th. 
For more information, or to order, go to
or call 805-642-6686.
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In This Issue
Why Gifted Children Shouldn't Be Used as In-Class Tutors
The Parent's Guide to the Myths, Misinformation and Half-Truths Teachers Believe About Educating Gifted Students
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