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“Are We Holding Back Our Students That Possess the Potential to Excel?”: Highly Motivated Students Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Dec 11th, 2021

Introduction

According to National Association for Gifted Children (as cited in Philips, 2008, p. 50), there are only 6% of students belong to the category of gifted students. Still, there are a lot of students who have great potential, diligence, and aspiration but cannot be considered talented. The article under consideration, “Are We Holding Back Our Students that Possess the Potential to Excel?”, written by Philips, focuses on highly motivated students that are hard-working and demonstrate good academic success but do not test into the talented category.

A new risk group

The problem that is formulated by the author tackles the “No Child Left Behind” policy that focuses on those students that have a high risk of failure at the cost of other students. Phillips (2008) singles out a new risk group that consists of highly motivated students that are prevented from possible advancement in certain subjects (p. 51).

The examples of Jonathan and Susan

To illustrate the problem, Phillips (2008) sets two examples of highly-motivated children that were “left behind” (p. 51), Jonathan and Susan. Jonathan managed to finish the work for the whole week in one lesson period, Susan had already learned the material taught in the sixth-grade curriculum and was wasting her academic year. We find these examples useful as they prove theoretical information given and offer at least one lesson for future teachers: Jonathan’s example shows that a quality teacher should never act like his teacher did, crumpling up his worksheets and asking him to redo the same work (Philips, 2008, p. 51).

Any advice for teachers on highly motivated students

One more significant conclusion can be drawn from these two examples: highly-motivated learners can lose their motivation for learning, though their marks will be excellent. This can influence their future studies negatively, eliminating learners’ potential for life-long learning. A teacher should be attentive to all students as there is great diversity in today’s classroom (Arends, 2004, p. 52). In case, if he/she observes a highly motivated student whose aspiration and potential leave the course curriculum behind, a teacher should sustain the student’s motivation instead of holding it back discouraging a student from learning more.

Acceleration strategies

Phillips (2008) also offers an account of proven acceleration strategies, informing a reader about “continuous progress program” that incorporates students according to their achievement regardless of their age (p. 52), Advanced Placement Program that allows “capable high school students to learn college-level subjects” (p. 52) and the program called “dual enrollment” that differs from Advanced placement in that it begins before high school (p. 53). The benefit of such programs is unquestionable. A very interesting idea is suggested by Phillips (2008): the author mentions the research conducted by Gamoran and Hannigan that proves that “enrichment and advance information is academically beneficial for all students” (p. 52). Still, here a teacher should be very attentive to students with low achievement not to create additional psychological problems for them, and not to aggravate their lagging behind the class. All student exceptionalities (Arends, 2004, p. 54) should be taken into account. The application of the described strategy in Jonathan’s case shows their evident benefit for the student. A choice of a correspondence course in algebra is very beneficial for Susan, but subject acceleration would be also useful for her. The drawback of her school is evident in this case.

Conclusion

Thus, the article by Phillips proves the quotation by Thomas Edison who said that “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration” (as cited in Esar, 1995, p. 788). If gifted students and students with disabilities are considered exceptionalities (Arends, 2004, p. 54), this does not mean that students with high motivation should be ignored by the teacher. We, teachers, should provide opportunities for every student to excel.

Works Cited

Arends, R.I. (2004). Learning to Teach. NY: McGraw-Hill Companies.

Esar, E. (1995). 20000 Quips and Quotes. USA: Barnes & Noble Publishing.

Phillips, S. (2008). Are We Holding Back Our Students that Possess the Potential to Excel? Education, 129 (1), 50-55.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "“Are We Holding Back Our Students That Possess the Potential to Excel?”: Highly Motivated Students." December 11, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/are-we-holding-back-our-students-that-possess-the-potential-to-excel-highly-motivated-students/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '“Are We Holding Back Our Students That Possess the Potential to Excel?”: Highly Motivated Students'. 11 December.

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