LAnguage Immersion Programs and Gifted Children - FamilyEducation
LAnguage Immersion Programs and Gifted Children
10/03/2007 at 06:20 AM

My son just started in school. I suspect he is gifted. We chose an immersion program with the idea that the program would be challenging and stimulating. (The material is the same but at least it is taught in another language!) So here is my question/ concern. My child's gifts are in the mechanical / creative / spacial and ability to figure out how things work area... not too big of a surprise in that we have inventors and accomplished engineers in our family... Anyway, the spoken word, aka verbal area is not his strong point. In fact, sometimes he struggles to find the words for describing his inventions etc. Has always made up for this using a lot of hand gestures. He also seems to struggle with pronunciation.  

So with that information we went ahead and enrolled him in an immersion program. So far it seems to be going OK. (Funny how he is able to remember the foreign words for science related matters.) Anway, my thinking was that this program would somehow strenghten his verbal skills by forcing him to try something that probably does not come natural to him.

My concern is that we put him in a program that will not highlight his gifts. The program runs through middle school years. Intellectually I think this is the right thing to do. After all, isn't the idea to challenge gifted kids? Yet, I want him to have the opportuinity to shine and explore the areas he is interested in.

  • Any comments / feedback? Doe anyone out there have a child who is incredibly mechanically gifted yet has some verbal deficiencies?
  • I guess my question comes down to this... Is it better to build on gifts already there? Or is it more beneficial to try to create paths for learning in a new way.. 



I thought of doing the same thing for my son when he was young, but then we switched schools, where they didn't have the program. Do they have a gate program in his school? If so, when he is old enough to test, they may give him the option of switching to the gate program, which may be a different track from the immersion program. Gate-trained teachers are very good at giving open-ended assignments. Assignments where the student can choose how they want to achieve or display their project, giving them the chance to pour their own talents and interests into the project. My son has used lego mini figures and a volcano to make videos on the Roman empire. He loves working with clay and has used that on many book report covers. He has a new stop-action program that he is anxious to use for the next school project assigned. His classmates have used their artistic talent to personalize their projects. They've been able to composed songs about the topic. Even in middle school, they've had opportunities to imbed their strength and passion into their projects. So hopefully you will have good teachers that value that kids are not all the same and he will have opportunities to shine. Check to see if anyone at the school is running a Odyssey of the Mind or Lego League team. They are great for thinking outside the box, problem solving and using skills that with all the state testing, teachers don't always have the time to embed as much as they use to. Good luck.