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How the Gifted Brain Learns

How the Gifted Brain Learns

Second Edition
Edited by:

July 2009 | 296 pages | Corwin

"Pulls many areas of gifted research, knowledge, and applications together in a clear and concise manner. This is a one-stop book for teachers who have high-ability/gifted students in a classroom and need to understand how these students' brains work and how to plan effective instruction."
—Mary Beth Cary, Teacher
Worth County Primary School, Sylvester GA

Identify, understand, and engage the full range of gifted learners with practical, brain-compatible classroom strategies!

What does it mean to be gifted and talented? The second edition of David Sousa's best-selling How the Gifted Brain Learns helps bring clarity to this topic, leveraging the latest neuroscientific findings to separate fact from fiction and provide teachers with practical strategies for engaging artistically and intellectually advanced learners.

This reader-friendly guide gives elementary and secondary teachers the help they need to not only recognize and challenge their gifted learners, but also to support gifted students who underachieve. Acknowledging that students are often gifted in specific subject areas, the text includes chapters dedicated to talents in language, math, and the arts. Special "From the Desk of a Teacher" sections offer classroom-tested examples of the instructional applications suggested by research. In addition to featuring new research and expanded curriculum ideas, this second edition helps answer questions about:

  • How the brains of gifted students are different
  • How to gauge if gifted students are being adequately challenged
  • How to identify students who are both gifted and learning disabled
  • How improving programs for the gifted and talented benefits other students
  • How to better identify gifted minority students, who are often underrepresented in gifted programs

This resource is a one-stop shop of brain-compatible strategies for teaching the full range of gifted students!

About the Author
Preface to the Second Edition
What Do We Mean by Gifted and Talented?

Gifted and Talented Programs in Today's Schools

About This Book

1. What Is a Gifted Brain?
Understanding Intelligence

Theories of Intelligence and Giftedness

Characteristics of Giftedness

Social and Emotional Characteristics of Giftedness

Impact of Praise on Gifted Students

2. Challenging the Gifted Brain
Differentiated Curriculum and Instruction

A Supportive Learning Environment

Curriculum Content Initiatives for Gifted Learners

Instructional Processes for Gifted Learners

The Products of Gifted Learners

Gifted Visual-Spatial Learners

Avoiding the Pitfall of Academics Versus the Arts

3. Underachieving Gifted Students
What Is Underachievement?

Some Causes of Underachievement

Identifying Gifted Underachievers

Underachievement Among Gifted Minority Students

Reversing Patterns of Underachievement

4. The Twice-Exceptional Brain
Identifying Twice-Exceptional Students

Giftedness and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Giftedness and Autism


5. Language Talent

Sources of Language Ability

Identifying Students Gifted in Language Arts

Developing Language Ability

6. Mathematical Talent
Number Sense Is an Innate Capability

Mathematical Thinking and the Brain

Identifying the Mathematically Gifted

Teaching the Mathematically Gifted

7. Artistic Talent
The Arts for All Students

Musical Talent

Reading and Memorizing Music

Developing Musically Talented Students

Dance Talent

Theatrical Talent

Visual Art Talent

8. Putting It All Together
Identifying Gifted Students

Developing the Learning Environment

Strategies for the Gifted in the Inclusive Classroom

Where Do We Go From Here?



"A great book to use to assist preservice teachers, inservice teachers, and administrators with ways to meet the needs of all types of gifted learners."

Thea H. Williams-Black, Assistant Professor of Elementary Education
The University of Mississippi

"Each chapter offers the practitioner page after page of suggestions on how to apply the research discussed to educational practice. The applications sections are extremely intriguing and offer more than the traditional 'discovery learning' approach to teaching these remarkable children."

J. D. Neal
University of Central Missouri

"I loved this book. It expands the reader’s definition of what it means to be gifted. Many schools focus only on academic giftedness, but this book has very practical ways to help students gifted in the arts utilize their talents. Sousa provides enough information to help someone who has never developed a gifted program before get started, and yet challenges the reader’s preconceived notions enough to help a school with a rich gifted program have discussions that will improve the existing program."

Kathy Tritz-Rhodes, Principal
Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn School, IA

“Pulls many areas of gifted research, knowledge, and applications together in a clear and concise manner. This is a one-stop book for teachers who have high-ability/gifted students in a classroom and need to understand how these students’ brains work and how to plan effective instruction.”

Mary Beth Cary, Teacher
Worth County Primary School, Sylvester GA

"Brain research is changing the way teachers respond to student needs, and this book deals with the topic well. The biological descriptions of brain anatomy were simplified so that non-science educators could comprehend the research with the author’s ideas on implications. While the book is intended to focus on identifying and educating gifted and talented students, it also provides insights for instruction of all students."

Debra K. Las, Science Teacher
Rochester Public Schools, MN
Key features

New to this addition are:

  • New applications in each chapter
  • Updated research on the gifted and talented brain
  • Classroom examples in each chapter for the elementary and secondary levels

Sample Materials & Chapters



For instructors

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