His music teacher thinks: “He’s smart, he really could be successful if he weren’t so lazy, just applied himself, and stopped wasting his talent”
As private music teachers, it is essential that we develop the knowledge and understanding required to extensively meet the unique needs of our 2E students. It is most often the case for 2E children that they are not lazy, nor are they purposely meaning to ‘waste their talent’. The very essence of the challenges presented when a learning disability works in contest with potential achievement can sometimes give this impression. Regardless of the external achievements of a child, ‘his or her own inner realm of experience remains qualitatively different’ (Tolan, in Neville et. al., 2013). Essentially, best practice fundamentally meets the cognitive need whilst catering for the learning disability. Effective teachers will feed the gift whilst accommodating the learning disability.
‘The teacher is one of the most important elements in an effective education for all students’.
(Quigly & Vialle, 2009)
“Music-making experiences can be motivating, flexible, and enjoyable while at the same time providing opportunities to practice important life skills that will benefit students’ social and emotional development—as well as their music development” (Darrow, 2014). As affective educators, private music teachers are able to support a 2E students’ emotional needs and development. Recent research (Croom, 2012) highlights that engaging in music contributes to an individual’s well-being by influencing positive emotions, achievement, and self-awareness.
Given that “GLD children form a very heterogeneous group. If you’ve met one GLD, then you’ve met one” (Barnes, 2011), tailoring music lessons in a private setting focuses specifically on the unique needs of the child. Furthermore, by developing an understanding of the students’ needs from both a gifted perspective and in terms of their specific learning disability, private music teachers can then direct their lessons to achieve maximum benefit for the 2E student.
“Selecting and monitoring the effectiveness of accommodations should be an ongoing process, and changes (with the involvement of students, parents and educators) should be made as often as needed. The key is to be sure that chosen accommodations address students’ specific areas of need and facilitate the demonstration of skill and knowledge.”
In addition, a recent study by Willard-Holt et.al (2013) on ‘Twice-Exceptional Learners’ Perspectives on Effective Learning Strategies’ highlighted the need to work with the student to understand their thinking, opinion and perspective. The implications for teachers from this study included “allowing twice-exceptional learners more ownership over their learning and more choice and flexibility in topic, method of learning, assessment, pace…”. These implications should be considered in addition to the accommodations discussed in the individual sections.
A private music teacher should not underestimate the value of working with, and talking to, their students’ parents. Parents can provide a great deal of insight into the character and innate needs of their children. Ongoing liaison with parents can assist in establishing what is working- and what isn’t- throughout their musical journey.
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