Lives and Living
This differentiation strategy involves introducing or enhancing content addressing the lives of creative, productive people; personal characteristics such as motivation and coping skills; leadership and learning styles; and social characteristics and career paths that include unexpected events. The challenges associated with living the life of an exceptional, capable individual should be emphasized in student investigations and analyses. Candidates for study could include famous individuals who have made or have wished to make the world a better place. Some of these individuals may not have received widespread recognition but have made significant, enduring contributions to the lives of others. Encouraging students to draw personal connections between the lives of others and themselves is a way to improve student self-understanding and self-acceptance. Comparisons of individuals in the same field who have different backgrounds can provide rich insight on the influences of culture, gender, family structure, historical context, geography, to list a few.
The goal of addressing this type of content is for students to discover connections between themselves and others who may be similar to them. It is important for students to develop a realistic understanding of their individual strengths and struggles, expectations, and accomplishments. Gifted individuals often set high standards for themselves. Studying the lives of other creative and talented people may help students appreciate their highs and lows, strengths and struggles. These studies should focus on what can be learned and how to learn from difficult times. Students could use such learning activities to explore career options.
Content differentiated to include “Lives and Living” may be drawn from biographies, autobiographies and interviews that are available in any reliable source (print, podcasts, etc.). Direct contact with potential role models via mentorships and “shadowing” experiences can provide students with opportunities to interact with passionate, committed individuals in their community. Students may explore the struggles or great mistakes of individuals they admire in addition to their accomplishments.