Flexible (vs. Rigid)

Flexible (versus rigid)


Flexibility is needed in psychological and physical structures in the classroom to accommodate the diverse strengths, characteristics and needs of highly able learners. This flexibility includes the time permitted for assignments, negotiating requirements for assignments, flexible expectations, the arrangement of desks and furnishings, and learning centers.

High ability learners often need less time for practice tasks and more time once they become engaged in complex projects. They need to work on these projects long enough to achieve a sense of autonomy, intrinsic motivation, and personal satisfaction. Local or global issues of concern to students can be addressed. Students may be given opportunities to work with students in other classes on topics of mutual interest. Without this flexibility, highly motivated students may become extremely frustrated and feel trapped in curriculum that is insensitive to their needs.


When a local issue of significance to students flares up, it can become the focus of a discussion. It might be a building project proposed for the neighborhood in an environmentally sensitive area, school uniforms, the amount of homework assigned, etc. A highly motivated class, group or individual may pursue the issue and connect their efforts to fulfill course requirements.