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In the early 1990s I began my study of underachievement. At that time I found a small amount of research that focused on what I now call Classic Underachievement. Over the next 25 years I discovered many other students whom I also considered to be underachievers, but all did not fit into my original
concept or pattern. This book still describes and addresses the needs of Classic Underachievers, but other types of underachievers are discussed as well.
Additionally, over the years I discovered that many underachievers were actually gifted underachievers.
Polish psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski (1902-1980) developed the Theory of Positive Disintegration. As part of this theory, he identified some people who
have particularly intense neurological responses that result in one of five overexcitabilities: Psychomotor, Sensual, Emotional, Intellectual and Imaginational. Each of the overexcitabilities leads to challenges for these students and those around them. However, each student with overexcitabilities also has areas of great strength. Many, though not all, students with overexcitabilities are gifted.
In this book I have considered each type of underachiever and each of the overexcitabilities (OE’s) separately with examples of real students, positives and
negatives for each, and suggested strategies.
At the same time, I see a number of similar traits and overlapping needs in these students. As I began writing the portion of the book dealing with strategies to use, I realized that many of the strategies I suggest could be used with both types of students. The bulk of this book consists of practical strategies and how to implement and use them. Whenever possible, I delineate which types of students might best benefit from a particular strategy. It is my hope, however, that the reader will think about individual students and pick strategies that appear to be workable for them.
At the end of the book you will find two rubrics. An Achiever Rubric is one I often use with underachievers but it may also be appropriate for some students with OE’s. The second rubric is a Rubric for Students with Overexcitabilities. It lists each of the overexcitabilities and gives some indicators of ways to work with
these students in a classroom setting.
It is my hope that you and many of your students will benefit from the information and strategies in this Underachievement & Overexcitabilities: Challenges and Strategies for Success. — Carolyn Coil
A former teacher, Adjunct Professor, and Resource Specialist, Carolyn is an internationally known speaker, author, trainer, consultant and educator. In her workshops, professional development courses, seminars and keynotes, she is an enthusiastic, motivating and energetic presenter. Carolyn offers single and multiple-day staff development for RtI monitoring strategies, implementing differentiation in the classroom, practical strategies for raising student achievement, implementing a variety of assessment strategies, and dealing with the problems and challenges associated with preparing ourselves and our children for living and working in the 21st Century. Please contact Pieces of Learning (800-729-5137 or email@example.com) to book Carolyn!