What is Gifted?Facts, Myths, and Misconceptions
Who Are The Gifted?
Pennsylvania Code Chapter 16Definition of mentally giftedOutstanding intellectual and creative ability the development of which requires specially designed programs or support services, or both, not ordinarily provided in the regular education program.This term includes a person who has an IQ of 130 or higher and when multiple criteria as set forth in Department Guidelines indicate gifted ability. Determination of gifted ability will not be based on IQ score alone. A person with an IQ score lower than 130 may be admitted to gifted programs when other education criteria strongly indicate gifted ability.
To himA touch is a blow,A sound is a noise,A misfortune is a tragedy,A joy is an ecstasy,A friend is a lover,A lover is a god,And failure is death.The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.
Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create - so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, he must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating. - Pearl Buck
Intense + Sensitive = GiftedGifted individuals exhibit greater intensity and increased levels of emotional, imaginational, intellectual, sensual, and psychomotor excitability, and this is a normal pattern of development.
Linda Silverman, founder and director of the Gifted Development Center in Denver, CO, and expert on the visual-spatial gifted learner.
Do you have a passion for justice?Are you a perfectionist?Are you highly sensitive?Do you take on more responsibilities than anyone you know?Do you have gifted friends and relatives?Do you have a great sense of humor?Are you perceptive - seeing through the image to the reality?Are you intuitive?Has your honesty gotten you into trouble?Do people often seek your advice on their personal problems?
Intense level of inner turmoil =Positive disintegrationFor the gifted, inner conflict is a developmental rather than a degenerative sign, because it drives the gifted person forward to replace current ways of thinking and being with those of higher level development. This type of positive disintegration is characterized by an intensified inner tension between what one is and what one could be. This dynamic tension is what fuels the creative persons complex inner life and provides the impetus for growth and development.
Intellectual and Personality CharacteristicsExceptional reasoning abilityIntellectual curiosityRapid learning rateAdvanced cognitive development in one or more academic areasComplex thinkingDivergent thinkingKeen sense of justiceCapacity for reflectionEarly language or reading developmentInsightfulnessIntensityNonconformityHighly sensitiveHighly self-criticalQuestioning of authority, systemPerfectionistTendency toward introversionNeed for precision/logicDeveloped sense of humorAsynchronous development
May be frustrated by the apparent absence of logic in activities and daily events.
Positive and Negative Characteristics of CreativityPositive Characteristics
Aware of their own creativenessIndependentEnergeticKeen sense of humor StubbornnessOriginalWilling to take risksCuriousAttracted to complexity and noveltyOpen-mindedPerceptiveNegative Characteristics
Questioning of rules and authorityIndifference to common conventionsLow interest in detailsForgetfulnessCarelessness and disorganization with important mattersTendency to be emotionalAbsentmindednessRebelliousness
Creatively Gifted Students (cont)In summary, some creatively gifted and talented children may exhibit different characteristics than some academically gifted and talented children. Those with high academic abilities have the potential to develop creative gifts and talents, yet many creatively gifted students do not necessarily display high academic performance in school.*The negative traits tend to upset the parents, the educators, and some of the peers, of creative children, since they may lead to behaviors considered inappropriate in some traditional classrooms.
PerfectionismBelieves he is valued for what he can do rather than who he is.Has been praised consistently for his greatness and exceptional ability.Fears he will lose the regard of others if he loses that exceptionality.May cry easily that his work at school can never be perfect.Discovers a mistake in his work; erases until there is a hole in the paper or crumples up paper and throws it away.
Asks for much help and reassurance from the teacher. (Is this all right? Is this what you want? Please repeat the directions.)Cannot take any criticism or suggestions for improvement without being defensive.Expects other people to be perfect, too.Resists challenging work for fear his struggle will be seen by others. (If they see me struggle, they will know Im not so smart.)Procrastinates to the point that work never even gets started.
Myers & Briggs Personality Type IndicatorAcademically talented youth seem to be more introverted than the regular population.While 75 percent of all people prefer the E extroversion dimension, more intellectual, creative youth prefer the I dimension. The three preferences that appear to contribute most to scholastic success are I, N, and J. The predominant type preference for academically talented students is NF (intuition, feeling).
IntroversionThe tendency to direct ones thoughts and interests inward.Only 25 percent of the general population are Introverts, but most gifted individuals are Introverts.Introverts get their energy from themselves and are drained by people. Are happy to be alone.Need time alone to process information and to recharge.See reflection as very important.Concentrate well and deeply.Communicate best one-on-one.Often, school is not a positive experience for introverts.Where can these students find time alone or at least with only a few others sometime during the regular day?
Underachieving gifted studentsSome have not learned to work.Poor self-regulation skills, low self-confidence, or low self-efficacyMay suffer from either obvious or hidden disabilitiesInappropriate educational conditions.Excessive absences from school, disruptive behavior, family problems, and/or povertyInappropriate curriculum and content - old and/or unchallenging curriculum; assignment of routine tasks mastered long ago; low levels of classroom discussion; mismatch of content to students abilitiesCreative; intense outside interests; demonstrate honesty and integrity when rejecting inappropriate schoolwork
Myths...About the Gifted and Talented Student
Myth 1Gifted Students Dont Need Help; Theyll Do Fine On Their Own. They Have It Made.
Myth 2THAT teacher keeps the kids really busy. Gifted students will do great in that classroom.
Myth 3Gifted students make everyone else in the class smarter by providing a role model or a challenge.
Myth 4 All children are gifted.
Myth 5Their special abilities are always prized by their families.
Myth 6Gifted students are happy, popular, and well-adjusted in school.
Myth 7That student cant be gifted; hes receiving poor grades.
Myth 8Acceleration options, such as early entrance, grade skipping, or early exit can be socially harmful for gifted students.
Myth 9This child cant be gifted, he is in Special Education.
Myth 10Gifted students should assume extra responsibility for others.
Myth 11Gifted education programs are elitist, and if gifted students are grouped together, they will become snobs and elitists.
Giftedness and AchievementGiftedness is an internal reality mental processing that is out of norms. Achievement, as important as it is, is merely an expression of that mental processing. Achievement may fluctuate depending on a students immediate situation, his relationship with a particular teacher, the availability of courses of sufficient challenge and interest, even physical health.Giftedness does not depend on such variables; the internal difference remains. That internal difference is likely to include emotional intensity, unusual awareness of and tolerance of complexity and paradox, and a potential for extraordinary moral development.
Educators working with the gifted population should be aware of the following intrapersonal issues:
The internal stress of being giftedThe emotional trauma of rapid developmentThe effects of introversion, perfectionism, and extraordinary sensitivity on self and othersThe recognition of the symptoms of insufficient mental engagementThe importance of interacting with other gifted personsAppropriate channeling and focusing of abundance of physical, sensory, intellectual, and emotional energy.