Giftedness is not a fairytale!

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http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/overexcitability-and-the-gifted

I was quite enraged to hear of the attitudes of many preservice educators when it comes to gifted education. One blog post in particular well rather the innocent and artistically pleasing picture that accompanied it has me furious. Why is it that the very people who will be instructing the students whom hold the greatest potential to make astounding discoveries and profound changes to the world can’t see their uniqueness? And while we’re at it let’s make the important and significant distinction between gifted and talented.

Gifted studentsare those whose potential is distinctly above average in one or more of the following domains: intellectual, creative, social and physical.

Talented students are those whose skills are distinctly above average in one or more areas of human performance. Nsw Government 

Gifted learners need considerable support. Often Dabrowski’s overexcitabilities come into play and these students need support to help them cope with extreme sentitives. They will easily become board in a class that doesn’t challenge them. This is where our efforts should be. I don’t want to hear that every student is gifted. They aren’t. But those that are have needs that are significantly different from their peers and even then different from other gifted students.

I beg you to not fall into the romanticised notion teacher pleasing ideals. Gifted kids will make your life hell! And they should, they should push you to help them learn. The skill lays in your ability as a teacher to ascertain at what level this is going to be.

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7 comments

  1. Personally, I think you have taken the original blog post way too seriously. That picture is obviously a nice way of saying that all children have gifts. They do.

    I understand why you are so passionate about it, I am a mother of a child with autism. I get quite furious when things are thrown around about autism, even by fellow student teachers, that aren’t really reality.

    I just think you’ve taken it too seriously…and in turn really accused the original blog author of not knowing the difference between children who are “labelled” as gifted and that all children have their own special unique gifts…because…THEY DO.

    I will say something else – ALL children, gifted, disabled, autistic even TYPICAL kids will boggle the mind of a teacher, no matter how educated. I personally feel we need to stop with the labels and just give the individual students what they need. No child will tick a box, not one.

    1. You are right to pick up on my intensity. This is probably the one subject relating to education that I am the most passionate about. My frustration at the original post and I would like to point out it was the use of an image I took offence to stems from the lack of understanding of giftedness amongst teachers and preservice teachers in particular. Is this an underhand stab at education programs? Perhaps.
      I also feel it is important to be clear that the gifts children have- and they all have amazing gifts- are not to be thought of as belonging under the gifted umbrella because they contain the same stem word.
      The individual things that students have do need to be considered and differentiated for in the classroom. I totally and whole heartedly agree with this. My issue is that the needs of the gifted students (I’m talking top !% not top 10% as some school extension programs take) go far beyond the demands placed on a teacher from meeting and recognising all that every individual child has to offer.
      You can’t offer a time worksheet to a child that can calculate the hour minute and second since they work up when the rest of the class is discussing what hour and minute hands are. The needs of gifted students are very different.
      Another way I like to explain this is….
      If you had a child on crutches because they had a sore leg would you offer all the students crutches? No, right. The same can be said for providing the level of differentiation that gifted students need. Yes all students are special and unique.

  2. I think you have gone too far in your barrage of insults to my intelligence and the manner in which the original post was intended.

    It is great that you are passionate about this area, given your children as you stated are “profoundly gifted”. One would hope that your children so much more courtesy than what you have shown to me and the other students with your over the top rhetoric.

    I think you need to remember that there are 99% of children that do not fit into that category and their needs should not be neglected.

    Yes gifted children can be challenging, but I dare say no more challenging that a child with severe learning difficulties. All children have their challenges. As teachers we need to adapt and overcome our teaching methods. We need to be mindful that learning can be a two way approach and we can learn from students.

    the 1% you speak of is a very rare group of children. I would imagine that mainstream public schools could not offer the kind of education those group of children require. Perhaps if your heart truly lies with the 1% of the children within the education system that MENSA would be a far better place for you to teach. It seems quite obvious that anything below 1% is beneath you.

    1. Please forgive my enthusiasm as it was never my intention to evoke such a personal response from you. I am truly sorry you have taken it in this way. You expressed an interest in learning more about this and I was only trying to respond to this.
      I love the fact that what lies at the bottom of this exchange is the passion we both obviously have to meet the needs of all students. This is never a bad thing and something I feel we should both be commended for.
      I think the personal comments that imply I am rude and I feel I am above anyone are unfortunate. Intellectual debate is great to challenge ones thinking but it should not cross the line to become a personal attack.I have never in any communications with yourself or others indicated that i felt gifted children were to be placed on top of some kind of ‘perceived’ hierarchy. This is not the case.
      I did however point out where I felt your thinking was flawed and provided reasoning behind this. This is an opinion and not a personal attack. A way to challenge ones thinking and develop greater understanding.
      You make an excellent point that statistically there are very few children that would require the kind of interventions that profoundly gifted children do. Does this mean that we don’t discuss these students and the special challenges that they face? Does it mean that their place in the classroom and also in our personal pedagogy is any less valid? Even the 1% deserve to have a voice.
      The whole notion of an elitist approach that you have suggested (assuming your comment about MENSA was purely an emotional response) serves to damage what is already a difficult path. Gifted children are not better then others but they are different. As educators we need recognise this.
      Acknowledging the needs of the gifted doesn’t need to be an either or. Teaching is about being responsive to the needs of your students. My goal is for teachers to be aware of these needs. This was my intention in engaging with you.
      If you choose not to continue this conversation I wish you the best in your teaching career and I hope that our interactions will cause you to reflect more on this issue.

  3. Reblogged this on kristywalker and commented:
    An interesting perspective on giftedness. As a future educator I want to have an array of information in my toolbelt and taking the time to understand different perspectives and their meaning will certainly add to this. Thanks preservicepilgramageponderings!

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