Characteristics of gifted students

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Common characteristics of gifted children.

Common characteristics of gifted children.

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  • E. Susanne Richert (1991)
  • Susanne Richert. These negative traits are associated with creativity because creative students have high tolerance for ambiguity, are independent, divergent thinkers, are risk takers, and are imaginative and sensitive
  • Professor and author of The Universe in a Nutshell. Holds 12 honorary degrees.
  • Mattie has always had three wishes: to have his poems published, to meet his hero Jimmy Carter and to share his message of peace on The Oprah Winfrey Show . Why? “Because they last forever”
  • First Ms. America with a disability (1995). Deaf at age 18 mo. Due to reaction to diphtheria vaccine


  • 2. Gifted and talented students may exhibit positive and/or negative characteristics. Positive characteristics include --
  • 3. Intellectual ABILITY
  • 4.
    • Uses advanced reasoning skills
    • Has extensive and detailed memory
    • Answers questions in detail
    • Wants to learn and is very curious
    • Makes logical inferences, draws conclusions based on sound reasoning
    • Understands abstract ideas and complex concepts
    • Learns new information quickly
    • Applies prior knowledge to problem solving
  • 5. I.Q. Scales
    • Highly Gifted student 145-159
    • Moderately Gifted student 130-144
    • Mildly Gifted student 115-129
    • The average I.Q. is 100.
  • 7.
    • Has an intense, sustained interest
    • Completes academic work correctly/unassisted
    • Contributes to academic discussions
    • Excels in one or more subject areas
    • Has hobbies/collections related to field
    • Has an inquisitive nature and
    • asks relevant questions
    • Demonstrates knowledge of facts in one or more academic areas
    • Demonstrates knowledge about current events
  • 8. Creative ability
  • 9.
    • Has active imagination
    • Is emotionally sensitive (i.e. to beauty)
    • Brings inventive/innovative approach to problems
    • Generates “what if” questions
    • Experiments with ideas
    • Is a nonconformist, uninhibited in expression, adventurous
    • Is a risk taker
    • Comfortable not having the “correct” answer
    • Constructs jokes, clever plays on words, ironic observations
  • 10. Artistic Talent … specialized
  • 11.
    • Produces imaginative/original art
    • Appreciates subtle variations in artistic products or performances
    • Seems to pick up skills in the arts with little or no instruction
    • Art performance/products marked by detail, complexity, richness
    • Concentrates for long periods of time on artistic projects
    • Expresses emotion in art
    • Communicates effectively via artistic media
  • 12. Leadership Ability
  • 13.
    • Acts responsibly in social situations
    • Has a cooperative attitude
    • Projects positive image to peers
    • Earns respect and trust of others
    • Is self-confident
    • Gets others to work together
    • Maintains on-task focus
    • Takes charge in group situations
    • Is visionary – has a holistic view
    • Can do backwards planning
  • 15.
    • Shows pride in work
    • Wants to perform at highest possible level
    • Reacts to challenges enthusiastically
    • Approaches situations expecting to do well
    • Places high value on mastery
    • Works tenaciously, not easily discouraged
    • Sets challenging goals
    • Strives to improve
    • Attempts tasks above current skill level
  • 16.  
  • 17. How Can I Tell The Difference Between High Achievers & Gifted Students?
  • 18. HIGH ACHIEVERS… Know the Answers Enjoy School Grasp Meaning Copy Accurately Have Good Ideas Absorb Information Achieve Mastery in 3-8 Repetitions GIFTED STUDENTS… Ask the questions Enjoy Learning Draw Inferences Create New Designs Have Unexpected Ideas Manipulate Information Achieve Mastery in 1-2 Repetitions
  • 19. Negative Characteristics
    • Some characteristics of gifted students often keep them out of G/T programs. This can be related to teacher misidentification.
    • Teachers tend to identify “teacher-pleasers” as gifted and ignore some gifted kids with “annoying” behaviors.
  • 20. General Definition of a Teacher Pleaser
    • A Teacher Pleaser is a student who has and/or does all the nice, pleasing, helpful, and considerate things in class as well as bails you out of uncomfortable situations when possible. This student achieves high grades in class AND scores in the 90 th percentile or above on standard achievement tests. Teacher Pleasers may vary from class to class.
  • 21. “ Teacher Pleaser or Gifted?
  • 22. “ The extremely bright or the creative, curious, and questioning students, who may be stubborn, rule-breaking, egotistical or otherwise high in nuisance value, may not be the teachers’ favorites, but they sometimes are the most gifted.” Gary Davies and Sylvia Rimm
  • 23. Negative Characteristics of Creativity
    • Being bored with routine tasks, refusing to do rote homework.
    • Not being interested in details, handing in messy work
    • Making jokes or puns at inappropriate times
  • 24. Negative Characteristics of Motivation
    • Being emotionally sensitive, overreacting, getting angry easily, or crying if things go wrong
  • 25. Negative Characteristics of Critical Thinking
    • Being self-critical and impatient with failure
    • Being critical of others, even of the teacher
  • 26. General Definition of a Potentially Gifted Student
    • A Potentially Gifted student is a student who is pleased with original work, right or wrong, and who is strongly opinionated regarding moral issues. This student may also possess all, some or none of the labels associated with the Teacher Pleaser.
  • 27. Teacher Pleaser… Knowledgeable Completes all work Writes well One of the first to respond Asks “safe” questions Time is important Potentially GIFTED STUDENT… Has much factual information May not show neatness or order in work Anticipates outcomes May disagree with teacher or textbook answers May frequently respond in an elaborate manner May not want to stop working on a task
  • 28. OVER-Achievers Are Typically TEACHER-PLEASERS (They turn in homework…) … Many Gifted Kids Are NOT! (Homework? What homework?)
  • 29. A Matter of Perspective
  • 30. CHARACTERISTICS OF Giftedness in Persons with Disabilities … and other challenges
  • 31.
    • Characteristics of Intellectually and Academically Gifted/
    • Physically Disabled Youth
    • • Advanced lexicon
      • • Broad knowledge base
      • • Advanced memory skills
      • • Excellent abstract-thinking skills
      • • High level of determination
      • • Curiosity
      • • Creative problem-solving skills
      • • Nontraditional means of expression to convey intellectual ability
      • • Ability to compensate for disability
      • • Preference for gifted programs
      • • Forceful personality
      • • Perfectionism
      • • High level of emotional stress, self-criticism, and dissatisfaction with society
    Stephen Hawking
  • 32.
    • Characteristics of Creatively and Artistically
    • Gifted/ Physically Disabled Youth
      • Sense of humor
      • Adjustment skills
      • Swift comprehension of new ideas
      • Active imagination
      • Artistic/Visual appreciation
      • Precocious ability to gain new theoretical perspectives
    Mattie Stepanek
  • 33.
    • Characteristics of Gifted/Visually Impaired Gifted Youth
      • • High task commitment
      • • Perceptive to the environment
      • • Precocious ability to learn Braille/Computer Skills
      • • Love of reading
      • • Creative thought process
      • • Tendency to work on grade level
      • • Strong communication skills
    Helen Keller
  • 34.
    • Characteristics of Gifted/Hearing Impaired Youth
      • • Tendency to work on grade level
      • • Good sense of humor
      • • Intuition
      • • Poor speaking ability
      • • Ingenious problem- solving skills
      • Clearly symbolic language capabilities
      • No literal explanations necessary
    Heather Whitestone
  • 35.
    • Characteristics of Gifted/ADHD Youth
      • • Inattentiveness
      • • Impulsive/hyperactive conduct
      • • Eagerness
      • • Compassion
      • • Fidgetiness
      • • Minimal need of sleep
      • • Strong-mindedness since early childhood
      • • Difficulty with lengthy assignments
  • 36. Many Characteristics Of The Highly Creative Are ALSO Characteristics of ADHD Inattention and Daydreaming Sensation Seeking Inability to Finish Projects Hyperactivity Enthusiasm and Playfulness Difficult Temperament Deficient Social Skills Hypersensitivity to Stimulation Mood Swings
  • 37.
    • General Characteristics of Gifted/Low Socio-Economic Youth
      • • High mathematical abilities
      • • Imaginative storytelling, using language rich in imagery
      • • Sense of humor
      • • Resourcefulness: the ability to solve problems by ingenious methods
      • • Alertness, curiosity
      • • Originality and creativity in thinking
      • • Leadership ability in peer group
      • • Ability to generalize learning to other areas and to show relationships among apparently unrelated ideas
      • Initiative and eagerness to do new things
      • Barbara Clark, Growing Up Gifted , sixth ed.
    Maya Angelou Photo/David (News Service Umberger)
  • 38. Gifted Characteristics Associated with ESL (English as Second Language) Students
      • Reads two grades above in native language
      • Has advanced knowledge of idioms and native dialects with ability to translate and explain meanings
      • Keeps busy and entertained, especially by imaginative games and ingenious applications
      • Exhibits leadership ability, although in an unobtrusive manner; often best observed in non-traditional settings, e.g. playground, church, home, sports, clubs
      • Accepts responsibilities at home normally reserved for older children
      • Enjoys intelligent and/or effective risk-taking behavior, often accompanied by a sense of drama
      • Demonstrates a strong sense of pride in cultural heritage
      • Eagerly shares native culture
  • 39. Even “more” Characteristics That Conceal Giftedness
  • 40. “ Questionable” HUMOR – bizarre, absurd, cynical, inappropriate
  • 41. Sometimes obsessed with Specific Interest Area and Nothing Else --often unusual interest --passionate --sometimes fleeting Once they completely SATURATE their focus, they move on to something new
  • 42. Frustration with inability to master certain academic skills
  • 43. DISRUPTIVE Classroom Behavior
  • 44. Daydreaming Lack of Concentration Not Listening
  • 45. Perfectionism “ If it can’t be perfect I won’t do it at all, or I’ll intentionally do a poor job. I’d rather have a “zero” than a “B” or “C.”
  • 46.
    • In the Classroom Some Gifted Kids –
    • Can easily become bored with routine assignments.
    • May want to do things his/her own way—why not?
    • Can become a real pest.
    • May notice the teacher’s lack of inconsistency with “But you said we should always…”
    • May not always pay close attention to directions.
    • Can make jokes at adults’ expense.  Not everyone appreciates this.
    • Sometimes TOO innovative.
  • 47.
    • Restless, inattentive, disturbing others
    • Poor in Spelling, careless in handwriting,
    • inaccurate in Math because they are impatient with details requiring rote learning or drill.
    • Lackadaisical in completing or handing in
    • assignments and can be indifferent to classroom work when not interested.
    • Outspokenly critical of both themselves and
    • others, an attitude which often alienates adults
    • as well as peers.
    • Can become too bossy and be unwilling to listen to the opinions of others.
  • 48. Super Sensitivity
  • 49. Lack of Organizational Skills
  • 51. Absence of Social Skills With Peers
  • 52. The Chameleon This student masks his abilities for many reasons – peer pressure, fitting in, the “Sport’s JOCK” syndrome. Sadly, many of the chameleons secretly long to learn and pursue their unique interests.
  • 53. Underachievement is common affecting 20% to 50% of gifted students
  • 54. Most Potentially Gifted Students Who Underachieve -
    • Encounter external and internal barriers in school and self
    • Have not had opportunities to understand their interests, strengths, styles, and deficits
    • Fear failure so do not take risks
    • May feel powerless due to age and maturity to make changes
  • 55. The child who does well in school, gets good grades, wins awards, and “performs” beyond the norm is considered talented. The child who does not, no matter what his innate intellectual capacities or developmental level, is less and less likely to be identified, less and less likely to be served. More and more, “gifted” is perceived as synonymous with (and limited to) academic achievement.
  • 56. There is no ONE indicator of giftedness. Gifted and talented children are found in expected AND unexpected places. However, it is important to always remember that…
  • 57. the gifted child is a CHILD First!
  • 58. Acknowledgements
    • Patricia Hesse – Gifted/Talented Coordinator, grades 2-12 for Weiner Public Schools, Arkansas (slide format)
    • Shirley Kohl – CMS Elementary Talent Development Specialist (revision, editing)
    • Sally Reis – Professor & department head of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut (research)
    • Linda Silverman – Leading expert in the field of gifted education and author of Counseling the Gifted and Talented (research)
    • Susan K. Johnsen – Professor in Department of Educational Psychology at Baylor University. Director of Ph.D. Program and programs related to gifted and talented education. (research)
    • E. Susanne Richert – Director, federal contract on national identification methods (research)