“ He was educated in the methods of the Austrian School Reform Movement which advocated the
stimulation of the natural curiosity of children and their development as independent thinkers,
instead of just letting them memorize facts. – Wikipedia (on Ludwig Wittgenstein)
Author: Trudy Stephens, Gifted Children (2001918)
Editor: Pharaoh Dubane (2013829)
Layout: Pharaoh Dubane (2013829)
“Character is higher than intellect…” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
1. Potential positive and negative outcomes of identifying a student as gifted for the
student, teacher and other stakeholders.
2. Positive outcomes for the student.
3. Negative outcomes for the student.
4. Positive outcomes for the teacher.
5. Negative outcomes for the teacher.
6. Positive outcomes for other stakeholders.
7. Negative outcomes for other stakeholders.
8. Questions to be considered to assist the development of gifted children.
9. Reference List.
1. Potential positive and negative outcomes of identifying a student as gifted
for the student, teacher and other stakeholders.
The Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT) is a theory about talent emerging from gifted
abilities through a process of learning and training. Giftedness is defined as having and using untrained
natural abilities in at least one ability area that places the child among the top ten percent of peers of the
same age. Whereas talent is the mastery of developed abilities or skills and knowledge in at least one area
that places the child among the top ten percent of peers of the same age that have been active in that
area for approximately the same amount of time (Gagne, F., 2003).
There are definitely more negative outcomes from being identified as gifted than there are positives. The
student experiences many negative effects of being gifted whether they are identified or not. Most of the
negative outcomes for teachers and other stakeholders are also negative for the student. Many of the
positive outcomes for the teacher can be viewed as negative depending on the teacher’s outlook as it
involves more of the teachers time to accommodate to the gifted. For the parents of a gifted child it must
be heartbreaking for your child not to have friends, have difficulty fitting in, being bullied and the school
may not be addressing these issues and may not be providing a suitable and challenging curriculum.
2. Positive outcomes for the student
There are very few positive outcomes for the student. They all relate to being gifted not to being identified
as gifted. The only positive outcome of being identified as being gifted may come if the child has a
dedicated teacher that provides a challenging curriculum and allows the child to work in their most suited
environment. This could happen if the teacher is tuned-in to each child’s abilities and providing a varied
curriculum to suit, without labelling the child as gifted which only creates more problems than benefits.
Gifted children have been described as being more independent, motivated, flexible, self-accepting, and
psychologically better adjusted than their peers (Clark, B., 2008).
They show an ability to concentrate, remain focused, and resist interruptions (Kay et al., 2007).
Concentration is defined as the ability to shut out irrelevant stimuli and continue working on the same task
(Gagne, F., 2003).
Gifted children also exhibit a prevailing capacity to reason, conceptualise, and think critically (Kay et al.,
2007). It has been reported that gifted children show higher levels of empathy, unselfishness and
consideration for others (Falk, R.F. et al, 1994). They tend to have lower levels of anxiety (Clark, B., 2008).
3. Negative outcomes for the student
There are many negative outcomes of being gifted, these issues become a bigger problem when the child
is labelled as gifted as it further differentiates them from their peers.
Gifted children often set high goals for themselves which can be an asset that pushes them to their
potential. However if goals are unrealistic it can make them feel frustrated, incompetent and inadequate
(Clark, B., 2008). These children have very little in common with their peers and are perceived as being
different (Kay et al., 2007). They are often teased for being different and made to believe that there is
something wrong with them. Others do not understand their extreme energy, excessive sensitivity and
awareness and see them as over-reacting over ‘nothing’ (Piechowski, M., 1997).
Feeling intimidated by their mature vocabulary and not understanding their sophisticated jokes can lead
to harassment from others. This harassment may come from peers or from an adult that feels threatened by
vocabulary, knowledge, or understanding that is broader than their own (Kay et al., 2007).
Other children cannot relate and do not share the same interests as their gifted peers. It is rare for gifted
children to find peers that they can share their deepest thoughts and most passionate interests which
results in the gifted child feeling more comfortable with older children or with adults. It can also lead to the
child having a low social self-perception (Kay et al., 2007).
Trying to fit in and being rejected can cause serious psychological damage which can develop into
depression and suicidal tendencies. They may contemplate doing harm to others as a result of the severe
bullying from being different (Kay et al., 2007).
School work can present more problems for the gifted child. Repetitive tasks that reinforce concepts they
fully understand, low levels of discussion, and inappropriate curriculum being offered can cause the child
to become bored, frustrated and disengage. Even new concepts become boring quickly as the majority
of the class need to perform similar problems over and over again to be able them to understand it.
Homework that is not challenging makes it impossible for a child to develop a decent work ethic or study
skills as they never have a need for these skills. When the child reaches high school or a higher level of study
it becomes increasingly difficult for them to achieve good grades as they have not gradually developed
these skills as they progressed through primary school (Kay et al., 2007).
Group work creates further problems for the gifted child and rarely benefits them academically. The
majority of the time their abilities go beyond those of their peers and they are put in a situation where if
other people in the group do any of the work, the group would get a lower mark. So they either have to do
all the work (which defeats the point) or accept that their marks would be reduced by the group (Kay et
Sometimes the gifted child is grouped with the slowest students to help them achieve better marks.
Sometimes they are put with the bullies to persuade them to get along better, however this could lead to
the bullies getting the opportunity to intimidate the child into doing their work (Kay et al., 2007).
When the situation arises were the children are encouraged to select their own groups this can cause the
gifted child to encounter further problems. As they may not have friends they are put into a group where
they are not wanted (Kay et al., 2007).
A major problem for gifted children in the school setting is the age-grouped classrooms (Clark, B., 2008). For
children to get appropriate educational experiences it would be more beneficial for them to be grouped
according to ability for each subject area.
4. Positive outcomes for the teacher
Positive outcomes for the teacher are only a matter of opinion if the teacher is up for the challenge. It
would involve a lot more time and in some cases the teacher may feel intimidated by the child being
intellectually at their level and possibly above for some teachers.
The needs of gifted and talented children should be recognised and suitable educational programs put in
place to meet these needs. This would greatly benefit the children by engaging them and fulfilling a sense
of competence. Appropriate curriculum will encourage children to work efficiently and effectively. This
would help them to develop good problem-solving skills and see solutions from many viewpoints.
Appropriate learning experiences will allow gifted children to develop academically and intellectually
(Clark, B., 2008).
It is important that assignments are relevant and based on the child’s areas of interest, as well as being
challenging with a focus on high-order thinking. Children need guidance to use high-order thinking skills
and a curriculum that integrates these skills. The curriculum requires appropriate selection of materials,
experiences, and assessment criteria that are suited to the child’s advanced learning rates and need for
complex opportunities (Kay et al., 2007).
The rate of learning must be flexible in each subject area so that it is only increased in the areas that the
child excels in. The learning experiences should be complex enough to be challenging, yet not too
complex that the child has trouble and feels inadequate (Kay et al., 2007).
The child needs opportunities to enhance their abilities, whereas the lack of such opportunities inhibits
development. Equal opportunity does not mean the same opportunity. To provide an equal educational
opportunity for children so they can develop to their fullest potential, each child should be educated at
their level of development (Clark, B., 2008).
Provide opportunities for the gifted child to develop friendships with other children that are at a similar level
of intelligence, even if this means that they work in a higher grade level for some subjects. It is also
beneficial for the child to have the opportunity to have one-on-one interaction with the teacher (Kay et
5. Negative outcomes for the teacher
Negative outcomes for the teacher are also negative outcomes for the child.
Morelock (1996) pointed out that gifted children have special needs as they learn and function differently
and require a different level and type of cognitive stimulation (Clark, B., 2008). They have a need for
differentiated curriculum and will need support to maintain their academic motivation (Kay et al., 2007).
The gifted child is also at a higher risk of adverse effects socially and emotionally (Clark, B., 2008) and may
need counselling to help them cope with being so different from their age peers (Kay et al., 2007).
If gifted children are not given opportunities to participate in real-world issues where they believe they can
make a difference, then they can be reduced to cynicism and antisocial behaviour (Clark, B., 2008).
Behaviour management strategies will often not work as the child will test the limits.
Techniques that appeal to reason, instead of trying to manage the behaviour or the child will be more
effective (Kay et al., 2007).
Gifted children may become sensitive and have an intense reaction when routines are not predictable
(Piechowski, M., 1997). Children with autism also have severe reactions when there are disruptions to their
routine (Dodd, S., 2005).
When a child’s development is limited it can lead to both physical and psychological dysfunction.
Restricting children to move beyond what they have previously accomplished makes them become
bored, discouraged, frustrated, and angry and feel diminished (Clark, B., 2008).
The child may either withdraw all together or become angry and hostile toward those who take a long
time to understand concepts. This can lead to social isolation, reduced self-esteem, and feeling frustrated
that they are not learning anything. The children are then at risk of feeling like they are not important
enough to have their needs met (Kay et al., 2007).
Children become non-productive in school if not challenged and when learning periods are time-based
and do not allow for task completion (Kay et al., 2007). Many gifted children do not perform to their tested
ability. Some studies have found that between 10 and 20% of students that do not complete high school
have previously been recognised as gifted. Being gifted is no reassurance of academic success.
Underachievement may be the result of the child perceiving that there is too much pressure to perform
academically from the teacher and/or parent; having a parent that is not well educated or does not
value education; having a sibling that is faultless; the child rebelling; inappropriate curriculum; the attitudes
of others; or a disability (Rimm, S., 2003).
Intelligent underachievers often have an interest in extra curricula activities that are different to their peers
this interest further isolates them from their peers and makes them socially withdrawn (Kay et al., 2007).
Gifted children may feel uncomfortable in larger group situations as large-group mentality often leads to
bullying about the child’s differences, this is less likely to occur in small groups (Kay et al., 2007).
6. Positive outcomes for other stakeholders
There are very few positive outcomes for the family of a gifted child.
Robinson (1999) reported that younger siblings of a gifted child have less anxiety and were considered to
be well behaved, have social competence, and show few signs of behaviour problems (Clark, B., 2008).
This could be due to the fact that gifted children often get along well in sibling relationships and prefer
one-on-one play situations (Kay et al., 2007).
A child’s environment can have a positive or a negative impact. Environmental catalysts can include
geographical, socio-economic and family aspects. Chance plays a major role on the environment that the
child is exposed to (Gagne, F., 2003).
7. Negative outcomes for other stakeholders
The negative outcomes for the family of gifted a child are also negatives for the child.
Research about parents of students who underachieve has indicated a series of negatives. Some reports
mention inconsistent, overly strict, or overly indulgent domestic discipline to be contributing factors to
underachievement. Other research suggests that conflicting attitudes between the parents can also lead
to underachieving. Common characteristics of parents of underachievers include unresponsiveness, lack
of interest, poor relationships that show little or no affection, and do not value education (Kay et al., 2007).
Gifted children in a low socio economic population encounter further problems as many people have the
attitude that giftedness cannot exist in this population. Also resources to assist these children are often
limited. Gifted children in these populations often exhibit an external locus of control which means they
believe that their actions have no relationship to what happens to them (Clark, B., 2008).
Gifted children can also have a disability such as visual or hearing impaired, communication or behaviour
disordered, emotionally disturbed, physically disabled, and learning disabled (Clark, B., 2008).
Sometimes families do not allow the gifted child to pursue unique activities as they feel that they would be
of no interest to or beyond the capability of other siblings (Clark, B., 2008).
Many gifted children end up being home-schooled as often the school curriculum does not meet the
needs of these children (Kay et al., 2007).
Labelling a child as gifted can result in high expectations from parents, teachers and the child. This
labelling can make parents that do not have a good educational background feel inadequate to guide
their child’s development. The label can result in unrealistic expectations and the assumption that the child
should be gifted in all areas (Clark, B., 2008). I believe that all children are better off not to be labelled and
just given the opportunity to work and develop at their own pace and at a challenging yet achievable
8. Questions to be considered to assist the development of gifted children
1. Are gifted children more likely to experience emotional problems?
2. Do the characteristics of gifted children cause them to become socially isolated?
3. What can the families and teachers of gifted children do to support gifted children?
4. What is required to allow gifted children to reach their potential and be productive? (Baldwin, A.
& Vialle, W., 1999).
“Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way…”- Aeneid
1. Baldwin, A. & Vialle, W. (1999). The many faces of giftedness: Lifting the masks. Canada:
2. Clark, B. (2008). Growing Up Gifted, Los Angeles: Pearson Education, Inc.
3. Dodd, S. (2005). Understanding Autism, NSW, Australia: Elsevier.
4. Falk, R.F., Piechowski, M. & Lind, S. (1994). Criteria for Rating Intensity of Overexcitabilities (Manual),
unpublished manuscript, Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin.
5. Gagne, F. (2003). Transforming gifts into talents: The DMGT as a developmental theory. In N.
Colangelo & G. Davis (Eds.). Handbook of gifted education (3rd edition). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
6. Kay, Robson and Fort Brenneman. (2007). High IQ Kids, United States of America, Free Spirit
7. Piechowski, M. (1997). Emotional giftedness: The measure of intrapersonal intelligence. In N.
Colangelo & G. Davis (Eds.). Handbook of gifted education (2nd edition). Needham Heights, MA:
Allyn & Bacon.
8. Rimm, S. (2003). Underachievement: A national epidemic. In N. Colangelo & G. Davis (Eds.).
Handbook of gifted education (3rd edition). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
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