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Gifted children


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Gifted children

  1. 1. GIFTED CHILDREN “ 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)
  2. 2. “Character is higher than intellect…” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  3. 3. Contents: 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.
  4. 4. 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).
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. 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 al., 2007). 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).
  7. 7. 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 al., 2007). 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).
  8. 8. 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).
  9. 9. 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 level. 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).
  10. 10. “Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way…”- Aeneid
  11. 11. Reference List 1. Baldwin, A. & Vialle, W. (1999). The many faces of giftedness: Lifting the masks. Canada: Wadsworth Publishing. 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 Publishing Inc. 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. 9. Images: | : Pharaoh Dubane THIS MATERIAL IS FREE AND MAY BE DISTRIBUTED FREELY. Edited & Supplied by: