What does it mean to be Gifted/Talented?
Giftedness is something you cannot develop. Gifted children are born with the capacity for knowledge. For them, learning and understanding come naturally. For teachers and educational professionals, the process of identifying gifted and talented children may be a problem because they are not a homogeneous group. Giftedness refers to human preferences such as intellectual or creative abilities and talent is shown in the field of human activities such as mathematics, literature or music. Parents often have information about their children’s abilities and can be a very useful source of information in recognizing a child as gifted/talented. Louis and Levis (1992) found that parents correctly identified their child as gifted 61% of the time, with the remaining 39% correct because their children had progressed but did not meet the criteria for giftedness.
Bright child or gifted child?
Fostering challenges in children’s learning
Deborah Eire identified the following:
- Plan, do and review: Plan more systematically, be more critical and analytical in the review phase.
- Work on harder texts and use a wider range of information: Children need content to explore more, from multiple sources to seek information.
- Imaginative recording: Encourage children to explore presenting written information more imaginatively
- Roleplay: motivate children to interpret and empathize with different people and situations.
- Problem-solving and testing tasks: Encourage children to explore alternatives to problem-solving and explore real-life problems.
- Choosing how to handle content: Competent children can often think of more unusual and challenging lines of inquiry.
- Decision making: Children can be given an outline of a task and then given the choice of how to develop and record their ideas.
- No correct answer: Children are asked to research extensively and then use critical skills to consider the pros and cons of the argument.
- Using a single text or artifact: Limiting stimuli can help children look more closely, think more deeply, and imaginatively.
What Learners Like To Do:
Social and Emotional issues in the development of gifted children:
At times there can be the perception that children who have been identified as gifted or talented (gifted and talented children) are blessed with special qualities and advantages that will help them to succeed and make life easier for them. However, there is growing recognition that being gifted can bring with it challenges for social and emotional development, and those who are gifted are just as much in need of support as their peers in dealing with emotions, self-perception, behavior and in looking to the future.
Several studies have collected a checklist of the most frequently occurring socioemotional problems:
- Difficulty with social relationships; isolation from peers
- Conformity pressures; hiding or down-playing talents to gain acceptance from peer group
- Anxiety; depression
- Difficulty in accepting criticism
- Nonconformity and resistance to authority
- Excessive competitiveness
- Difficulty in understanding the nature and significance of intellectual differences
- Intellectual frustration in day-to-day and life situations
- Confusion and stress in considering a future vocation or career, especially where the student has a diversity of interests and talents
- Difficulty in developing a satisfying philosophy of life.
– Delisle (1992); Landrum (1987); Silverman (1983) –
Using Questions to promote effective learning and critical thinking
Questions that seek clarification:
- Can you explain that…? Explaining
- What do you mean by…? Defining
- Can you give me an example of of…? Giving examples
- How does that help…? Supporting
- Does anyone have a question…? Enquiring
Questions that probe reasons and evidence
- Why do you think that…? Forming argument
- How do we know that…? Assumptions
- What are your reasons…? Reasons
- Do you have evidence…? Evidence
- Can you give me an example/counter-example…?Counterexamples
Questions that explore alternative views
- Can you put it another way…? Re-stating a view
- Is there another point of view…? Speculation
- What if someone were to suggest that…? Alternative Views
- What would someone who disagreed with you say…? Counter argument
- What id the difference between those views/ideas…? Distinctions
Questions that test implications and consequences
- What follows from what you say…? Implications
- Does that fit with what we said earlier…? Consistency
- What would be the consequences of that…? Consequences
- Is there a general rule for that…? Generalizing rules
- How could you test to see if it were true…? Testing the truth
Questions about the question/discussion
- Do you have a question about that…? Questioning
- What kind of question is it…? Analyzing
- How does what was said help us…? Connecting
- Where have we got to…? Summarising
- Who can summarise so far…? Summarising
- Are we any closer to answering the question…? Drawing conclusions
Sources: Adapted from Teaching Thinking – Philosophical Enquiry in the classroom by Fisher (1998) –
Characteristics of Gifted Learners, SEVA Council of Gifted Administrators
Gifted and talented children in (and out) of the classroom, A report for the Council of Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA)