If you have every worked with, talked to, or taught a child who was gifted you know one thing right away…they think differently than other children. As I sit here in my classroom writing this, I can recall several instances where gifted children think differently, divergently, and with more complexity than their counterparts.
Here is a list of characteristics that I see from the gifted children I teach:
- Gifted children have a large vocabulary
- Gifted children are more able to connect interdisciplinary issues together from different subjects
- Gifted children can learn at a faster rate and retain more information that an average student
- Gifted children have the ability reason, read and write at an early age
- Gifted children great curiosity compared to their peers.
At times gifted children have been criticized because they are not social. I feel that they have this because of the way they learn. Gifted children have a larger vocabulary than their peers. Gifted children also have more knowledge about how things are and can reason well. With this characteristics makes them more apt to social with adults than with peers their own age. Gifted children don’t get much out of conversations with their peers when the have to be the teacher. They would rather be an active participant in a conversation and get their drive for knowledge fulfilled.
I know that some gifted children don’t meet all of the characteristics above. Some children are labeled as Twice Exceptional. These are gifted children who have a disability at the same time. They may have ADD, ADHD, or a learning disability. I feel that this group of students are under-represented in our schools. Sometimes teacher can look at a student who has a learning disability and wonder how they can be gifted. That’s not right. We shouldn’t ever let a disability out weigh the giftedness of any student. Teachers and parents need to make sure that these children are receiving the correct services to meet their needs. We are intrusted to make sure our children get the best education they can get. To get more information on twice exceptional children and some of their issues go to the National Association for Gifted Children. Thier website is chalked full of resources for all gifted children.
We do know that all children learn in a certain way. I think it is important to tap into that and see how they learn. If you are a proponent of multiple intelligence, then you know there are many different surveys and inventories that students can take to show where their strengths are. When we know what their learning strengths are, it will allow us teachers to prepare lessons and activities that would meet those needs.
To conclude, gifted children learn differently, which means we need to teach differently.