Gifted children are complicated.
I have been reading some interesting stuff about the personality traits of gifted students. I came across a chapter on it, (Betts, G.T. & Neihart, M. (1988). Profiles of the gifted and talented. Gifted Child Quarterly, 32(2), 248–253.) I thought about my students. I can see some of the personality traits that Betts and Neihart discuss in this article in my classroom, and in my home. Now, I know that it is an old article, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the information is not out dated.
Editor’s Note: (Thanks to Margaret Sutherland (@tanzania8) for giveing me the 2010 updated version of Betts and Neihart Matrix.)
6 Different Personality Traits
Type 1: The successful
These students are the typical gifted students. They demonstrate the needs, behavior, and feelings of a typical gifted student. These students would be the high achievers in any classroom. These students are well liked by their peers and teachers. These students have figured out the system of school. They know what to do with little effort, but show success. They go through the motions of school. These students have a dependence on teachers and parents. They have no autonomy.
What makes these students so complicated is the fact they don’t know they have deficiencies because of all the praise they get from teachers. These students will mostly likely be under archiver adults. They don’t have the skills, or desire to be a life long learner. They are adjusted to society, but not how much it changes.
Type 2: The Creative
These students are divergent learners. They are creative, sarcastic, and sometimes obstinate. These students are classified as “challenger” because they will challenge parents and teachers. They don’t conform to the system of school nor have they figured out how to make the system work for them, unlike Type 1 students.
These students are frustrated because they feel their talents and abilities are not noticed by teachers. These are the students who suffer from low-self esteem. They don’t receive many rewards or honors. Sometimes they are not included with their friends because of the challenges they bring to the group.
What makes these students so complicated is the fact they can be spontaneous and fun to be around which draws peers to their side. That same spontaneous behavior that draws students also can be disruptive in the classroom to students who do want to learn.
Type 2 students see them selves as negative and full conflict. Many students who are classified as type 2 students are later found to be drop-outs by the time they are in high school.
Type 3: The Underground
These students hide their giftedness. Most of the time, in middle school these students are females. By high school some males fall into this category because of the pressure to pursue sports. By in large this group is female who hide their gifts and talents to fit in with the non-gifted crowd. These girls are anxious and insecure. They begin this change in middle school, and pushing these students can make them abandon their talents and gifts even more.
What makes these students so complicated is the fact they have gifts and talents, and they purposely choose to ignore those just to fit in. They change who they are to be something they are not.
Type 4: The At-Risk
Type 4 students are typically angry. They are angry at the school, teachers, and parents because they feel like they have failed them. These students struggle with the feeling of being rejected. They will show their feeling of being rejected through anger, depression, and sometimes being withdrawn.
These students were identified as gifted late, probably in high school, and because of that, traditional methods of instruction won’t work. These students will need a strong adult who they can trust. They will also need group and one-to-one counseling.
Type 5: The Twice/Multi Exceptional
The students in this group are emotionally, physically or have a learning disablility. These students can be twice-exceptional, or may have dyslexia. These students are gifted, but they don’t show it, or schools don’t recognize it. Sometimes these students are refered to remedial labs for additional help.
Sometimes these students are frustrated, angry, and isolated. These students struggle with low self-esteem, and have a hard time of understanding their inability to perform well in school. These students manage some of that anger by saying theat a subject or activity they don’t do well in is “boring” or “stupid”.
Type 6: The Autonomous Learner
The students who fall into this category are gifted students who like to learn on their own. This would be more commonly seen at home. These students have mastered the school system, and have figured out how to use it to make more opportunities for themselves, unlike Type 1 learners.
These students except who they are. They push themselves to achieve. They are confident to make their own goals, and educational programs. They are risk takers. These students know they can change their own lives, and don’t wait for others to lead them to do it. They are able to express themselves, take ownership of their education, and create their own goals, and direct their own path.
What type of students do you see in your classroom? What about your own gifted children at home? I have seen most of these in my classroom. I have a few of my own gifted children who fall into a few of these categories. I love this article, just for the fact that it created patterns of characteristics as a guide. I see this information as a way to identify these students so we can create the right opportunities for these students. We don’t want to have any drop-outs. I want to see more and more gifted students succeed, and male a huge impact for society as a whole.
What do you think? Do you think gifted children are complicated?