This post will be focusing on getting to know the gifted child so we can better understand who these children are, where they are coming from, and how they see themselves. Gifted children are so different. You won’t really find two that are the same. Many have the same qualities, but not necessarily in the same way.
Identifying who are gifted children are is the first step. Below is a chart that will help us first see the difference between a high achiever, a gifted learner, and a creative thinker. Each of these students are different. A high achiever is someone who is very smart; a gifted learner is one who is gifted; and a creative thinker is another type of gifted child. Each have their own characteristics. I would urge you to read through this chart and see if you can spot children in your classroom with some of these characteristics.
It is important to know who your gifted children are. They have many different complicated sides about them. Gifted children will often where masks that will allow them to hide. To the left is a short handout I received several years ago and have shared this with many around the district. Sometimes students don’t fit the mold of gifted child that many have come to think of. There are 5 areas that students can hid that will keep them from fitting that stereotype or mold:
- Asynchronous Development: These are students who can learn much more quickly than the average student, by socially they are not there. Mind and maturity have not met yet.
- Intensity: Some students are much more intense than others. There is a popular theorist named Kazimierz Dabrowski who created a theory that gifted children fall into 5 different Intensities, or Overexcitabilities as he called them. You can read more about that here.
- Social Isolation: Many times gifted children feel more isolated from their peers because of their advanced vocabulary, interests, and at times find their peers to be difficult to be around.
- Underachievement: This is when a child chooses not to perform to expectations of either the peers around them.
- Communication: Gifted children and average learners find it difficult to get along because of the gap in vocabulary and interest. Gifted children will often prefer to talk to adults than classmates.
Knowing the gifted children in your class, and them knowing themselves is an important aspect. Dr. Jim Delisle has come up with a short questionnaire that would help to understand where these children are coming from, and how they see themselves. Understanding how you see the giftedness of your students, and knowing how they see their own giftedness is a big deal. I hope that you check out the Teacher and Student Inventory below. It isn’t very long, but I believe it will be very helpful.
You can access this Teacher and Student Inventory by clicking on the link below.
I would love to hear what some of your thoughts are about this inventory and if it was helpful in your classroom.