What about the Label?


In a school setting there are so many labels that get tossed around (good and bad): SP.ED., jock, athlete, band-nerd, geek, teacher’s pet, cheerleader, and bully. But one that seems to get a lot of attention by many. This label that is placed on children who are different than many of their peers. That label is gifted.

cloud-giftedis2Being a student with the gifted label comes with many different connotations. Some will say that since you are gifted everything comes easy for you. Some will say you are the teachers pet since you tutor all the other students. Some will say you are embodying elitism, since you have a label that sets you apart from others.

The language people use to describe the concept of intellectual giftedness and talent shows just how comfortable they are with the label of gifted.  Our society is based on talent, and put a price on talent. If you watch any sporting event you will hear the commentators describe just how gifted and talented the athlete or team is. You can see just much talent is worth when you Google the net worth of famous athletes.

When it comes to educational talent and giftedness the words seem to be less positive. We don’t hear to often about the net worth of giftedness like we do in athletics. I think it is because it goes back to classifying children and adults. When you wear the gifted label you are expected to be a certain way. I also think the gifted label comes with a negative view of cliquicishness, and elitism. It seems when you label one group “gifted” you labeling everyone else “ungifted.”

It doesn’t matter if you like the label or not. It is part of our culture and society. There is nothing wrong with having intellectual abilities, just like there is nothing wrong with having athletic giftedness. As teachers and parents we need to prepare our children for the negative and positive connotations of the gifted label. The child will wear the label regardless. We need them to understand what the label means, and how to carry it so it doesn’t define who they are.

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One thought on “What about the Label?

  1. Tiffany

    Exactly! I had someone say to me this week “what *is* gifted anyway?” It took everything in me not to reply matter of factly “an IQ in the 98+ percentile.” Maybe next time I won’t hold back! I think the problem lies in insecurity: not everyone has had the opportunity to play a specific sport, but everyone has had multiple opportunities to do math.

    Reply

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