Voices of Gifted Children

Resilience may get strengthened by high emotional development, advanced cognition, and strong mental wellbeing. However, they do not protect us from trauma. Anyone can undergo psychological injuries from neglect, abuse, and violence. Bullying behaviors can also cause injuries, including trauma in some cases (Gray, 2019). Gifted students could be experiencing more victimization resulting from bullying than non-gifted. In research, Peterson et al. (2006) reveal two-thirds of gifted students have experienced bullying significantly related to the emotional impact and violent thoughts by eighth grade. That is more than double bullying incidents in the overall population ((Reiney, 2016). Similarly, Ronksley et al. (2019) identified a direct proportional between giftedness and victimization. The more gifted a student is, the greater the likelihood he/she will experience oppression.

Giftedness can be both an asset and a vulnerability when these students respond to developmental challenges.  It is critical that educators and parents go hand in hand to end the cycle of violence and keep youth safe. A number of myths about gifted students themselves and programs designed to serve these students tend to inhibit educators, parents, and students themselves from developing their creativity and expertise (Sheffield, 2017). This paper discusses some of the myths that can impact gifted students' development, understanding and/or are well-intentioned solutions with unintended consequences and includes research results from other studies designed to counteract these myths and maximize students' achievement and engagement.

All Children Are Gifted

The myth that ‘all children are gifted’ is not true rather, it exerts pressure on other children who are not gifted. My understanding of the word gifted is the same as able, talented, and exceptionally able. Also, giftedness might be a result of diligence and a high motivational level. Zimmerman and Martinez-Pons (1990) found that gifted children have a higher self-efficacy and achievement level than non-gifted children. Similarly, Subotnik et al. (2011) noted gifted children to be persistent and have higher motivation in their priority areas. They give promise of hard work at a high order (Scager, 2012). I agree that all children have strengths, but only some are gifted. By gifted children, we mean one who is far more educable than the generality of children is. This greater educability may lie along the continuum of high self-efficacy. 

Meta-cognition is crucial in giftedness (Hampson, 2009). Further, giftedness refers to domains of human abilities, talents to domains of human accomplishments (Schindler, 2017).

It is difficult to make a judgment on a belief that 'all children are gifted.' However, in a study of culture-dependent predictors of teacher’s attitudes towards gifted education, Tirri et al. (2002) identified that all children are gifted. Since there is no finished product when it comes to research on gifted children and how we are able to meet their needs (Zanetti, 2019), some researchers consider these groups to be vulnerable and are more often involved in situations of harassment as victims (Casino-García, (2019). I understand that everyone has a gift or talent, but the real challenge is finding and grooming it accordingly. We also need to consider how we work with the field of education in general.

Giftedness is innate, and High IQ

There is some truth in this idea that some abilities are innate and tend to appear early given the right circumstances. Neurosciences also corroborate physiological differences in the brain of gifted kids as their brain has the ability to perform more intellectually and purposefully (Geake, 2008). But there are some gifts that demand life experiences before they can thrive. Children possess domain-specific natural abilities, but giftedness becomes visible in challenging and supportive environments (Gagne, 2004). Ng et al. (2016) added that environmental factors and performance influence beliefs about abilities and knowledge, affecting giftedness development. According to Bandura, (1978) exception in student’s performance is dependent to proper interaction of personal, behavioral and environmental variables. These students face the fear and humiliation of verbal, physical, and relational aggression and, as a result, often suffer psychological ill effects (Tenenbaum, 2011). 

In the early years’ experience plays a key role in nourishing innate abilities ((Graeme, 2018) as the brain remains evolving during that time (Hunt, 2012). Children exposed to a supportive environment during their early years articulate more domain-specific abilities and motivation, which can be used to develop their innate gifts (Shore, 2009). Additionally, challenging environments and opportunities are important for efficient brain development and to utilize those abilities to their full potential. Dai (2020) described that giftedness is not something fixed and unchangeable and stressed the unfolding and transforming the unusual potential among young children into exceptional performance.   

In my opinion, giftedness is not about high IQ rather, and it is more than that. According to Pfeiffer (2008), IQ tests assess students’ cognitive ability; however, students’ potential abilities vary around a variety of subjects and skills in life, which may not be measured through IQ. Moreover, IQ scores do not remain the same as children go through different situations and ages. By recognizing giftedness, we are not assessing fixed and unchangeable humans rather, we are searching for development in abilities subjected to change due to conscious training (Winner, 1996). Moreover, we emphasize a growth orientation and outline the importance of considering giftedness as a process-based entity (Lo, 2019). IQ tests measure a relatively narrow band of abilities. Children from immigrant communities may not have the cultural or linguistic background to show their abilities. According to Renzulli (2012), students’ exceptional talent such as motivation, creativity, and task engagement cannot be quantified what IQ does. What if some of our exceptional students become bored or confused because they can spot alternative answers that the test devisers had not appreciated. These students may need enhanced psychological support. 

A single assessment can identify giftedness

Identification of giftedness is vital to ensure the effective implementation of the gifted education program. It requires different considerations to make the plan equitable, affordable, reasonable, and practicable for the students who designed it (Callahan, 2012). According to Sternberg (2017) identification is not just labelling gifted and not gifted rather it is conclusion of providing favorable opportunities, assistance and support. Moreover, it is not a single-step assessment but a complete process to identify and accelerate students learning in a preferred direction (Worrell, 2013).

There are individual differences in student’s abilities, potentials, interests, and progress. Winkler and Voight (2016) identified the over-excitable nature of gifted persons. Additionally, giftedness is not about typical abilities; it is something about the exception that ranges around a different aspect of life. There is a good all-rounder, but some talented students excel in only one area of the curriculum or a group of closely related subjects such as science or humanities (Goodhew, 2009). Therefore, it can be difficult to make accurate assessments of children’s potentials. Hence Moon (2013) finds non-traditional assessments such as portfolio and performance-based assessments more useful to comprehend what students know in the particular subject area and how they can interpret, apply and evaluate that knowledge in the field.

According to Falaschi (2019), assessment tasks should provide a maximum chance for gifted students to show predictable results in specific domains besides providing feedback on their performance. Different assessments can be developed to provide an equal chance for each student to perform specific to different subjects to assess different skills in that area. Tests of general ability such as IQ tests can be used with talent. As these are less dependent on the teaching, a child has received and provided a picture of underlying ability. 

Dori (2018) examined students to the gifted programs based on standardized tests are gender fair. They showed that open-ended tools for analyzing students' scientific thinking might better serve both research and practice by identifying gifted girls and boys equally well. Some practitioners, Kaufman (2012) advocate using creativity assessments to identify a student with creative potentials- those able to think, do or make something different, the very people our world needs. They review the state of the creativity assessment, from divergent thinking tests to the consensual assessment technique to rating scales and self-assessments. 

Some teachers argue that creativity is specific to such a narrow field in some students that these tests may not pick them up (Goodhew, 2009). Despite the many flaws present in creativity measurement, there are compelling reasons for including creativity as part of a gifted assessment battery. Different assessment techniques have their own cost and benefit, helping some students and disadvantage others (such as gifted with special needs) make the variation in the assessment inevitable for suitable identification of students’ strengths and weaknesses (Callahan, 2013). According to Pfeiffer (2018), psychologists need to: Identify and assess gifted students; integrate multiple assessment measures including intelligence, cognitive ability, and achievement tests; assess gifted students with co-existing disabilities; promote the abilities of gifted students using evidence-based strategies. As gifted experience some sources of stress (Krafchek, & Kronborg, 2018) that are different from those experienced by general students. Milic (2020) emphasized the use of creating software for gifted assessment. Consequently, a variety of formal and informal assessment tasks should benefit all the gifted and provide practical data for decision-making.


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