by the Schools of Thought Editors
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community. Some comments have been edited for space or clarity.
(CNN) – Educator and author Carolyn Coil recently wrote a “My View” piece for Schools of Thought titled “Ten myths about gifted students and programs for the gifted.” In the article, Coil points out that American educators have struggled for more than 40 years with a definition for ‘giftedness’ as well as national criteria for identifying gifted students. As a result, there are misconceptions about gifted kids and the best ways for them to learn.
Readers posted over 700 comments in response to the piece.
Some readers questioned the focus on the ‘gifted’ label:
K: So many "gifted" kids out there, yet so few intelligent adults making scientific discoveries, helping mankind move forward. Personally, I think overbearing parents use the term, "gifted," FAR too much and since these kids grow up to be nothing special, why waste any particular time or funds on them? Let them be the kid everyone goes to for help with their schoolwork. Let them be the ones who never have to study. No need to put them up on a pedestal and give them a swelled head. They’re going to have enough trouble when they get into the real world and realize nothing comes easy any more.
Andrea Saylor: They wanted to test my daughter for "gifted" and I opted out. I didn't want her to be "different" from the other students. She was shy by nature. She tutored other students and went on to be valedictorian of her graduating class. She went on to get her Masters in Psychology. She now tests students for "gifted" "special needs" "autism" etc. Funny how things turn out......
Tom: In my experience working in science almost all our notions about 'giftedness' or 'genius', including a few in this article, are BS. Your success in science is almost entirely determined by your motivation, i.e. your willingness to spend a lot of time to learn something hard, not by any innate talent. And any talent you have always comes from years of practice. The rest is mostly luck.