My view: Ten myths about gifted students and programs for gifted
November 14th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

My view: Ten myths about gifted students and programs for gifted

Courtesy Pieces of LearningBy Carolyn Coil, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Carolyn Coil is a speaker, educator and author. She works with teachers, administrators, parents and students, offering strategies for raising achievement, developing creative and critical thinking skills, motivating underachievers, differentiating curriculum and assessing student performance. She has taught graduate-level gifted endorsement courses for more than 20 years. You can follow her on Twitter, @CarolynCoil.

(CNN) - American educators have struggled for more than 40 years to define giftedness. Yet even now, there is no universally agreed upon definition of what it means to be gifted. U.S. federal law defines gifted students as those who perform or who show promise of performing at high levels in any one of five categories: general intellectual ability, specific academic aptitude, creative or productive thinking, leadership ability or visual/performing arts.

Beyond that definition, there are no specific national criteria for identifying gifted and talented students nor does federal law provide funding or mandates for identification of these students or programming for them. This definition is left to the states.

The result has been a wide variety of state definitions and methods for the identification of gifted children. Some states have specific definitions for giftedness, while others have none. Some states require programs for gifted students, while others do not.

In other words, the availability of programs and services for gifted students depends for the most part on where a student lives and what state, school district or school he or she is in.

There is debate over how to identify and measure giftedness, whether giftedness is innate (nature) or developed (nurture) and whether giftedness is driven by intelligence test results or through other indicators.

My view: The joys and challenges of raising a gifted child

These varying perspectives have led to much misinformation about gifted students and what programs for gifted students should look like. Here are 10 of the most common myths about gifted students and programs for the gifted:

Myth No. 1: Intelligence is inherited and does not change. Gifted students, therefore, do not need any special services.

All of us do inherit certain traits, intelligences and talents. But these need to be developed and nurtured throughout life for them to grow and reach their full potential. A beautiful flower inherits certain traits. But if it is not watered and fed and if it does not get the right amount of sunlight, it does not develop as it could. The same is true for gifted children.

Myth No. 2: Giftedness can easily be measured by intelligence tests and tests of achievement.

Giftedness is difficult to measure. This is why schools and school districts try so many different ways to identify gifted students. Tests are often culturally biased and may reflect ethnicity, socioeconomic status, exposure and experiences rather than true giftedness. Other children may be gifted but are not good at taking tests. They may not score well on standardized tests but may be gifted, especially in creative and productive thinking.

Myth No. 3: There is no need to identify gifted students in the early grades.

Many school districts do not begin identifying gifted and talented students until third grade. There is a belief among some educators that giftedness cannot be properly identified in the early grades. However, the National Association for Gifted Children programming standards start with pre-kindergarten. The group’s early childhood network position paper says that “providing engaging, responsive learning environments … benefit all children, including young gifted children.”

Photos: Inside a 'genius school' in 1948

Myth No. 4: Gifted students read all the time, wear glasses and/or are physically and socially inept.

From Jason, the cartoon character in the “Foxtrot” comic strip, to Sheldon on the TV show “The Big Bang Theory,” we can see this stereotype in action. But like all other kids, gifted children come in many varieties. Some are successful in sports or music, and some are physically attractive. Some have many friends, while others have only a few. Some are extreme extroverts, while others are introverts. There is no one type of person or personality we can pinpoint as gifted.

Myth No. 5: Gifted kids are all model students – they’re well-behaved and make good grades.

This statement reflects another stereotype about gifted students. Some gifted children are model students. They are compliant, follow directions, never misbehave and make straight A’s. But many others challenge teachers, do their own thing instead of the assigned work, procrastinate until the last minute when doing long-range assignments, get low grades, are disorganized and have poor study skills.

Myth No. 6: All gifted students work up to their potential.

Most schools have their share of gifted underachievers. These students have the potential for excellence but - for a variety of reasons - do not fulfill that potential. Gifted underachievers may decide they will only do the minimum requirements and choose the easy work instead of more challenging tasks. They often lack study and organizational skills because in the early grades they don’t need to develop them. Some get discouraged when the work doesn’t come easily, and others don’t want to look gifted because it isn’t “cool.”

Myth No. 7: Teaching gifted students is easy.

Some believe that a good teacher can easily teach any student. If this were the case, good teaching with no special training would be all that is needed to teach gifted students. However, in my many years of teaching graduate-level courses in gifted education, I have found that good teachers add to their skills and learn new strategies and techniques targeted particularly to meeting the needs of the gifted. Most teachers of the gifted tell me this is the hardest, most challenging, most exhausting and most rewarding teaching they have ever done.

Myth No. 8: Gifted students will get by on their own without any special help from the school.

I hear this myth often, especially in times of budget cutting. Some people claim that gifted students come from wealthy families who can meet their children’s needs. Others assert that the expense of providing gifted programs cannot be justified. In general, the assumption is that gifted students will succeed regardless of the quality of the education they receive. This is simply not true. Gifted students require special services and programs to ensure the growth rather than the loss of their outstanding abilities.

Myth No. 9: It never hurts gifted students to teach others what they already know.

If gifted students already know the grade-level standards, it may seem logical to have them teach others. This is faulty logic. It assumes that teaching struggling students is something gifted kids innately know how to do. Most gifted students do not know how to tutor others. They often are frustrated that struggling students don’t understand what they perceive as easy. Peer tutoring using gifted students also takes away time they should be using for more advanced work, more rigor and more higher-level thinking.

Myth No. 10: All children are gifted.

If all kids are gifted, then there is no need to identify gifted students and no need for any special programs for gifted. I strongly believe that all children have distinctive and unique qualities that make each one valuable. This does not mean, however, that all children are gifted. Being identified as gifted simply means that certain children have needs that are different from most others at their age and grade level. All gifted students need programs and services to ensure their growth rather than the loss of their outstanding abilities.

For information about gifted students and programs, I recommend the following websites and publishers:

Carolyn Coil
National Association for Gifted Children
Hoagie’s Gifted Education Page
Pieces of Learning
Prufrock Press
Royal Fireworks Press

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carolyn Coil.

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Filed under: Curriculum • Gifted education • Policy • Practice • Voices
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  1. Wynne

    I know we all like to believe that we are special, unique, smart in our own way, always somehow a step above the "other guy". But let's face it: we can't all be gifted. In order for some people to be gifted, others have to be average or below average. (See "the Optimism Bias"–TED talk in which these ideas are further analyzed). Outside of that, who cares if one is gifted if they don't apply themselves? The inability to stick things out or plan ahead, or deciding to procrastinate/ignore your assignments because they bore you suggests a certain amount of laziness and lack of drive. It means they aren't trying. What does it matter to be gifted is you don't do anything with it?

    Furthermore, once again returning to our belief that we are all unique individuals, that doesn't mean that we all deserve to have life tailored especially for us. The teachers do not exist to cater to each students unique "needs". There needs to be a certain amount of cooperation, meeting in the middle. If the students don't want to put in the effort, why should the teachers? The students' success is dependent largely on them and how they choose to treat their education.

    November 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  2. Two Cents

    I believe the majority of students who are identified as "gifted" in the early academic years are products of good households: two parents who are educated, parents who often read to them, and parents who encourage growth and learning on a daily basis. A kid from that background has a huge advantage on the first day of school compared to some kid who can't even spell their own name because their parents were too lazy to teach it to them. Naturally the better household kid is more likely to get a "gifted" label, grow in self-confidence, and accelerate the gap between them and the other kids as their schooling progresses. When education is done, it's all about effort and some luck in terms of success for the majority of "gifted" kids.

    November 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Sue

      @Two Cents:

      I was identified as a "gifted" child as a toddler. My parents were emotionally and physically abusive people with nothing higher than a high school diploma. I wasn't tested for a gifted program until after my parents were divorced. My parents definitely did not read to me every night and were not the ideal parents by any means. Your beliefs on "gifted" children are highly flawed.

      November 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
      • MB

        You would do well to consult a dictionary on the meaning of the work "majority."

        November 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
      • MB

        *word. Nothing worse than a snarky post with a typo...

        November 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
      • Two Cents

        I said majority. There is no hard rule on these things and perhaps you are the reason why. The point of my post was in the majority of cases, what is called "gifted" is in reality nothing more than a child who is a product of a strong, educated, supportive household. Kids who come from hard backgrounds, like yours, may be already too far behind and can never get caught up emotionally or learnedly in school. However, after schooling, effort and luck factor in considerably and change the rules to a slightly more level playing field in the job world.

        November 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  3. colecharris

    Gifted education is not a joke in my district, but it has problems and the identification process leaves much to be desired. My son was tested in the second grade and missed the cutoff in spite of adding columns of 3 digit numbers in his head for fun. He took a standardized IQ test, and based on this was accepted into the gifted program. However it appears that many that enter the program are more likely overachievers than gifted.

    I contrast this with my experience as a gifted person in a district w/o gifted education. I was bored with school from an early age, actually identified as 'slow' in math, and got into trouble frequently I eventually dropped out, got my GED and started college a little early. I eventually obtained a graduate degree in physics. I ended up OK, but I missed out socially and academically due to my inappropriate education. Even with the flaws in his gifted program, my son is far better off.

    November 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  4. Annie

    Like most parents (it seems) I was sure my child was gifted and her teachers did not seem think she had special talents. I took her out of school at the age of 8, midway through 2nd grade, and gave her an academically rigorous, secular home education,custom tailored to her interests and abilities. At 12 she went back to public school and did two years of middle school. She learned a lot about social drama and helped the teachers teach the other students. Midway through 8th grade she blew the top off the ACT and got her self into a four year university. She is now 16, a junior majoring in mathematics, a math and science tutor a tthe univisersity's learning assistance center, and a student instructor in business calculus. She is socially well adjusted with many friends her own age and older.

    One size fits all education does not work, especially with gifted students. They need guidance and freedom. They need to be allowed to work at their level. Whenever possible, parents need to step in and help their child get what they need. The government can't do this for you.

    November 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  5. GAW

    After reading the article and some of the comments I have concluded that much of our school system and many of its administrators lack giftedness let alone wisdom.

    November 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  6. Thegoodman

    I love the internet. Every single person on here is either "gifted" or has a "gifted" kid.

    November 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Eirin Mikalsen Orum

      If you stretch your imagination just a tad, you might realize that any news item/article that includes the word "gifted" will be extremely attractive to anyone who has personal experience with giftedness, just like an article about what it takes to make baseball players top notch will attract comments from people who have personal experience with high-level baseball. If it seems as if a disproportionate section of the population comments on something, one ought to at least consider that the "population" is not statistically representative....

      November 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  7. jenn

    My son was diagnosed ( if you want to call it that) with being gifted. He was in grade 5. His maturity wasn't up there yet to advance him into another grade. He hated school never wanted to go. Kids teased him teachers expected the most out him and thus he dropped out if school at 15 because of being teased as a brown noser teachers pet...blah blah blah. Afraid of disappointing he introverted. He bow sits in his room doesn't socialize except with people in on line games because they don't know him. He us a good kid. Never did drugs never drank Doesnt smoke respects me as His mother and does what I ask without questions. How do I fix it? It breaks my heart to see such a gorgeous blond blue eyed man in a slump because of intelligence.

    November 27, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Annie

      You are the only one that can help your child. You know him better than anyone and will figure it out. Trust your instincts and don't give up on him. He needs you.

      November 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  8. donna

    Relatively, the difference in IQ from a gifted child to an average citizen is more than the difference between the average citizen and a mentally disabled person.

    Must get frustrating to live in a world filled with idiots.

    November 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Brandi

      Hello Donna,
      As a 'gifted' student, I can tell you from experience that more often than not I was the object of the teacher's ire. I always read ahead in first grade because I read at a fifth grade level. It was so difficult for me to focus, having the class read aloud was the longest half-hour of my life (as it seemed in first grade). Many gifted kids are scolded for their advanced abilities because they're not "following the herd". It's very frustrating to go to public school; I'm in my senior year of high school now. And I've never been more uninterested.

      November 27, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Not true

      Actually Donna, this statistical information you gave iis completely untrue. You should familiarize yourself with a bell curve. Statistically gifted individuals account for less than 2% of the population, as do statistically intellectually challenged individuals.

      November 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
      • Not True Not True

        Not True, you're missing what donna posted. She didn't post a percentage of population, but the point difference in IQ between a gifted person, an average person and a challenged person. I can tell you this is frustrating. I tested as gifted as a child, IQ of 135. The average IQ is 100 in the US. As an example Forrest Gump was a 76 according to the book. This has nothing to do with a bell curve, it's the numerical difference between the average person and Forrest of 24 IQ points and me and the average person of 35 IQ points. Let me tell you, the average person is not nearly as charming as Forrest Gump.

        November 27, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  9. Jim

    Most gifted programs in public schools are a joke. Only in the 'highly gifted' programs do you see actual gifted kids. My daughter was a precocious reader, not necessarily 'gifted' but she was reading at a 2nd grade level entering kindergarten. A long time public school teacher in our district told us that public school was not an option for our child, not even if she got into a 'gifted' program. Too many teachers think its fine to put the education of the advanced students on hold while the other's catch up. The problem with precocious readers is that while they can read well and have very large vocabularies, they're still little kids. They don't understand what they are reading, they just can read it. Teachers don't care. When they have students in the class who barely know their ABCs the kid who can read Harry Potter is not important. Private schools that encourage child initiated learning and aren't pressure cookers for test scores are far better for gifted kids. Otherwise, too many kids who are advanced in kindergarten are behind by the time they get to junior high.

    November 23, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  10. sivart0506

    I certainly identify with the article. I was placed in GT early in elementary school and it was worthless. I wasn't challenged and I was always screwing around/ not paying attention in class. It's deplorable that the system does not care to properly teach GT students.
    THE SOLUTION- Contact other GT parents in your district and conspire to have all GT students fail the standardized tests.(try to get every question wrong) Believe me, filling in endless bubbles is like pulling teeth for those 'ahead of the curve'. This would throw a monkey wrench into the entire standardized testing system rendering the results absolutely useless. Districts and schools then have some serious explaining to do when asked why NONE of their GT students tested as proficient.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  11. HowGiftedBecomesAProblem

    I have three children – 1 is extremely gifted, one is bright and academically ahead but average and the last is a typical toddler. The gifted child has been my biggest struggle in school because he is so quiet and well behaved his teachers basically ignored his academic needs. He was reading at a 2nd grade level when he was 4 but despite this and being tested by the schools to confirm it, his Kindergarten teacher insisted he "learn" to read with everyone else "just in case he doesn't get it..." so frustrating because clearly he gets it. In first grade he was penalized for not sounding out words even though he tested at a 5th grade level for reading and sounding out "cat" is not relevant at that age. He didn't understand why they were asking him to basically pretend that he didn't know how to read the words – it was that ridiculous. He taught himself to tell time on an analog clock in preK so he could know when snack/play etc... was and also taught himself Roman Numerals for the same reason. He also taught himself to add/subtract/multiply and divide by 1st grade but was being taught "add the blue dots to the orange dots..." I got so fed up we transferred him to a private school that was able to help and not see his "giftedness" as a problem for the teachers. He's so happy now that he actually learns things at school. I especially liked the part about not using gifted kids as teachers b/c in my sons case as the article says – he honestly has no idea why everyone doesn't know what he knows. When his younger sister was 3 he was so confused why she couldn't read so he made her sight word cards. Now that she's in Kindergarten and reading he wants her to read bigger books like he did when he was 5 – he really doesn't understand that he's "different" which is good and bad 🙂

    November 20, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  12. Dri

    0 of the kids I went to school with did well as adults. The people who were in the middle all came out on top.

    November 20, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • asdhj

      Well perhaps you went to school with a bunch of id1o1ts

      November 22, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  13. blah

    no one is gifted everyone sucks and i hate my life

    November 19, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  14. Frank

    I thought this was going to be an article in which a toddler who playes master-class chess is interviewed, resulting in my mind being blown. Oh well.

    November 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  15. ProperVillain

    I was gifted in the field of tom foolery and general mischief. I aim to misbehave.....

    November 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  16. Yeah...

    All student are gifted in their own way, some excel at sports, the arts, math, sciences, english, etc... The point of a gifted program (at least at my School) was for students who grasped the concepts that their teachers within minutes or a single class period, ad simply became bored for the rest of the class. As a student in the gifted program/MG/Enrichment, I think its mostly how the school runs the program. My program was composed of 10-20 kids in my grade, who tested highly, and were constanlty ahead of their class. I joined Enrichment in 1st grade because my teachers realized that I grew bored from having to sit and wait for my fellow classmates. In the gifted program we learned stuff at a grade level that was higher than our own and applied them into real life situations that were fun and engaging. (Model helicopters for enginerring, scale house for physics, stock market game for math). We weren't less social because our program usually lasted for 2 hours twice a week, giving us plenty of time to spend with our classmates and develop healthy relationships. As for these myths, I have to say I've never heard of them. I agree with the authors opinion on most except three. STrating to teach a "gifted child" helps them to develop better esteem (a fun enviroment where their "normal") and provides them with an activity instead of string off into space.

    November 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  17. Jonc

    What's hysterical about this article is I've never once heard any of these myths. Not one. I spent my entire school career in gifted programs. My wife is a teacher, and not one of those notions has ever been presented.

    November 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Barada

      I taught in the gifted program of a very large urban school district. I heard all these "myths". Some I heard quite often and by professionals who should have known better.

      November 21, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  18. 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.

    November 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Teri

      Very true. My daughter has never had to study to make straight A's. But, I know she's going to have a hard time as an adult simply because she's never had to deal with defeat or struggle with anything. A lot of the really smart kids in my high school got to college and couldn't manage because they weren't used to not being the class pet or top of their game. They got to college and were average. I hate to say it, but some days I wish she'd end up in a class that she had to work at and struggled a bit with. She knows nothing about hard work or perseverance. She also doesn't appreciate or know the joy of achieving a goal that she's really worked toward.

      November 18, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
      • Barada

        Why are you abdicating your role as a parent and depending upon the schools to teach your child these important lessons?

        November 21, 2012 at 11:25 am |
      • Paulina

        Hi Teri,
        As a gifted adult that would have been described just as your daughter when growing up, I didn't get anywhere (or, I haven't yet)... just like you said, I never learned those lessons because school was too easy, too boring and I never found peers to challenge me or teachers who got me. I was smart enough to stay out of trouble but suffered a huge depression in college .. and I just didn't know it could be different.
        I have three kids now, learned a lot about giftedness. Two of my kids have been tested and their IQs are so high up that I would be embarrassed to post it. We put them in a special school for gifted where they HAVE to work, they HAVE to learn, they HAVE to develop the skills that will help them to be successful in life, because success in life is not about being intelligent. Gifted kids have sensitivities than can be really challenging, they may avoid risks, they tend to be so perfectionist that it's paralyzing for them. They need to be around other kids who struggle with those issues and they need support to learn to overcome those issues (or others) which are quite different that the struggles of other kids.
        We moved our kids from another school to this school and it made a world of difference for them, and for the whole family.

        I don't intent to tell you what to do, you certainly know what works better for your family, but your story touched my heart and I thought I would share. Best wishes.

        November 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • ajbuffl

      You are completely wrong. "Gifted" kids may not be gifted socially or in any other way, and it would generally be totally inappropriate to move them up with older children.. To watch them malinger and act out in a regular class because they knew the concepts within minutes and had to sit for 2 hours (in elementary) while others tried to figure it out is cruel. And there is no need to be so rude – "gifted" students blend with everyone else by high school because they can take A.P. and other advanced courses that they qualify for along with everyone else who did not go into gifted courses at a younger age. The idea is not superiority. Imagine reading high school level books and then having to spend half of your time in school with kids who were learning to read baby words? And being forced to read the baby books yourself? How would you like to sit, at the level you are now, in an elementary school class every day as – you would start to act out from the sheer boredom. If you had a child who was very athletic, would you want them to spend hours a day with kids who couldn't figure out how to catch a ball? Would they be an appropriate placement for them? Or if they could play a Paganini concerto on the violin but had to sit in a beginners "learn to play" class for hours every day? It all evens out in the end, but it helps kids get the challenge they need in a place they have to spend all day being. It doesn't equal superiority or ultimate over-success. It just equals more appropriate education at a different stage. If a 6th grader can master 10th grade math, do you want that little kid up in the high school? Of course not – they are too immature. But they can take elevated math in their own building with their peers. And most gifted programs, to avoid further increasing boredom, teach enhancement projects and skills rather than teaching 'ahead" in the subject (which only makes matters worse).

      November 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
      • ashbee

        I agree completely. I was in "gifted" grade schools. I was constantly bored because I finished assignments very quickly and would ask for more work to do. I never had to study to make straight A's. After ninth grade I began my freshman year of college. Even in college I found that I picked up concepts quickly and continued to get A's. It wasn't until I began graduate school at nineteen that I began to struggle. I had never gained effective study skills and time management skills because everything had come so easy previously. Graduate school was where I learned to work hard in order to succeed. Thankfully, I rose to the challenge. Several of my college peers (who also began early), however, never learned those skills and, indeed, peaked in college. It does seem to even out in the end. From my experiences though, it was beneficial to have had the opportunity to attend "gifted" schools and move through my education at a pace that suited my learning style and ability.

        November 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Jim

      I agree 'gifted' kids aren't always truly 'gifted'. Problem is that teachers can only teach at so many different levels. If schools continue to socially promote students and allow students with limited English skills to be mainstreamed in classes, then those who are working above grade level are going to fall behind. California had the bright idea to mandate algebra in 8th grade. Great idea except many 8th math teachers end up spending most of their time trying to re-teach what students didn't learn in the earlier grades. If your kid's is advanced in math, do you really want a majority of their instruction time to be used reviewing concepts they learned in 3rd or 4th grade? Gifted programs have become the place for those capable of working above grade level.

      November 23, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Meghan

      I was in Gifted Ed and I may sound like I have an inflated ego but the real world IS easy. I'm at the top in my field at 29, am in the public sector in a position where I can be inventive and create efficiencies, earn 6 figures but am bored, and am trying to determine what to do next. You may not personally know a gifted person who has made a difference but we are out there.
      Also, I can speak to the "well-behaved" myth. I was frequently kicked out of class and/orreprimanded for talking because I was bored. Once I transferred in to the program where the district hired a professor for 6th graders (through high school) and challenged me, the behavioral problems ceased. My private school was too small to give me the challenges I needed but the public district's Gifted and Talented Program changed my life. It provided the challenges that I needed. I never did study much in college, but I read a few textbooks.

      November 24, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • sumguy2006

      So your "point" is that smart kids don't have to work hard, so they will suffer in the real world when they are faced with real challenges??? That is the whole point specialized of "gifted" education! No student should be able to pass a test without studying. If that is the case, they are not realizing their potential, and the school is failing, even if the child graduates top of the class with straight A's. Wow, I don't know why this is so hard for people to understand.

      November 27, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  19. 4Mel

    The wise words of Calvin Coolidge:

    "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."

    November 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • mythofeducation

      exactly, there is no cure for mental retardation, no amount of training or education will increase your mental IQ. persistence is for the average intelligence. super intelligent humans don't need school man. instead of 5 years of school, super intelligent can complete their school in 1 year. To learn another language, average intelligence requires 3-5 years of practice while the gifted can be fluent in another language in 1 year. they are wired to learn like a 3 year old kid learning language. their brains are wired to learn. much like computer ther cpu is faster and memory storage retriever is faster and doesn't lose memory. mankind evolvlution frrom using stones and sticks to using metal to guns and lasers. persistance means you have to work a lot harder than a gifted student. A gifted student doesn't need the teacher. If you suck in mathematics don't become a engineer.. If you can't draw and have no artistic talent, no amount of educattion or persistance can make your genius in the arts.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • mythofeducation

      . nothing wrong with persistence and hardwork b ecause education is hard work for most kids or people in general. but my point is certain people are suited for certain careers that require certain talent or levels of intelligence. in many schools they test your SAT score IQ test via school entrance exams and you cannot study or memorize for them. if you have a fear of heights, don't be roofer.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  20. All for gifted kids

    Why are so many of you bashing giftedness? If a kid had excellent sports skills would you downplay it and not encourage him or her to play the sport or do whatever you could to help them excel? Then why not encourage giftedness and make the most of it too? You'd think that in general people would want to do whatever you could to help kids with a God given talent to make the most of it, no matter what the talent is. Maybe if we all encouraged our kids to work to thier potential, whether they are gifted or not, this country would be in better shape and parents and kids alike would be happier.

    November 16, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  21. Oggie

    Obviously, "gifted students" isn't one of the gifted!!

    November 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • dumbheads

      who cares about being gifted. these parents wasting money and time to test if their kids is gifted or not. also, gifted students are only gifted in certain faculties. a student gifted in mathematics may suck in music or language. my point is that schools and parents wasting time on gifted student programs. why would anyone want to be gifted and treated like lab animals

      November 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
      • Alex

        My older child is gifted and we always knew this from an early age. You'd think that we'd be overjoyed, but you'd be mistaken. I was worried that he wouldn't have any friends because no one would get him, and until grade 4, that was mostly the case. I worried that since he already knew so much, he'd be bored in class and tried to make up for it by sending him to French school, piano lessons, and soccer lessons. Until he started gifted school in grade 4 and found people with similar interests and willing to listen to his detailed accounts of physics applications, he had no friends and did poorly in school. School still bores him somewhat but we keep him occupied with guitar lessons and tae kwon do. It's not perfect, but I'd hate to think where we would be today if he was NOT in a gifted program. Like any other child, one that stands out, usually needs more help and encouragement to find their way.

        November 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  22. MorbiusKrell

    The school wanted to test my son in 4th grade for a gifted program. At the last minute, he backed-out. Then I knew he was gifted. Gifted with a father who let him be himself.

    November 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • rockersrochard

      the best thing you did was tell the teachers to back son doesn't need to go to gift program. the dumb kids can do homework for house and you son doesn't do anywork and spend more time watching tV and playing games instead of doing homework.

      November 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • noteachersneeded

      a gifted student don't need gifted student program and don't need teachers. that is gifted student. it's a natural ability to learn and don't need school and don't need teachers.

      November 16, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  23. blackbert

    I started to read at 3 and played with maths at 4, I've been tested so many times that I can t remember, but something I can tell for sure, gifted school is not always the best choice, in my case I went to a regular school with very attentive teachers and I made my grades in public system, graduated college by 20 just because college policy in my country didn't allow any under 21 to graduate from college, from my experience I can tell I don't like to feel different than any other one, I was the only 13 yr old in high school and being 15 in college was a true nightmare but even with that, wouldn't change a single thing , because being in a public school helped me to feel normal, which some of my friends, similar to me don't feel, is not easy being around with people expecting you to be the next Hawking just because your IQ is ridiculously high ... my best advice to ppl with gifted kids, let them choose, some of them wouldn't perform any well in "gifted schools" no matter how smart they are .

    November 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  24. 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 otther 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......

    November 16, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  25. KO

    I have a very bright inquisitive son who so was looking forward to school. We had been in preschool and preK where he got along with everyone. Kindergarten was devastating to him. He woke up nightly screaming "something is wrong" for the first 3 mo but never could verbalize what it was. He just missed gifted education by 1 %. After he tried for months to toe the line and being bored to death he started acting out. We lost our happy, questioning kid. He was miserable. In 1st grade this continued. The teachers said they wouldn't give him more work because he wouldn't finish what they gave him. He said it was too boring to even do. We would argue for 2 hours to do 5 min of homework. Finally, one day he broke down crying and said "you have to get me out of her mom, I am so bored"....we retested him privately for public school gifted program and he qualified. He is now in his 2nd year of gifted education. We have a happy kid again. He is positive, laughs, loves his classmates and learning. I can't imagine what K-12 years with no gifted education would of been like. Gifted education returned our kid to us. It also returned to him his self esteem. To our surprise, besides feeling at home academically he has also decided to pursue sports and is thriving in those as well. They have massive soccer matches at lunch and recess and have formed teams. Gifted education is a life saver. Every state should have it, it really matters, and makes a difference. The % of High school drop outs that are gifted are much higher than I ever imagined. If we want to really have all kids succeed we need to address learning needs at the top and bottom (as well as the middle) of the spectrum.

    November 16, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • giftedstudents

      you morons don't know what a 'gifted' student same as talent like a natural voice, or natural at certain abilities. so what is so 'gifted' about your son. your son is just 'regular' kid okay.

      November 16, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  26. Randall Norris

    I taught myself to read off a can of Heinz Tomato Soup when I was five. Never learned the alphabet until the sixth grade when the teacher made me learn it one day at recess. Mostly, their way of dealing with me was to beat me. Public schools don't like kids that don't fit in, no matter what label is applied to them. As a general rule, most of the truly brilliant people I have met during my lifetime made terrible grades in high school and college. In my Ph.D. program we added up one day how many jobs four of us had been fired from. Total: 61. LOL Oh well. I guess I did ok in the end 🙂

    November 16, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • Randall Norris

      By the way, the late, great Gore Vidal never even attended college, and I don't think Steve Jobs or Bill Gates either one graduated. So much for the efficacy of American education LOL

      November 16, 2012 at 1:00 am |
      • Randall Norris

        Kids start out creative, inquisitive, happy, willing to learn, and it takes twelve years for the system to beat all of that out of them LOL ROF

        November 16, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  27. J.C.

    I am a 17 year old senior in high school and I have been referred to as gifted. This article is a spot on description of me. I never in my school career have worked hard or studied, yet im able to get A's and B's. Just last year in Calculus, I did little homework and studying but still earned a 5 out of 5 on the AP test. Public schools are terrible,only teach for standardized test, and rarely intrigue their students. They treat all students as equals and end up holding back the smart ones. We need to either put smart kids on a fast track to graduation or place them in seperate schools.

    November 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • An older verison of you

      Here's a warning. I was the same way (but instead of calculus it was AP physics) and in college I kept up my old habits. I really wanted to be an engineer, or a scientist or something of that nature. However, due to hard core slacking I am now an english major and will be attending a fairly prestigious law school next year. This is by no means a horrible thing or the end of the world, however I got pigeonhelled into going this route and figured I'd leave a friendly warning for you if you want to do the hard sciences or a major that requires a lot of work change your habits now and be prepared to work hard otherwise you might find yourself going a quarter million in debt in a field that isn't your top choice because you ran out of other options

      November 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
      • KO

        Yes, I skated through high school graduating in the top of my class without studying and was then shocked when things got hard in college and I had no study skills to deal with it. Luckily I had an amazing college professor that recognized this and taught me to study and graduated valedictorian in Chemistry(first for the school) with a 4.0. However, at first I flunked my first Chemistry class and almost changed majors. Just remember with hard work anything is possible, and you can learn how to learn.

        November 16, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • Corndawggg

      Yeah dude, I was exactly like you last year. Then I went to college. It's completely different. I went from never making below an A in high school to making all c's.

      November 16, 2012 at 12:00 am |
      • Teri

        I was the same way. I made all A's and B's in high school without ever studying. I'm sure with a little effort, I could have made all A's. I missed one question on the ACT exam. But, I got to college and had a 1.7 at the end of my freshman year. I didn't know how to study or how to manage my time since I always did my homework during class in high school and never paid attention to the teacher. If I had homework due in 5th period, I did it during 4th period lecture. I never studied for a test. That doesn't work in college and it certainly doesn't work in the real world when you are presented with a problem to solve and left on your own to make it happen.

        November 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • giftedstudents

      just say not to your parents who put you to those gifted student classes and treat you like guinee pig, since you are gifted you only need to like 1 hour of homework instead of 10 hours of homework. enjoy your childhood or teens..forget about going to college at age 15 years..public schools are not a curse. gifted students should be in .phd or doctorate or advance education later in life..until they are 18...pushing your kids when they are young is just wasting their precious time. kids sholuld be playing and having fun not treated like some lab animals...just because they are 'gifted'

      November 16, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • giftedstudents

      don't bother fast track or graduating from high school fast,,,spend more time playing video games or socializing instead since high school is easy and you don't need to do any homework.

      November 16, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • Fred Graham

      I barely graduated, 121 out of 124 students. I could read at 2, multiply at three, read and write in cursive at 4, had a 5th grade reading level in 1st grade, 9th grade reading level in 5th grade, college junior reading level in 8th grade. I solved puzzles my brothers 10 years older couldn't, learned to play chess at 4 yo, beating my brother 9 years older that day. I was so bored with school I failed French, algebra, chemistry. Had a professor come into my chemistry class writing equations no one answered but me and he asked if I was the top student in my class, we all laughed. Upon graduation I took several entry exams and was universally accepted, but one stood out, 600 hs graduates including my cousin, valedictorian, national honor society, 2nd completed paper, only perfect test, won a scholarship. Where was this program for me, would have been a godsend as I would sleep through class and EVERYONE sitting near me would copy my test answers. The only one who tried was my guidance counselor, who reviewed my work, saying if she didn't know better, she would have thought my written word was from someone else

      November 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
      • Meghan

        I understand where you are coming from. Hopefully you've found your niche in adulthood.

        November 24, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  28. oregon mom

    Children who are learning and growing at a faster pace, or who have been deemed "gifted" in some capacity, should be given challlenging work so that they continue that growth. But I also think their parents need to balance that out with helping them to learn how to navigate and work within the school system. Some of the parent comments here tend toward the idea that their gifted child is so brilliant that they cannot be expected to work within any parameters. To give a child that "permission" is irresponsible. Life, even for the exceptional and successful, is FULL of being able to do what is expected or required of you regardless of wether it is "beneath" you or interests you.

    November 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  29. 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.

    November 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • In my experience...

      ... you aren't "gifted" nor a "genius".

      November 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • giftedstudents

      what a retard posting here..IQ is innate which means it's inherited no amount of practice or hardwork will increase you IQ okay. as for mathematics it falls in the right or logic side of your brain....stop posting retarded post like that..and don't smoke pot.. pot smoking can make some people become stupid or memory loss.

      November 16, 2012 at 12:42 am |
      • Tom

        troll much?

        November 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
      • Lynn

        The ironic thing here is that it's Western society's veiw of intelligence that we go by to define things. In Eastern culture, intelligence is "grown." All people are born at the same level of intelligence and it is the way they are taught that makes them brilliant. Check out the test scores of city schools in China vs their countryside schools. The city schools have way higher test scores because they have more money to put into the education.

        November 17, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  30. asdf

    I appreciate what the author's trying to say, which is to break the common stereotypes that gifted children are somehow easier to handle than nongifted children. Actually, people who are not classified as gifted will probably do fine going through the current education system. But gifted children have to deal with a mandatory education system that isn't catered to their needs, and they usually figure out very early that the easiest way to do so is by slacking. If you don't offer these kids challenging unique curriculum, they just check out, and then one day when life becomes hard they actually didn't learn any of the skills you're supposed to learn about how to deal with things. And while it might seem logical to the adult to just have the gifted kid teach nongifted kids, unless that adult makes it clear to both kids why he/she is doing this, the kids are not going to learn that big picture. The point of identifying gifted children is not to make nongifted children feel bad, it's just saying that whenever a kid is not challenged, he/she is not being educated. Why society has turned that into such a negative befuddles me.

    November 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Patty

      My father was literally a genius and I was at a 12th grade reading comprehension level in 2nd grade, etc. My father went to parochial school in the early 20th Century, where he was consistently challenged. I went to a small country school with dedicated teachers who, thanks to tiny class sizes, were able to allow us to learn at our own pace. Later, after moving to a small town, although I went to a public school, it was an anomoly. We had amazing teachers who challenged us, and advanced students rarely took classes with average students. We didn't feel separated from the other students, because of sports and elective classes, but we weren't being asked to wait for others to catch up. Fast forward to my daughter's education. She was trying to figure out how things worked as an infant. She was building electromagnets at 8. While my husband was working on college Calculus, she helped him find the answer to an equation...again, at 8. Her grades in school? She barely passed. We have really got to reform our education system. No other nation tosses kids at every level into a classroom together and expects them all to succeed.

      November 23, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  31. Angee

    I get what she's trying to share, but the education establishment has to come up with something a little more sensitive to the rest of us so-called non-geniuses. To say a group of kids is "gift and talented" immediately isolates this group and means what? The rest of us are not gifted? And we aren't talented? The child whose brain can't be measured and it's ability captured accurately by some human made test, means they're of substandard intelligence? Really? I've seen children with autism, Downs syndrome, ADD/ADHD and the like do things that defied explanation. What about THEIR genius?

    November 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Allan

      @Angee: You are simply espousing a form of "political correctness". The harsh reality is that people are not all equal. Note I did not say "better" or "worse". I said "not all equal". Some kids are measurably smarter than other kids. Some kids are slower. Some are faster, stronger, more musical... and the opposite is true. It is neither good nor bad... it simply "is".

      One must be able to first recognize a thing and admit that it exists before one can deal with it. You can't help people with social or emotional or learning disabilities until you first admit there is a problem and seek proper diagnosis.

      In the same way, "gifted" kids are measurably more capable than a large percentage of their peers and need additional attention or methods.

      Adhering to the Pollyanna view that everyone is equally capable may make some people feel better but it doesn't help address the real issues.

      November 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
      • Laura

        Thank you. When my brother was in elementary school in the early 80s, his teacher told me mom that he was learning disabled and needed testing. Testing happened, and the test administrator told my mom that his teacher was an idiot and he was academically gifted. My sister was later labeled gifted, while I was identified in kindergarten and went through the AG program through the 12th grade. This program was an absolute joke in the regular classroom, because they assumed that just putting you in the highest level classes possible was enough. All my schools ever cared about was the fact that I was always the highest scorer on standardized tests and I brought up the average. I wonder now where I would be if I had grown up in schools that truly challenged and motivated me, that allowed for the intellectual creativity that I think is really missing from most public education.

        November 17, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  32. chelanep

    In response to #9, the practice of asking quick learners to work with slower learners is not primarily to help the slower learner, but to help both learners. Typically the quick learner will mentally skip a bunch of intermediate steps in a problem, and by working with the slower learner, the teacher works with the pair to get both to articulate the intermediate steps. The slower learner learns to logically go from step to step and the quick learner learns to recognize the logic their brain did "behind the scenes".

    November 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • christiantfarmer

      I don't think gifted kids should feel obligated to help,and I don't think 'teaching' another student always helps the gifted kid to learn. If a gifted kid is teaching first graders how to convert from centimeters to meters, then they're not learning anything at all. Yet the gifted kid will often be asked to help this other person. Many times with the idea that "to those who are given much much responsibility is required" then they do this thing for free, over and over again repeatedly, instead of moving on to ideas that could challenge them more, or help them grow. Some gifted students do have the ability to help those who don't grasp concepts as quickly, but just because they have that ability, doesn't mean they should be required or manipulated into doing so.

      November 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  33. kpkpkp

    Another education guru who is patronizing and ignorant of reality. She didn't even talk about how many different ways kids are gifted and how it is manifested. How about addressing the myth that just because a parent taught their kid at 2 to read and they have finished the Harry Potter series before Kindergarten they are gifted in everything. Do you know what is gifted about that kid. Not that they are good readers but that they are super sensitive to their parents "tells" and they innately know how to please them. Ask them to retell the story and interpret the motives and understandings of the characters. They can't do it. Gifted, I think not.

    November 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • corndawggg

      I read harry potter before kindergarten, and I could provide character and plot analysis.

      Source: I'm in kindergarten.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Patricia Matthews

      You sound very angry and jealous. What a shame.

      November 15, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
      • kpkpkp

        Dear Patricia, I am not angry at all just tired of know it all eduleaders who are promoting their own ideas as new and groundbreaking. Jealous, not hardly even though gifted was not one of terms used when I was in school I enjoyed all the benefits of being the outstanding student, creative and successful. What concerns me is that gurus who try to quick fix things and don't see the complexity of the whole issue. So darling Patricia your quick reply is a classic example of a putdown by someone who thinks they get it and sit smugly by in an all-knowing way and is probably the response of child who thinks they know it all. Grow up and get some experience. When reading your other replies I can see you have some anger issues you need to work through. Get counseling.

        November 15, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  34. kpkpkp

    Nah, go ahead.

    November 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  35. Alastair Neil

    How about some discussion of the Twice Exceptional Kids. Kids who are gifted but may also have learning disabilities like Dyslexia or ADHD. So there is another myth for you. Not all gifted kids appear to be gifted. Some appear as normal or even below grade average – simply because they are compensating for disabilities.

    November 15, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  36. SC-B

    I am fortunate enough to have 2 "gifted" daughters, or at least 2 children who fit our state's view of accelerated learning ability. I think it is wonderful that this article points out so many misperceptions that people have about these children. Just between my own, I have an introvert and an extrovert, an artist and an athlete, a good test taker and an outside the box thinker, a model student and a mischief maker. They both have been put in the position of helping other kids; one loved it, the other was uncomfortable. They have both felt social pressure to pretend they knew less than they did, because it was not cool to be smart, and some of it because of their gender. Our school does have a gifted program, and we believe it is important to support more rigorous and creative learning for these children. The real benefit, though, is not always the curriculum content, but finding themselves in the company of other kids who have experienced the same things. Our society may say that academics is important, but our experience tells us that there is an anti-intellectual climate which makes gifted children the target of ridicule.

    November 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Amy B

      Well-stated and in my experience, very true. As a former high school administrator, I found myself often deadling with the poor behaviors of bored students with gifted capabilities – bad combo.

      Also, gifted kids sometimes provide a mirror for educators, showing what is not positive in generally accepted current practices (i.e. homework over content already mastered...probably the biggest offender) – doesn't help to engender those warm & fuzzy relationships when the superior cogs dig in their heels and refuse to "do those 42 problems anyway – afterall, they're such great extra practice – besides, they certainly can't hurt – right...?" Ugh

      November 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Randall Norris

      I had two gifted children. They were a curse in terms of their giftedness. In Tennessee they are part of the Special Ed program, the theory being they are so different they are somehow developmentally challenged. Most were. They were smarter than the teachers LOL Not good for the kids. When he was six my son said, looking at the stars, "Which is bigger. Space or time." I told him that was above my paygrade.

      November 16, 2012 at 12:53 am |
      • Randall Norris

        Also, the straight A little girl who says "I want to be a writer!" will never accomplish that task. It's the kid sitting in the back starting out the window at the bird who is more likely to be one. You have to be a little crazy to write. The Valedvictorians sp. never did learn how to spell, never are. They just want to spit it out and get praise for having done it the way they were told to do it. Pretty much robots in my opinion.

        November 16, 2012 at 12:57 am |
  37. Fryfry

    damn and here I thought we were all gifted in some dreams have been shot...LOL

    November 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  38. Michael

    Most see the world unlike you!

    November 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  39. Sy2502

    If we had to go by what parents say, all children are geniuses.

    November 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  40. giftedstudents

    gifted studetns invented calculus.

    November 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  41. giftedstudents

    gifted students invented iron and invented fire.

    November 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  42. giftedstudents

    gifted students don't need to go to school. they are so smart they don't need to do any homework and still get As in math english or music. they don't need teachers since they are gifted and can learn themselves. Kids who are gifted should spend more time playing since they don't need to go to school 40 hours a week. biggest mistake parents can do is tell gifted kids they are special. they are not special they are just fast super learners and can solve problems faster and seems to learn fast. opposite of retards.

    November 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Patricia Matthews

      Obviously, you don't know anything about gifted children. If a child is normal maybe they should never go outside!
      If a child has a disability do you think we should just ignore them. In this country all students are promised an education that meet their needs. My daughter was told she'd outgrow it, can't measure giftedness in children and she should teach a Chinese student who knew little English. Public school is a curse for a gifted child. Being gifted presents many other problems in a child's life. Why don't we ignore those who are good in sports????

      November 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  43. The Master

    My parent were asked to enroll me in the gifted program in third grade. The standard at the time. My mother wanted to my father didn't. My father was an a$$!

    November 15, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  44. Teachaig

    Such interesting comments. I teach gifted students in a school system that supports the gifted program and has resources. We do give IQ tests (Rob) as well as achievement tests and students must be in the 95th percentile to get that coveted label. This generally translates into an IQ of 132 or above. And, all these kids are different: some under-, some over-achievers, some with ADHD, some on the spectrum, some are lazy. Others have learning disabilities. They can be bored easily, or find ways to amuse themselves (if given the opportunity). Their gifts are academic and intellectual, just as other children's gifts might be interpersonal skills, musical, or artistic. What they do share – generally – is an ability to learn at a faster pace, which helps them make deeper connections to the content. Children are lucky here in this county, in this state, as we provide challenge to these kids. It's not a perfect system, but recognizes individual needs of students and an attempt to provide classroom structures that support different paths to learning.

    November 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • disenchanted

      I really appreciate this post. It really gives me a better understanding of what “gifted” might actually mean. My child is in a district that doesn’t seem as supportive of gifted programs. It was one of the questions I asked before moving to this district and I was assured they had a good program put in place. After months and months of asking (what I thought were) all the right questions and being very persistent, my child will finally be taking a test to see if he will be entered into the gifted program (whatever that entails). For a parent whose child is bored with the coursework and excelling extremely rapidly, what do you find is the best course of action if a child is enrolled in a school that is really just not challenging enough? My husband and I really work with our child at home but I think the school has an obligation to these students to keep them interested, keep them learning and keep challenging them every day. I’d really appreciate your insight.

      November 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  45. Brian

    Being "gifted" is all about perception and the bias of the people who pick and choose who is "gifted". When I was 4 I fell down and knocked out my 2 front teeth. they took a few years to grow back in but in the mean time I spoke with a lisp as I was physically unable to properly say anything with an S in it. From kindergarten to about 2nd grade I went to speech therapy once a week and there was talk of putting me in special ed classes. Once my front teeth grew back in and I lost my lisp was was all of a sudden "gifted". Its like magic.

    November 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  46. JST

    I can only give you one advise. If somebody tells you that your child is gifted, don't listen to them and run the other way. It will just ruin their lives and set wrong expectations.
    Most people are "gifted" in one or more areas, but it isn't always something everybody regards as valuable. I have met people who are gifted in math, but I have also met people who are gifted in mountaineering or sailing. Who is to say what's more valuable?
    Going to Harvard doesn't guarantee success in life. In the end, it is all about balance and how you can put your "gifts" to use to make yourself happy.
    My own IQ was rated at 159 when I was young, but I never felt special about it. Don't give too much on what other people try to tell you about your children. Follow your own path!

    November 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Robert Mazerolle

      Most people are not gifted. Mots are average. Most have trouble mastering a fork. Most drivers are pretty poor, and after passing an initial driving test, will readily fail the same test after gaining practical experience. The military acknowledges that most bullets shot, miss their targets, this, despite extensive training and refined gun design. In the Falklands so-called war, more soldiers died from stupid accidents than from combat. One was reported to have bashed his skull while training to avoid bashing one's skull. Towns that abhor drunk drivers liscencevroadhouses ilon the outskirts of residential areas, necessitating the drunk to drive home. Generals use g mail. Tv hosts read teleprompters. People donate to crooked charities, lotteries are thriving. High concept books and films go unsold. Disney is seriously considered as art. Graffitti is considered art. Tattoos are considered art! What planet are you on????
      Nope . Sorry pal. Your optimism is refreshing though.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  47. Patrick

    I am a 25 year-old student in law school who was placed in my district's gifted program in late third grade (our district defined gifted as scoring over 130 on an IQ test). I can definitely say that the gifted program was hugely beneficial for me, and that the myths addressed in this article are prevalent- especially the ones addressing some of the difficulties of gifted students. I always took all of the tough classes and understood them quite well, but I was a chronic underachiever, and was extremely disorganized. I did well enough to go to state schools on full scholarships, but I had higher test scores than many of my friends who went to Ivy league schools- the difference is that they had a higher work ethic and therefore higher grades. If anything, gifted programs need to do more to address the problems of their students- it sounds like a pompous complaint, but when you don't have to try in any class until college (and even then, it depended on the class), there is little opportunity to develop good study habits or many of the other essential skills that most kids have been working on their whole lives. My friends who developed those habits and skills on their own initiative are the ones who are really excelling.

    November 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  48. Gisela

    Both of my children were identified as gifted at an early age, and we were lucky enough to live in a school district that has a strong gifted program. Kids who are gifted are not just talented in one area. Their brains actually work differently. They need to work with other gifted kids, or they slide into mediocrity. Besides being excellent students, both are good athletes, and have active social lives. In a regular program, they might have been marginalized. I don't know why there is any question of gifted ed. How can we compete with the best and brightest in the world if we do not teach our best and brightest properly?

    November 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  49. Bart Hawkins

    As a so-called "gifted," student from the 1960's, I can tell you a few facts regarding programs then....

    a. I was identified as such rather accidently, by a second grade teacher named Mr. Christopher; my IQ tests were my vision was poor (incidentally, a retest after getting decent eyeware proved, at least in my case, that meausred IQ does correlate with "giftedness," in some way)

    b. No programs existed to be used – virtually everything in the 60's was about "mainstreaming," special needs children – which did not include bright kids but those with various difficulties (not merely academic, but physical, as well)

    c. A program was created in which I was allowed to attend community college and grade school at the same time – NO counseling whatsoever was provided me regarding dealing with "adults," in that environment, though nevertheless, the community college folks were themselves very supportive

    d. MORE and MUCH MORE resourcing needs to be done against all manners of giftedness, and for that matter, all manners of ordinary-ness to maximize EVERYONE's potential. Being smart (by which I mean the ability to rapidly absorb and utlize information in both deductive and inductive reasoning to arrive at "new" conclusions) is NOT necessary (or even modal) for success in the "real world," that most of us inhabit

    d. Rationale for c – rather simple, really – we can spend $20 billion providing programs to raise the lowest to the middle, or provide that same sum to raise the upper middle and the highest to much higher still. I would promote both if I wrote the checks and, therefore, simply admit this: all children are different, but all children also exhibit population level charactersitics that are rather easily identified

    e. The greatest and indeed simplest ONE SINGLE ACTION we can take to enhance everyone's prospects in this great nation....FOOD. Sound silly? It isn't. Proper nutrition has lead to brighter people in general

    f. Societal enrichment and acceptance should go without saying, but they do not. As a science nerd...yes, I admit it, who earned two PhD's in that field, the AUTOMATIC assumption by all who know this remains one of great stigma. It is assumed I have no leadership skills; ability to play an instrument; ability to interact with my fellow man; desire to enjoy beauty in all its forms; or even deserving of the same life of relative ease and happiness most Americans enjoy. I am constantly reminded just HOW bright I am and how MUCH I owe. True to some degree, perhaps, but daunting in its execution.

    Lastly: frankly I would much rather have been born relatively normal (or at least, educated relatively normally) than I was. The sense of dislocation was and is profound. The requirements I meet daily – be greatly successful (and at my level, "success," means a Nobel) and be "humble," at the same time – are offputting in the extreme.

    To quote Nixon: "I've earned everything I've got."

    November 15, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Devin

      I was told I was gifted as well as I child, supposedly I scored one of the highest IQs in the town's history, and that was their basis for determining who was gifted. I am responding to you to say that although society has expectations of grandeur from us, the reality is, it is only our expectations that we have for ourselves that matter. Intelligence is only one characteristic of importance. Learning to accept ourselves is something altogether unassisted by that intellect. I have found it quite liberating to reject those notions that are placed upon us that we have to USE or intelligence for some lofty goal, and be successful according to someone else's idea of success. To me the greatest success is to enjoy life, every moment of it, and sometimes I have found that comes from areas that have nothing at all to do with my intellect or intelligence. In fact, often they seem to be in direct opposition to enjoying life. Basically, it is in your power to let the intelligence simply be, and not be the focus of your life.

      November 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  50. Tinky

    I fully agree. I do a lot of art, and often get told how gifted I am, others seemingly forgetting the many years,weeks, and hours I put into developing this skill. There might have been a "gift", or maybe it was just a devoted interest, but just the same you need the time, help and patience to nourish it and truly "blossom". I can make money off this skill, but there is still infinite room for development.

    Sure, there probably are many children who are told they are SUPER GIFTED and grow up believing this, and I don't get the obsession with it. All children must be nourished, but play fair, play true. It's not that common but i still want to direct this following question to parents who do this: what is more important... that your child will grow up to be a contented, happy, loving and secure adult, or for them to be gifted and fantastic at stuff?

    November 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Linda

      You have named such an important thing – that even gifted children grow up in a nourishing environment that allows them to be different without making them feel they are better or worse than other children. I thank my parents for developing that supportive home life for me, and showing me how to help my children. If you work at it, the right family life can supercede the impediments of a not-so-helpful school.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  51. krehator

    Every parent thinks their kid is gifted.

    November 15, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • kpbsrs

      Wrong, only stupid person thinks that. I didn't think my daughter was gifted, when she tested and identified in 2nd Grade. She was described by her 3rd teacher had a Learning Disability kid. She has a couple closed classmates who I think are truly gifted. One went to Harvard and another went Digipen college. My 17 years old "gifted" who work hard is now studying biology in UC Berkeley.

      November 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
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