Gifted characteristics are often mistaken for poor behavior in the classroom. The traits of gifted students actually creates unique differentiated instruction opportunities teachers can build and extend on.
These unique kids tend to drive many teachers and parents crazy. They can be highly emotional, have very strong feelings without the maturity to appropriately display them.
As well, they are also highly critical of themselves and others.
I'll be honest here: as a parent of a gifted child it can be very draining. The behaviors one of my children shows is enough to send me through the roof at the end of a long day in the classroom (although it was kind of funny the day he got in trouble for drawing a butt for the sound of /b/ so he erased it and drew a "bucktooth loser" in kindergarten - sigh).
But he is not unusual in the realm of certain behaviors and gifted characteristics. Indeed, I see in him the same issues my students who are highly gifted experience:
These are just a few of the complexities that make these children both a joy and a challenge to raise and teach.
There are also a variety of levels of intellectual giftedness that must be considered.
One of my other sons is actually a high achiever. Like a truly gifted student, he needs differentiated instruction to ensure he continues to grow.
However, children who are high achievers are often the ones who are mistakenly thought of as being gifted when they really aren't.
Here's the same image as a table, which may be easier for some people to read.
|Gifted Children||High Achievers|
|Highly curious||Knows the answers|
|Has wild, crazy ideas||Has good ideas|
|Plays around, yet can test well||Works hard to achieve high scores|
|Detail oriented||Answers the questions|
|1-2 repetitions for mastery||6-8 repetitions for mastery|
|Prefers older children or adults||Enjoys peers|
|Makes inferences||Grasps the meaning|
|Extremely intense||Receptive and willing|
|Creates new designs||Copies information accurately|
|Manipulates information||Absorbs information|
|Excellent guesser||Excellent memorizing skills|
|Likes complexity||Enjoys sequential information|
|Is keenly observant||Alert and on-task|
|Highly self-critical||Pleased with own efforts|
|Asks the hard questions||Knows all the answers|
|Works beyond the group||Works in the top group|
|Enjoys learning new things||Enjoys school|
|Rebels against routine||Enjoys routine|
|Becomes the class clown||Conforms to accepted behavior|
Just as no two kids are the same, not all gifted children or high achievers will show all of these traits. But when you do see characteristics of gifted students, you must differentiate their learning.
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