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G/T Awareness Week Day 1: Myth-Busting Monday

Apr 01, 2024

Gifted learners...aren't they the smart kids, the ones that are on the A Honor Roll, the ones that love school, and the ones that shouldn't really need our help?  It's crazy to me that this is still the stigma of gifted learners.  The reality is that gifted learners are not always high achievers and high achievers are not always gifted learners.  

Let's spend some time demystifying gifted education and being honest about what it really means to be gifted.  The Davidson Institute explains that, "Children who are gifted are defined as those who demonstrate an advanced ability or potential in one or more specific areas when compared to others of the same age, experience or environment."

That's the definition of giftedness and while, yes, every learner has gifts, not every learner is gifted.

So, let's talk about it...what are some of the biggest gifts regarding gifted learners?

1. Gifted learners are fine and don't need our support. Gifted learners not only need support but they need specific support throughout their school experience. Many gifted learners do not feel seen and do not feel supported. They often feel as though they don't belong at school because there is nothing for them to gain from the experience. Finding ways to support gifted learners beyond their pull-out program is important and should be considered on every campus and in every classroom.

2.  Gifted learners should always make good grades. Not every learner is academically gifted.  Some of our learners are creative or have the ability to put a car or a computer back together.  Not making good grades does not make the less gifted or negate their ability that is well beyond what their peers are capable of.  Remember, the advanced ability or potential in one or more specific areas when compared to others of the same age. There is no mention of the A Honor Roll here or even a requirement to be in the top 10%.

3. Gifted learners will be successful beyond the walls of the classroom.  While we hope for all of our learners to be successful beyond their school experience, the reality is that if we do not give the tools that they need through understanding who they are, many of them will struggle when someone isn't around to tell them what to do, when to do, where to do, and how to do.  If gifted learners do not experience productive struggle, intrinsic motivation, and do not receive appropriate support, success might be very difficult for them to find.

So, there they are...the three myths about gifted learners that I hear most often.  In order to serve gifted learners well, we have to take the time to understand who they are what they need.  My hope is that, as a community, we can begin to help others understand giftedness in a way that will result in school being a place that not gifted learners want to be but a place that they belong and flourish. But, before any of that can happen, we have to stop making assumptions and start focusing on the facts.  

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