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January 2011

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Giftedness: What's That?

What a question! As the Teacher Resource Specialist for NAGC, and a full-time teacher in the field, I am often asked for my definition of what giftedness means. I have answered this question many times over the years, and it is only recently that I have begun to formulate a concrete conception of what it means to be a gifted and talented student.  Share what you know about supporting G/T students with your colleagues. 

Regardless of your conception of giftedness, one statement echoes constantly for me.  A high quality education, which includes exposure to diverse elements of the world, coupled with the commitment of parents and teachers in the personal history of the individual must be taken into consideration. 

It is very hard to pinpoint giftedness. Who are “our” gifted and talented students and what do we think they should accomplish is a question I consistently ask myself. I believe that in order to educate and develop talent in all areas, education should focus on enriching the individual with full range of all that gifted and talented education pedagogy has to offer. The nation’s schools are failing our gifted and talented children. Despite the efforts of advocates, politicians, teachers like me, and university professors, only a small percentage of our students are recognized as having the potential to be “gifted," and in turn receive the services they need.

With all of the problems plaguing our nations’ educational system, I suggest that gifted education strategies, whether deliberately delivered or inherently presented, could provide a new framework for education as a whole. Perhaps if more general education leaders recognized that many of the innovative strategies they seek to provide students were actually developed in the field of gifted and talented education, they would look to “us” for the answers they seek. I urge you to reach out to your colleagues with some of the information and data that makes our case.