Issues Facing Gt Learners

What We Need to Know

Myth 1: Gifted students are so smart they can do fine on their own in school and don’t need help

Myth number one is about gifted learners being able to learn without instruction. The belief is that they are able to learn and be successful without a teacher. While we all learn differently, and some can be successful learning certain tasks on their own, this isn't the case of all learners. Like all students, gifted learners are unique, and they need quality instruction. Myth number one makes the mistake of generalizing all gifted students, making some all or nothing style statements. This myth also highlights the importance of educators having professional development about giftedness.

Myth 2: Gifted students are good role models for other students and can provide a challenge for them in a regular classroom

Myth number two assumes that non-gifted children look up to their gifted peers and feel challenged by them. This is not the case; non-gifted peers feel frustrated when compared to gifted peers, as this is an unfair comparison. Additionally, they do not view their gifted peers as role models. Finally, this also makes the assumption that all gifted learners are model students in the classroom; like all children, they have good days and bad ones.

Myth 3: All Children are Gifted

Certainly, all children have special gifts or talents, but this is not the same as giftedness. Gifted children are not on the same academic level as their same age peers, and they have the ability to apply their learning at a level well above what is normal for their age.

Myth 4: Students with learning disabilities cannot be considered gifted and talented

This particular myth really bothers me. I have had the opportunity to see it in action, as a student with Aspergers was not tested for our campus gifted and talented program until the third grade. Despite having many characteristics of giftedness, it was just assumed that these characteristics were related to his disability; once placed, he was finally felt like he belonged, and he excelled. While a disability may mask giftedness, it does not preclude the learner from being gifted.

Myth 5: Gifted students develop socially and emotionally faster than other children their age

Because of their academic giftedness, the mistake is often made that their social and emotional development is also advanced. These students have the same needs as their peers, and, in some cases, more. They may experience difficulty coping, fitting in, or with social skills. Like all learners, gifted children need social and emotional support.