Educating the Gifted and Talented

“People should be free to find or make for themselves the kinds of educational experience they want their children to have.” -John Holt-

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Little sympathy for failing students

I wonder how it is possible that schools accept students into the Gifted and Talented program without educating the parents about the meaning of giftedness or high intelligence and the problems that can arise. These two different characteristics do not always coincide in an individual but when they do, beware! Such a child and yes, adults also, will have a much greater challenge ahead to find meaning in this world. They experience the world in a qualitatively different manner from others and often are critically aware of things that others don’t see or brush off as unimportant.

Their perception and analytical thought process coupled with intense feelings can make them feel quite alone and even "alien" in this world. Some will experience chronic mental anguish throughout their lives. The stress of not finding peace of mind and of spirit puts them at risk for depression and despair. I believe that students who possess these two traits are the most at-risk of failing in our schools.

It’s a wonderful experience for me to volunteer in the GT Office at my son’s high school and come face to face with these students who harbor so much potential and appear to be so full of zest! Yet, it’s equally disheartening to see how some of them have become disappointed with school, and even worse, with themselves.
It strikes me as odd how many GT students do not possess an appreciation for their talents, strengths and interests and often feel insecure about themselves. Maybe they, just like society, believe that in order to be gifted you have to accomplish great things. If you don’t you are simply not gifted!

Pervasive lack of understanding for their needs by teachers and society alike, cause a lack of sympathy for them when they fail. The faulty conclusion that they are lazy robs them of their academic self confidence and even more unforgivably, of their self esteem as well. If they cannot find unconditional acceptance and support from their families or friends depression and substance abuse can follow.

For these students alternative schooling, including the GED exam, is and should remain an option which should be presented to them, their parents and also to the community in a positive manner so that students feel comfortable to pursue such option without shame or loss of self-confidence.


  • At 7:21 AM, Blogger JustApril said…

    I was in that program for a couple of years in grade school, but they called it Talented and Gifted then, TAG. It's funny, when reading through your post, it's like you were describing my siblings one by one. We don't ALL have all of those difficulties, but each of us has at least one. Over achievers, perfectionists - no need to be critisized, we're already saying to ourselves in our own heads.... etc..

    My sis that is 16 right now, has the hardest time, but she's like the smartest one of us. She can detect even a slight hole in any reasoning, long before the person presenting the argument knows it. She's always been beyond precocious, into extreme intensity. She does good in school acedemically, but social anxiety is a big issue for her.

    We have two other siblings that get labled 'lazy' because they easily get bogged down in the details or something. It's hard, but it's nice to see someone out there actually knows how to express it, thanks! =)


Post a Comment

<< Home