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-

Thursday, November 08, 2007

How to deal with existentialism in gifted youngsters

"Gifted people can become cynical because they can “see
through” people, they empathize
and perceive the dark side too
-Elizabeth Meckstroth-

"The point is that the danger lies in having an exceptional IQ in an environment completely lacking in intellectual peers. It's the isolation that does the damage, not the IQ itself."

(photo from: The Situationist)

Some (many?) gifted individuals experience the world as if they are observing it from within a glass bubble. When they talk, it is as if no one really listens to what they are saying. This can leave them alienated, lonely, frustrated and even pained. How can they deal with that?

Ginger Lewman, a GT teacher and also Director of a charter school that serves predominantly gifted students says "..we need to be having these types of conversations with kids on a regular basis. .. I think the BEST thing I've seen .. are the Ten Power Questions..from a book called How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day.

10 Power Questions

• When am I most naturally myself?
• What is one thing I could stop doing, or start doing, or do differently, starting today, that would improve the quality of my life?
• What is my greatest talent?
• How can I get paid for doing what I love?
• Who are my most inspiring role models? Do I apply their lessons daily?
• How can I best be of service to others?
• What is my heart’s deepest desire?
• What are the greatest obstacles to the fulfillment of my dreams and goals?
• What are the blessings of my life? Do I recount them every day?
• What legacy would I like to leave?

I encourage my students to consider a couple of these questions at a time. In fact, these are PERFECT blog starters, but some will have pretty personal answers too that should not be publicized.

Either way, it gets high/middle schoolers to consider things beyond tomorrow and beyond their daily dramas.


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