and supporting
your gifted
Leonie Nicholls
Monday 17 March 2014
Topics in tonight’s presentation
 Definitions
of gifted and talented
 Characteristics of gifted learners
 Overexcitabilities
 Introverts and extraverts
 Perfectionism
 Underachievement
 Influence of parents on student
Giftedness and talent:
What do they mean?
Aren’t all students gifted?
Giftedness and talent:
What do they mean?
 Everyone
has a personal strength and also
a personal weakness.
 We don’t confuse personal weaknesses
with disabilities.
 Equally, we shouldn't confuse personal
strengths with gifts.
Giftedness and talent:
What do they mean?
Identifying a student as gifted
doesn’t mean they are of greater
worth than other students, just as
physically disabled doesn’t mean
they are of less worth.
The Gagné Model of
and Talent
Until mid-1980s, definitions of giftedness and
talent used in Australia tended to be
performance based.
Children identified as gifted were usually the
successful, motivated students who were
already achieving.
What about the children who had not been able
to translate their high abilities into
The Gagné Model of
and Talent
 Françoys
Gagné’s model recognises and
avoids this problem.
 ‘Giftedness’
and ‘talent’ are not
 They
are two different stages in a highly
able student’s journey from high potential
to high performance.
The Gagné Model of
and Talent
Gagné’s definition of giftedness:
The possession of natural abilities
or aptitudes at levels significantly
beyond what might be
expected for one’s age, in any
domain of human ability.
The Gagné Model of
and Talent
Giftedness = high ability
Talent = high achievement
How does giftedness
become talent?
Intrapersonal catalysts:
Motivation and perseverance
Confidence in their abilities
How does giftedness
Environmental catalysts:
 Milieu (surroundings)
 Significant persons
 School provisions
 Significant family/community
Some cognitive characteristics
of intellectually gifted
 Ability
to ask reflective and probing,
sometimes provocative, questions.
 The
capacity to see and create patterns
and relationships in their field of special
 Can
become deeply absorbed in work
they find interesting.
Some cognitive characteristics
of intellectually gifted
 Unusually
fast rate of learning.
 Reasons
at a level more usually found in a
student some years older.
 Extremely
well developed memory.
Some cognitive characteristics
of intellectually gifted
 Dislike
of slow-paced work.
 Many
gifted students have a preference
for independent work.
 It
is unusual for a gifted student to have
only one area of high ability.
Some affective characteristics
of intellectually gifted
 Emotional
 Unusual
ability to empathise with the
feelings of other students or adults.
 An
unusually well developed sense of
justice and fairness.
Some affective characteristics
of intellectually gifted
 An
unusually mature sense of humour.
 Often
prefer the companionship of older
 May
develop a strong attachment to one
or two close friends.
Some affective characteristics
of intellectually gifted
Students with multiple talents have difficulty
deciding on a career.
Some gifted students can exhibit perfectionist
For some gifted students the need to develop
their gifts and feel pride in academic
achievement may clash with their need to be
accepted by classmates.
Social comparisons
Some gifted students learn, surprisingly early in
their school careers, that to display abilities
and opinions that are different than those of
the majority of their classmates can lead to
mockery and even ostracism.
Some students may have been ‘dumbing
down’ their abilities for years before coming
to high school.
 When
students are presented only
with work which they can do
effortlessly, they may never develop
persistence or striving for success.
 Some
students may
speed with quality.
The forced-choice dilemma
Academically gifted students may be
faced with a ‘forced choice dilemma’
if their desire to excel in their area of
talent conflicts with their need to be
accepted by the peer culture.
Can gifted adolescents be
 Tendency
towards physical restlessness
 Often misinterpreted as a sign of emotional
 Overexcitability
has positive connotations
such as an insatiable love of learning, the
capacity to care intensely for people and
ideas, boundless energy, and a vivid
The five ‘overexcitabilities’
 Intellectual
 Emotional
 Imaginational
 Sensual
 Psychomotor
Intellectual overexcitability
passionate love of learning
 An
enhanced capacity for
analytical thinking
 Meta-analysis
(enjoys thinking
about thinking)
Intellectual overexcitability
 Sustained
intellectual effort / much
longer attention span
 Intense
 Unwillingness
to be satisfied with
simplistic or incomplete answers
Emotional overexcitability
 Unusual
sensitivity to the feelings of
other students
 May
develop a strong attachment
to other people
 May
not easily forgive themselves if
they have hurt someone’s feelings
Emotional overexcitability
 Can
 May
be extremely self critical
become fond of places, as
well as people
Imaginational overexcitability
 Explain
events or ideas in such great
detail that adults beg them to get to the
 Often
have a need to describe subtle
nuances of a situation or interaction
 Often
visualise situations very vividly
Imaginational overexcitability
 May
demonstrate a capacity to mix
truth with fantasy for effect
 May
prefer to act out stories rather
than simply telling them.
Sensual overexcitability
 Unusual
sensitivity to particular pieces of
music or poetry
 May
enjoy the feel of particular materials
 May
develop a liking for a particular
 Some
develop a strong dislike of the
texture of particular foods even if they like
the taste
Psychomotor excitability
 Surplus
energy may show itself in
compulsive talking and chattering
 May
develop nervous habits
 May
show a love of fast games and sports
Psychomotor excitability
May seem almost unable to stay in their seat
May have unusually rapid speech and
exaggerated vocal expression
Some may be seem to be workaholics or
compulsive organisers
Not to be confused with ADD or ADHD
Experiencing ‘flow’
 When
a student who deeply loves what
they are doing and is engaged in an
activity where the level of challenge
matches their level of ability, the
experience can be totally absorbing and
 Csikszentmihalyi describes this feeling as
being ‘in flow’
Experiencing ‘flow’
 We
can let ‘flow’ happen for our
gifted students by presenting them
with appropriate levels of
 Flow
comes from optimal
engagement with a task. It doesn’t
come from doing, yet again, what
one has been able to do for weeks,
or months, or years.
Introverts and Extraverts
 Introverts
gain energy from within themselves;
they tend to be reflective people who are
‘oriented towards the subjective world of
thoughts and concepts’ (Silverman).
 Extraverts
are more directed towards the
world outside themselves and gain energy
from other people or events.
Introverts and Extraverts
 Introverts
constitute a minority group in
western societies (approximately 25% of the
 Studies of gifted adolescents and adults
have found a much higher proportion of
 Gallagher (1990) studied more than 1,700
adolescents in programs for the gifted and
found that 50% were introverted.
Responding to the needs of
 Give
‘wait time’
 Don’t
interrupt them
 Don’t
embarrass them in public
 Reprimand
them privately rather than
Responding to the needs of
 Let
them observe in new situations
 Develop
an ‘early warning’ system
 Don’t
push them to make lots of friends
 Don’t
try to make them into extraverts
 The
gifted adolescent’s intellectual and
emotional characteristics are intertwined and
closely influence each other.
 The
personality trait of perfectionism is also
influenced by factors in the young person’s
environment and that this will influence whether
the perfectionism is manifested in healthy or
dysfunctional ways.
Strategies to help
 Talk
perfectionism means to them - and to you.
 Is
perfectionism a personality trait that you can
recognise in yourself as well as in your child?
Help to model appropriate responses.
 Point
out positive but imperfect role models in
the media
Strategies to help
 Learn
to set priorities in your own life and help
your child to do likewise.
 Help him or her to accept that making mistakes
is a learning experience. Model your own
acceptance of your mistakes.
 Teach the concept of ‘constructive failure’
 Help your adolescent to set high but realistic
standards for himself/herself but not to expect
other students to conform to these same
Strategies to help perfectionists
 Help
them to understand that time, effort and not
giving up will help them attain the standards they
are setting – if these standards are indeed realistic.
 Work
with your gifted adolescent to improve his or
her self-evaluation skills.
Avoid comparing your gifted adolescent to
siblings or peers.
Strategies to help
 Support,
nurture and encourage your adolescent
in activities in areas of interest or passion which
bring them enjoyment.
 Teach your adolescent that health is important.
Don’t let study interfere with eating and sleeping.
 Seek professional counselling if your gifted
adolescent becomes so fearful of failure or
rejection that s/he becomes unable to act or
make decisions.
 Underachievement
is widely recognised
as a substantial discrepancy between
potential and performance
 Gagné’s
model clearly conceptualises
Important factors that inhibit
the development of gifts
 Low
academic self efficacy
 Forced
choice dilemma
 Double-labelled
 Perfectionism
Important factors that inhibit
the development of gifts
 Boredom
 Dominant
visual-spatial learners
 Metacognition
and cognitive inefficiency
Teacher expectations
Research strongly supports the view that
high teacher expectations can positively
influence student academic achievement
(especially for underachieving students)
Conversely, if a teacher holds
expectations for students, then
negative impact may be substantial.
Profiles of gifted and talented
 Created
 Are
by Betts and Neihart
useful for understanding gifted
Type 1: Successful
 Well
behaved, conformist, seeks approval
from teachers and adults
 Neat, tidy, may be perfectionist
 Seeks order and structure
 Does not take risks
 Achieves, but at levels significantly below
their true ability
Type 2: Challenging
 Can
be obstinate, tactless, sarcastic
 Questions and challenges authority
 Can be rude, arrogant
 Unpopular with peers but sometimes buys
acceptance as class clown
 Does not ‘suffer fools gladly’
Type 1 and Type 2
 Type
2 students may be bored, angry and
resentful that their abilities are not
recognised and may ‘take it out’ on their
teachers and other students.
 Unfortunately this decreases the likelihood
of them being identified as gifted by
teachers who associate giftedness with
Type 1 behaviours
Type 3: Underground
 Conceals
 Strong
ability for peer acceptance
belonging needs
 May
be insecure and anxious
 May
feel guilty for denying their gifts
Type 4: Dropouts
 May
be physically present in the
classroom but intellectually/emotionally
divorced from what is going on in it
 Can
be depressed and withdrawn or
angry and defensive
Type 4: Dropouts
 Interests
may lie outside curriculum and
are not valued by teachers or classmates
 Extremely
Type 5: Double labelled (twice
 Gifted
students who are physically
or emotionally disabled or with
specific learning disabilities
 May
display disruptive behaviours
through frustration
Type 5: Double labelled (twice
 May
be confused about their ability
to perform
 Very
frustrated when teachers
ignore their gifts and focus only on
their disabilities
Type 6: Autonomous learners
 They
 They
use the system to succeed
are confident enough to
express their needs but do so in
ways that teachers and peers will
Type 6: Autonomous
 Independent
 They
 They
and self-directed
don’t wait for others to do things for
are liked and respected by teachers
and peers
Type 6: Autonomous
All gifted students should be assisted
to become autonomous learners
Influence of parents
Studies of young people who grew up to be
highly successful in their careers have found that
the messages transmitted by their parents had a
lot in common. Their parents:
 placed
strong emphasis on trying to do one’s
best, working hard and spending one’s time
 emphasised the importance of study, learning
and school.
Influence of parents
 taught
respect for individuality and
tolerance for the points of view of others.
 recognised a balance of work and play.
 provided a balance of support and
 provided predictable and consistent
expectations for conduct.
Thank you
 Any
further questions or comments on
tonight’s presentation:
[email protected]

similar documents