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Common Stereotypes of Gifted Students

Instructor: Alexis Jones

Alexis has taught grades 1 through 6, and has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction.

While gifted students are considered to be some of the best and brightest in our classrooms, there are a number of myths and stereotypes that exist about their talents and abilities.

Gifted Students in Real Life

Andrea's teacher is confused about why Andrea wants to chat with her during recess instead of playing with her peers. She wonders if Andrea's giftedness prevents her from being appropriately social. Kyle's father wonders why his third grade son, who is reading the classics of American literature, has so much trouble with his math facts in school. It's easy to assume that our most successful students will be successful in all areas, but like many other students who haven't been identified as gifted, they are complex and varied.

Common Stereotypes

Gifted Students Are Only Interested in Academics

The National Association of Gifted Children defines gifted as, ''manifest(ing) in one or more domains such as; intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership, or in a specific academic field such as language arts, mathematics, or science.'' This means that gifted students may find their talents in painting, debate, drama, or many other areas outside of the regular classroom. This misconception about what gifted students excel in stems primarily from a lack of training. However, it can be addressed when teachers spend more time with these children and keep an open mind about what gifts their students may have.

Gifted Students Are Shy & Socially Awkward

One argument that is often used to support the infrequency of academic acceleration (grade skipping) is that gifted students don't make friends easily. The truth of the matter is that gifted students may have less contact with peers their age. When they do, it's difficult for them to find common ground in terms of interests, shared activities, and a sense of humor. If you've ever wondered why your gifted student wants to chat with you during recess instead of playing with his or her peers, this is why!

Gifted students are not always shy!
Gifted students

Gifted Students Are Gifted in All Areas

Rarely is any child equally successful in all areas, so this is an interesting misconception about gifted students. Some young children are fluent and expressive readers but have trouble with comprehension. Others are highly gifted in mathematics but struggle in reading. This problem is especially apparent in children who are twice exceptional, such as having a learning disability in one subject and a gifted identification in another.

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