May 27, 2022

Gifted and talented kids

It is worth remembering that all children are individuals and we should beware trying to “pigeon-hole” them. Each child will demonstrate aspects of their abilities and personalities in slightly different ways – so the following should be treated as no more than a “rule of thumb” guide.

The following definitions are generally accepted.

“Gifted” children are those exceptional children (estimated at 2%) who show marked ability in a range of areas – and to whom many of the characteristics on the list (below) will apply.

“More able” children are those children (estimated variously between 5% and 20%) who show above average ability in one or more areas – and to whom some of the characteristics on the list (below) will apply.

“Talented” children are those children whose abilities lie in areas perceived as less academic – such as art, music, drama, sport, etc.

There is, nevertheless, some confusion about how to define children with advanced ability.

The list below shows characteristics that have been attributed to “gifted” (or “more able”) children. It is worth noting that many (if not most) of the items on the list refer to those children who demonstrate enhanced linguistic and / or mathematical skills (the traditionally recognised academic areas).

Whereas the list may go some way towards helping us identify the academically “gifted”, it is less likely to assist with identification of “talented” children.

It is obvious that not all of the characteristics on the list will apply to all “gifted” children – especially as some of the characteristics are apparently contradictory. The reason for this is that “gifted” children are not all gifted in the same way. Certain of the characteristics will apply to those children with enhanced linguistic skills, others are more likely to apply to those with enhanced logical-mathematical skills, whilst still others are much more likely to be demonstrated by children with artistic and creative skills.

See also  Multiple Intelligences

One of the reasons why there has been some past confusion in defining and identifying “gifted” children is that we have tended to employ a flawed definition of intelligence – which has failed to recognise the varying characteristics of different kinds of intelligence. By adopting a more holistic view of intelligence, not only are we more likely to recognise (and value) a wider range of skills and talents – we are also more likely to contribute to the development of confidence and self-esteem in a broader cross-section of our children. This will enable us as a society to benefit from a greater pool of skills and abilities.

You may find it useful to refer to “Discover your child’s potential” which adopts a more holistic view based on Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences.

  • Extensive general knowledge
  • Versatile with many interests
  • Extremely knowledgeable in certain areas
  • Shows intense concentration
  • Asks searching questions
  • Responds to questions in diverse ways
  • Wide vocabulary
  • Verbally fluent
  • Sophisticated sense of humour
  • Outstanding memory
  • Inquisitive
  • Sceptical
  • Leaps from the concrete to the abstract
  • Recognises connections – forms hypotheses
  • Quickly makes generalisations
  • Keen and alert observer
  • Original – imaginative – creative
  • Works quickly and accurately (though maybe untidily)
  • Learns easily
  • Devises own methods and strategies
  • May not conform to accepted standards of behaviour
  • Collects things
  • Daydreams – lives in a world of their own
  • Behaves extrovertly
  • Behaves introvert-ly
About G. Tso