• Common Myths and Truths about Gifted Students

    Common Myths about Gifted Students

    1. Gifted students are a homogeneous group; all high achievers.  They don't need help; they'll do fine on their own.

    2. Gifted students do not need help.  If they are really gifted, they can manage on their own.

    3. Gifted students have fewer problems than others because their intelligence and abilities somehow exempt them from the hassles of daily life.

    4. Gifted students are self-directed; they know where they are heading.

    5. The future of a gifted student is assured; a world of opportunities await.

    6. The social and emotional development of the gifted student is at the same level as his or her intellectual development.

    7. Gifted students need to serve as examples to others, and they should always assume extra responsibilities.

    8. Gifted students are naturally creative and do not need encouragement.

    9. Gifted children cannot have disabilities.


    Common Truths about Gifted Students 

    1. Gifted students are often perfectionists and idealists.  They may equate achievement and grades with self-esteem and self-worth, which sometimes leads to fear of failure and interferes with achievement.

    2. Gifted students are asynchronous.  Their chronological age, social, physical, emotional, and intellectual development may all be at different levels.  For example, a 5 year old may be able to read and comprehend a third grade book but his social development be much younger.

    3. Some gifted children are "mappers" (sequential learners), while others are "leapers" (spatial learners).  Leapers may not know how they got a "right answer."

    4. Gifted students may be so far ahead of their chronological age mates that they know more than half the curriculum before the school year even starts.

    5. Gifted children are problem solvers.  They benefit from working an open-ended, interdisciplinary problems.

    6. Gifted students often think abstractly and with such complexity that they may need help with concrete study and test-taking skills.  They may not be able to select one answer in a multiple choice question because they see how all the answers might be correct.

    7. Gifted students who do well in school may define success as getting an "A" and failure as any grade less than an "A."  By early adolescence they may be unwilling to try anything where they are not certain of guaranteed success.

    8. Some gifted students also have learning or other disabilities. These “twice-exceptional” students often go undetected in regular classrooms because their disability and gifts mask each other, making them appear “average.”


    Adapted from College Planning for Gifted Students, 2nd Edition, by Sandra Berger.