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Myths About Gifted Education
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National Association for Gifted Children
10 Myths about Gifted Education

 

            An estimated 6-10% of our students are academically gifted; additional students may be identified in other areas of giftedness, such as creativity, visual and performing arts, and leadership, yet we often do not provide the education experience they need to fulfill their potential.  Following are the ten most prevalent myths about educating high-ability children followed by the truth of what these children need.

 

1.  Gifted children will do fine on their own.

Truth:  Gifted children cannot teach themselves.  Boredom and frustration can lead to underachievement, despondency, poor work habits, or even to dropping out of school.

2.  Teachers challenge all students in the classroom.

Truth:  Data shows that most teachers have not been prepared to work with advanced students; therefore, many of these children are not learning new material every day.  Professional development is needed to help teachers best serve gifted students in the classroom.

3.  Gifted students are role models for other students in the classroom.

Truth:  Average or below-average students do not look to the gifted students in the class as role models, but on those who have similar capabilities and are coping well in school.

4.  All children are gifted.

Truth:  All children have strengths and positive attributes, but not all children are gifted in the academic sense of the word.  Gifted does not connote good or better; it is a sorting term that allows students to receive education services to meet their unique needs.

5.  Academic acceleration is socially harmful for the accelerated students.

Truth:  Gifted children are often happier with older children who share their interests and abilities than with children their own age.  When used appropriately, subject or grade acceleration can meet a student’s needs without negative consequences.

6.  Gifted education programs are elitist.

Truth:  Because funding for gifted programs is often dependent on local funds, higher-income school districts are able to provide services, giving the appearance of elitism.  However, gifted learners are found in all cultures, ethnicity, and socioeconomic groups.

7.  Students getting poor or average grades cannot be gifted.

Truth:  Not all gifted students are academically successful.  Boredom, frustration, bad study habits, social pressure, or other factors can lead to underachievement.

8.  Gifted students are happy, popular, and well-adjusted in school.

Truth:  School can be a negative experience for some gifted students.  They may be prone to emotional and moral intensity, perfectionism, and social issues.  It is important that counselors and other school personnel have been trained to recognize their sensitivities.

9.  A child receiving special education services cannot also be gifted.

Truth:  Some gifted students have learning or other disabilities, which can mask each other. 

10.  Gifted education programs require an abundance of resources.

Truth:  Offering gifted education services does not need to break the bank.  However, an effective and comprehensive gifted education program requires professional development, assessments, and advanced curriculum.

For more information, visit www.NAGC.org

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