“Gifted and Talented” (GT) is one of the most misunderstood expressions not only within the public at large, but also within the general education community. Often the impression is that “Gifted” and “Talented” are one in the same thing, but they are not.
First, a gifted person is someone who has the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment, while a talented person is some one who has been trained to perform at a remarkably high level of accomplishment. In other words, one can be gifted and not be talented, while one who is talented is also gifted. This concept was first proposed by one of the great lights of Gifted Education today, Dr. Francoys Gagné of the University of Quebec in “Differentiated Model” which is included in his Handbook of Gifted Education.
These potential abilities and trained accomplishments go far beyond the intellectual abilities that are often measured by a high IQ. The State of Texas as well as the U.S. Department of Education identify six general areas of giftedness: 1] general intellectual ability, 2] specific academic aptitude, 3] creative or productive thinking, 4] leadership ability, 5] visual and performing arts, and 6] psychomotor ability, which includes all athletic abilities. Since the finding and training of athletes is expertly accomplished by high school athletics, no state or federal GT resources are expended on training psychomotor abilities but we do on the other five areas.
To further understand Gifted and Talented Education, we need to understand the goals of GT Education. At the risk of over simplifying, I will tell you it is 1] finding the gifted students early, and 2] training them to become talented. Both of these are infinitely easier said than done. Let’s take a look at them one at a time; first, finding the students early.
The public’s conception is that since these kids are gifted and smart, they will be easy to detect. But that is only true for a small percentage of students. The school councilors, administrators, and teachers look for kids with high grades and who are model students, and often they don’t even have to do that because the parents of these same kids come knocking on the principals door requesting that their kids be tested for giftedness.
However, there are many more of these gifted kids that are not found for a number of reasons, and I will tell you about this and more in my next article. For your comments please click the “comment” button at the top of this page or for questions, please e-mail me at: [email protected]
“However gifted an individual is at the outset, if his or her talents cannot be developed because of his or her social condition, because of the surrounding circumstances, these talents will be still-born”
Simone de Beauvoir quotes (French Writer and feminist, 1908-1986)
This article was originally published in knotmove.com on October 13, 2009
What is Gifted and Talented Education? (PART 2); potential is not the same as trained will be republished in a few days.
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Gifted Education Writer