How to Maintain and Grow the Giftedness in Children
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Q: There are a number of checklists to identify gifted children, identification
is an easy task -- comparatively. But how should one maintain that the
"giftedness" continues to "grow" in the child.
p/s. keep in mind that this is regarding Indian children.
A: The biggest loss of potential is when they burn out. One must also
realize that giftedness is for life, but the extent to which it is demonstrated over time would depend on how their potential is nurtured. It also depends on how giftedness is viewed. One may think that their child is no longer gifted when his/her grades slip. We must be aware that gifted students may not always test well. It really depends on how a gifted child views testing. If he/she does not see a purpose and meaning to testing, s/he may not test well, much to the disappointment of adults, namely parents and teachers.
Gifted children need differentiation in learning; hence teaching techniques used should promote higher order and creative thinking which enhances the staying power and passion for learning. They need to be interested in what they learn and not merely studying for good grades – otherwise they may burn out. In other words, gifted children are more intrinsically motivated.
There are indeed two categories of high achievers – one that is high achieving alone but not gifted; and one that is both gifted and high achieving. The high achiever will score A's by working hard and
memorizing facts for extrinsic reasons whereas the gifted would do well due to intrinsic motivation by simply enjoying learning. To ensure giftedness is demonstrated, gifted children need learning beyond classroom teaching. They also need to be interested and kept interested in what they learn to achieve long term goals. Help the child think about the future so they are able to develop a vision to in turn, help them engage in learning for a purpose.
Giftedness is universal in most cases. As long as educational experiences are quite standard, racial differences should not make a difference; most of the differences would be due to the kind of nurturing and environment the child is in.