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Exceptionally Able/Gifted Children Essay

Definition: a child who shows exceptional ability in one or more areas mathematical, verbal, spatial awareness, musical or artistic ability. These children have an IQ of 130 or above. This is the top 2% of the population in Ireland.

Characteristics of Gifted Learners:

* Keen powers of observation – noticing details other children of the same age would miss, including non-verbal cues. * Develop skills quicker – gifted children learn to read, walk and talk quicker than other children. * Intellectual curiosity – wanting to know everything about everything – objects, ideas, situations, or events. Gifted children are always asking the ‘bigger’ questions, especially about the world and God. * Good memory – often have a large storehouse of information about a variety of topics, which they can recall quickly.

Causes of Gifted Learners: * This is a cause of great debate between psychologists. * Some people believe that gifted learning is inborn, where the child was born with high ability in one area. * Others believe that gifted learning is a by-product of deliberate practice. For example, if a child is surrounded by music and plays an instrument from a young age, then this child is more likely to be gifted in this area than others.

Consequences of Gifted Learners: * Boredom – teachers often forget about gifted children. The children get distracted easily or get bored as the work is too low of standard. * Perfectionism – gifted children want to strive for perfection but often fail to attain their own high standards. * Sensitivity – a gifted 7 year old may have the intellectual ability of a 17 year old but the emotional ability of a 4 year old. * Alienation – a gifted learner’s outlook in life is very different to their peers. Because of this they may struggle to gain and maintain friendship with peers.

Tips for teaching * Gifted children have special educational needs. Regular school work may not provide sufficient challenge for them. There are several approaches that can be of help, and sometimes a combination of them all is needed. * Do your job to the best of your ability. * Child centred planning – plan for the need of each child in the class, not for the class as a whole. * Acceleration – possibly moving the gifted child into an older class for some/all subjects. The child will be doing the work of an older class and it will be more challenging. * Differentiation – keep the gifted child with their age group but provide different material for the gifted learner to do.


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