Gifted and Talented Topics and Issues

Definition of Gifted

Definition of Giftedness

There is no formal definition of gifted. Some professionals say that a person who scores above 130 on an intelligence test is gifted. Others define a child as gifted if they work 2 or more grade levels above his or her peers in a specific subject.

Ellen Winner, the author of the book “Gifted Children” states that gifted children possess three characteristics. The first characteristic is precocity. This means that gifted children begin to master things at an earlier-than-average age. They also move at a faster rate of progress through a specific domain than do other children their age. (Domain refers to an area of knowledge such as language, mathematics, music, art, etc.) Learning in a specific domain also comes easy to them.

The second characteristic that Winner noticed was that gifted children insist on marching to the beat of their own drummer. They do not only learn faster, but in a different way compared to other children. Much of the time they teach themselves. Their excitement for discovery keeps them motivated and leads them to the next step. They unearth things on their own and tend to solve problems in unique ways. Gifted children tend to be creative.

The final characteristic, a rage to master, shows that gifted children are internally motivated to make sense of their domain. They show an extreme, and sometimes obsessive interest which leads to high achievement. At times they can lose sense of the outside world and seem to be in a state of “flow” when they are engaged in learning about their domain.


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