Dispelling Myths about Gifted Students and Gifted Education
Back in 1982, Gifted Child Quarterly published a special edition that focused on myths about gifted education - and the research that dispels those myths. For a look at those first articles, check out this link. It really was an important collection of works, focusing on such myths as "myth: we need to have the same scores for everyone" and "myth: there is a single curriculum for the gifted" and " myth: the gifted constitutes a single, homogenous group."
Recently, GCQ undertook the same task, tackling a series of current myths about gifted students and gifted education and providing the research that backs up why those myths are not true. Many of the myths tackled in the 2009 issue are the very same ones tackled in the 1982 issue, plus the list is expanded with timely and relevant new (actually - old) myths, such as "myth: it is fair to teach all children the same way" and "myth: classroom teachers have the time, the skill, and the will to differentiate adequately" and "myth: high-ability students don't face problems and challenges."
A great overview of some of these myths is provided at the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) website. A good overview of all of the myths is provided at this link. Perhaps you have heard others say some of these myths, or perhaps you believe them yourself. Click each myth below to access a full accounting of the statistics and research that prove them wrong:
* Myth: Gifted students don't need help; they'll do fine on their own.
* Myth: That student can't be gifted; he's receiving poor grades.
* Myth: Teachers challenge all the students, so gifted kids will be fine in the regular classroom.
* Myth: Gifted students are happy, popular, and well adjusted in school.
* Myth: Gifted students make everyone else in the class smarter by providing a role model or a challenge.
* Myth: This child can't be gifted; he has a disability.
* Myth: All children are gifted.
* Myth: Our district has a gifted and talented program; we have AP courses.
* Myth: Acceleration placement options are socially harmful for gifted students.
* Myth: Gifted education requires abundant resources.
* Myth: Gifted education programs are elitist.
I've taken my own stab at countering some of these myths a time or two. Check out This Year's Kid, Not Next Year's Teacher and Twice Exceptional: An Interview, plus The Echo in the Pipeline and GT is NOT...
Three of the 2009 "Myths" articles can be downloaded for free here. The rest you can access via the GCQ links above and using your NAGC membership number of signing up.
Finally, you might particularly enjoy this well-done little video showing kids tackling some of these myths. It was written and produced by teens in the Baltimore County Public Schools for the Maryland State Department of Education.
Tamara Fisher is a K-12 gifted education specialist for a school district located on an Indian reservation in northwestern Montana and President of the Montana Association of Gifted and Talented Education. With Karen Isaacson, she is also co-author of Intelligent Life in the Classroom: Smart Kids and Their Teachers. Her hobbies include drawing, hiking, four-wheeling, and building houses. (She lives in a house she built herself.) In this blog, Fisher discusses news and developments in the gifted education community and offers advice for teachers on working with gifted students.