Friday, February 18, 2005

What is Gifted Thinking?

Our son's assignment for his Stanford EPGY (Educational Program for Gifted Youth) Writing Course this week is to write an essay defining giftedness. What is gifted thinking? How we define giftedness will affect how we organize, design, and deliver our educational programs.

The assessment of who's in or who's out is such a touchy subject, that some prefer to avoid discussion of it all together. If you do though, you will bring that view to your program. It was Stanford Professor Lewis Terman who first coined the term "gifted", but his massive study on the "Genetic Study of Genius" also missed the only two Nobel prize winner of the group (Luis Alvarez and William Shockley) because their IQ tests were too low.

Some of our son's brainstorming notes made us think. His answers:

1. How should giftedness be determined? "When a student complains!"
2. What should a gifted student be able to do? "Breeze through some things, know the information already, and want to know more about the why and how"
3. What are different ways a student could be gifted? "They could be very kind, do interesting things, do things that are new or different, be a good theorizer, be a good entertainer, be perfectionisic, artistic, good in business, or really think about their audience." How many of these qualities are used to define giftedness today? Who might we be missing?

Wired: The Key to Genius
Nobel Prize Winners Hate School

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