Learning About Giftedness

April 12, 2016

by Nicole LaChance

Upon accepting my position at IEA I sought to learn more about giftedness in order to communicate our message in the best way possible. I was familiar with giftedness in a general way through my background in educational nonprofits, but wanted to learn more about the joys, struggles and nuances of the youth we serve.

Fortunately there are many resources out there, enough to satisfy a research junkie such as myself. Some of my favorites are:

“Is It a Cheetah?”

Stephanie Tolan’s widely-read essay was one of the first recommended readings on giftedness I explored. Using the metaphor of a cheetah’s speed, Tolan makes the case that you can’t judge giftedness on one trait alone. If schools are using academic performance as the sole measure for placing students in gifted programs it is easy for bored, unchallenged children not reaching their full potential to be left by the wayside. The use of metaphor was helpful to understand the complex nature of giftedness and the trouble schools face in identifying and serving these individuals.

Hoagies Gifted Education Page

Hoagies is a more than just the page the name suggests, it’s a whole website filled with gifted resources. The “Gifted 101” section is a comprehensive primer on all things gifted, including links to everything from scholarly articles to funny anecdotes about the everyday lives of gifted children. Carolyn K. puts a lot of time into curating the page and it shows. A must-read for anyone looking for information on giftedness.

NPR’s Education Coverage

While not a gifted-specific resource, NPR covers gifted issues in the context of the broader education system. I find this useful to discern the attitude toward giftedness outside of our community and to see how gifted issues correlate with those being experienced by the system as a whole. The coverage often has a focus on the needs of economically disadvantaged gifted students and those who come from non-English speaking homes.

IEA’s “What is Gifted?” Page

Lastly, I need to give credit to IEA’s “What is Gifted?” webpage. The page is an overview on the common characteristics of gifted youth, including an explanation on underachievement in the gifted. Most helpful to me was the glossary of terms often used when referring to giftedness and gifted education.

There are more resources available than I can possibly name in a blog post, so I encourage you to do some further digging beyond this list.

What is your favorite resource for those new to giftedness?

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Nicole LaChance graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Journalism before moving West in pursuit of milder winters. Prior to joining the IEA team, she spent time working in marketing for an architecture firm and completed two years of national service in the AmeriCorps program. Over the past few years she has worked with nonprofits to communicate their message and impact to the world around them, work she is excited to continue at IEA. When not at the office, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling wherever she can and making bad puns.