Characteristics of a Gifted Learner
Although there is no easy formula for identifying a gifted child, certain characteristics help teachers differentiate gifted children from their classmates:
* Early ability to read and understand nuances in the language: A child who is gifted often reads two or more grade levels above current grade placement and reads widely in many areas or intensely in one subject area.
* Early use of advanced vocabulary: The ability to express thoughts readily and clearly is often a characteristic of a gifted child.
* Retention of a variety of information: A gifted child often amazes parents and teachers by learning new information quickly and remembering the details over long periods of time.
* Periods of intense concentration: The child can become totally engrossed in topics of interest while being oblivious to surrounding events.
* A broad and changing spectrum of interests: The child may be involved in many self-initiated projects at the same time.
* Keen observation and curiosity: An acute awareness of self and the environment is typical of a gifted child. The child may persistently pursue a line of questioning to learn more about topics of interest.
* Complex processing of information: A gifted child is able to perceive relationships, comprehend implications, and process a large amount of information.
* Ability to think abstractly: The child can often move from concrete to symbolic representation very comfortably and at an earlier age than most children.
* Strong critical thinking skills: The child is able to perform evaluations based on established criteria and often notices discrepancies between what people say and what they do.
* Ability to follow directions and assume responsibility: A child who is gifted often shows independence, self-reliance and responsibility in completing tasks.
* Creativity and inventiveness: The child is able to view situations from varying perspectives, develop and explore alternative approaches and generate novel products.
* Seemingly limitless energy: Frequently a gifted child is alert and eager, delving into interests beyond the usual limitations of children his/her own age.
* Leadership: The child often assumes leadership roles in a variety of circumstances and settings.
Note: High grades in classes and/or high scores on standardized achievement tests are not necessarily indicators that a student is gifted. Further evaluation is necessary for accurate identification.