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Myths That Persist- A Five Part Series - Part Two

Myths That Persist- A Five Part Series

Part Two

By Teagan Taylor

“The biggest myth, in my experience, is that gifted students are easy to teach…”

-Anonymous survey participant

Stakeholders took a survey on 5 common misconceptions/myths about giftedness and their opinions on what work there is left to do. Since we got so many thought provoking responses, we are doing a Five Part Series, a blog post for each of the 5 myths. Below is Myth #2!

Myth #2: Gifted students make everyone else in the class smarter by providing a role model or a challenge


The Numbers

graph of responses

The Problem

  • “They can be "helpers" ...are you serious?!?! That's not their job!”

  • “No, it is not their place to be a role model or to provide the challenge; that should come from the teachers. Some students DO like to be teacher’s helpers but many would rather be kids and fit in with their peers.”

  • “Gifted students are often used as "tutors" for kids who struggle. This robs them of the opportunity to challenge themselves and grow because the majority of their time is spent reviewing information they have already mastered by teaching it to others. They don't have a chance to go above and beyond themselves.”

  • “This a HUGE problem in schools since many teachers use them as tutors, homework checkers, etc. Many administrators want them equally placed in each classroom as "role models", not understanding that a bored gifted child can be very disruptive at times.”

  • “This can be observed by a lack of willingness to ability group. Equity initiatives now create more issues because it may be viewed as inequitable to group kids that are more ahead together and foster that "they're gifted, they'll be fine" mentality. This disproportionately affects highly/profoundly gifted students who may be in need of radical acceleration in one or more subjects.”

  • “I wouldn't necessarily say teachers believe their presence will make others smarter, but I do know teachers can use gifted students as a comparison for other students to strive to be more like.”

  • “Principals still like to spread out their gifted kids using what I refer to as "the Oprah method"- "you get a gifted kid! you get a gifted kid!" instead of intentionally cluster grouping and targeting academic support. Cluster grouping is seen as tracking and "unfair.”

The Solution

  • “ I [would] turn this argument on its head by asking, ‘Shouldn't the gifted kids be challenged academically? You are wanting to challenge everyone *except* them.’”

  • Educating people on the fact that, “Students might be able to help but they are not teachers. They might have knowledge but they may not know how to share it.”

  • “This is a hard one because I do think that other students being exposed to gifted students' ways of thinking is valuable, however, this should not be the sole purpose of those students being in a room. I think showing the lack of growth in gifted students when this is their only role through hard data is helpful. Teachers are responsible for showing growth in ALL their students - gifted included.”

  • “Increased awareness around cluster grouping and other research-based grouping practices”

  • “Place the student into a class that will challenge the gifted student and remove them from the situation.”

  • “Again, this comes down to communication and education of the classroom teacher. I provide articles about gifted students (also, critical thinking, creative thinking, ways to differentiate, etc) on the staff bathroom walls. I have received a lot of feedback about these articles. This may be a place to educate all teachers while they are a captive audience.”

Check back next week for Myth #3, “Gifted students are easily identifiable”...

We would love to continue this discussion in the comments here or on our social media platforms. What are your thoughts about this myth?

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