This is probably the one myth I hear the most – from educators, from parents, from Joe Q Public. “Everyone is gifted in their own way.”
While it is true that the definition of giftedness is a bit nebulous, and it is also true that everyone has their own strengths, this does not mean that everyone is gifted.
Let me repeat that again, although everyone has their own gifts, not every one is gifted.
The term “gifted” refers to a specific constellation of attributes and speaks to innate potential. It is a descriptive term, just like hair or eye color, or height – not a subjective one. Saying that all children are gifted is the equivalent of saying that all children are of the same height, with the same eye or hair color. And we all know that is not true.
Being gifted isn’t only about achievement or intellectual abilities (IQ). Gifted children possess unique characteristics in their intellectual processing, personality and emotional domains (Webb, Gore, Amend, & DeVries, 2007). The specific characteristics of giftedness include the following:
- Exceptional reasoning ability
- Intellectual curiosity
- Complex thought processes
- Vivid imagination
- Passion for learning (not necessarily for school)
- Need for precision or logic
- Excellent sense of humor
- Highly sensitive
- Intense in several domains, including psycho-motor (the need for excessive movement or talking), sensory (being highly sensitive to sounds or other types of sensory input or craving sensory stimulation), emotional (intense mood swings, strong affective memory, and deep feelings about…everything)
Understanding these unique characteristics – and more importantly, understanding that not every child possesses these characteristics – is the first step towards dispelling this myth and meeting the needs of these diverse learners.
How do you feel about this myth? Do you think all children are gifted?