5 Characteristics of Gifted Students

Gifted individuals come from all walks of life, and the characteristics of gifted students render them distinct from their classmates. Their exceptional skills or intelligence may present in a number of ways, and it’s important for both parents of these students and students of education, pedagogy, and childhood psychology to recognize some of these manifestations of giftedness. In the article below, we’ll explore five of the various ways in which to recognize an exceptional student.

Preceding Formality

Many gifted children will show signs of higher intelligence as toddlers. This may be typified by a high degree of alertness in infancy, an advanced grasp of nuanced language, and a strongly defined sense of justice that goes beyond the usual childhood emphasis that life should be fair. With certain types of gifted intelligence, children may develop an elaborate vocabulary, filled with words far more complex than their age level suggests, and are often autodidacts, teaching themselves to read and write before they are of age to attend school.

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Early childhood development researchers will encourage parents not to attempt to regiment these natural abilities by imposing a set schedule of tasks or goals for their child. Rather, they should provide them with a multitude of experiences and materials that they can then utilize at their own pace. These children are self-starters, but may resist an imposed regimen. Parents can capitalize on the child’s natural excitement over new concepts, ability to formulate abstract thought, and innate curiosity, thus helping the child’s intelligence to flourish in a natural way.

Once They’re Off to School

While freethinking is one of the unilaterally pronounced characteristics of gifted students, and can get them into trouble in the rigid authority structure of the classroom, they often take responsibility for their actions and opinions. Their excellent memory in their area or areas of interest, advanced comprehension, and high degree of academic success will often compensate for any revolutionary tendencies.

It does mean that teachers must take special care to keep these individuals engaged during other general topic education. They are easily bored, whatever their area of proficiency, and their high intelligence can lead them to cause disruptions with other students. This is both mitigated and heightened by their tendency to adopt leadership roles. Often, there’s no middle ground. Either they are popular with their classmates and assume the role of ringleader in social activities and learning experiences or they become unpopular and the object of bullying behaviors from their peers.

The key to nurturing their naturally assertive and internally motivated personalities is offering teachable moments, as opposed to condemning the them. Positive reinforcement and indirect guidance will help these highly intelligent individuals craft social relationships that will uplift other students. By taking time to work with their high energy and creative expression, an early childhood educator can enlist them as an ally in the classroom, rather than an opponent.

Children who are energetic, enthusiastic about exploring abstract concepts beyond those understood by their nominal peer group, self-motivated, creative and expressive, and drawn to self-accountability are often recognized as exceptional. In recent years, programs with special foci that cater to particular strengths have grown in popularity, which offers these children outlets for their often-ebullient intellects. However, it’s important that parents and all teachers recognize and nurture the characteristics of gifted students to help the children become truly exceptional adults.