Life at the Edge

Many gifted students live life right at the edge – pushing the limits in all directions. This is the type of personality that pushes through to achieve great things, but sometimes also experiences great resistance.

If you are the out-going, talkative, questioning, and creatively-productive type, your effervescence will probably alienate you as a demanding individual. If you are the serious thinker, poor writer, and deeply absorbed type, you could possibly be considered disinterested or distant (or even lazy!)

It is one thing to tackle the ’school system’ as such, but it is also a challenge to cope with your own idiosyncrasies. There is no wonder we end up with underachieving gifted students who haven’t managed to fit themselves into the slot allocated for them.

I am a teacher, and I appreciate some of these comments may irk some teachers, but I keep going back to the comment – we don’t demand that a blind person reads at school, unless we give them the ability to read Braille and have the resources translated for them. We can’t demand a gifted person change their ‘being’ to fit into our ideas of adequate provision for them.

We need to use the ideas based on solid research, and methods that definitely make a difference when meeting their needs. An “extra for experts” approach may suit some, but others may require a different way of listening to them, or an organisational change in the classroom that we (as teachers) are not so comfortable with. This is all about personalising learning – making a difference to the education of all students in our care.

We should aim to meet all of their needs, some of the time, rather than some of their needs, all of the time.


About Debbie Smith

New Zealand Educator interested in online education, giftedness, and other special needs in education.
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2 Responses to Life at the Edge

  1. Lisa says:

    Debbie, this quotation is a keeper:

    “We can’t demand a gifted person change their ‘being’ to fit into our ideas of adequate provision for them.”

    Understanding and making room for the “effervescent” and “absorbed” ends of the spectrum (love your descriptions) are such important considerations, in terms of both children and adults.

    Great post. Thank you!
    ~ Lisa

    • Debbie Smith says:

      Thanks Lisa.
      A challenge for us to do in the regular classroom, but very rewarding for all when it is done. Coping with a gifted spouse is no less of a challenge, and one I hope to accomplish in the future.

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