Characteristics of a gifted student

The Queensland Association for Gifted & Talented Children (QAGTC) (2011),  believes that as with all special needs students no two students will display the exact same characteristics or traits. A child who is deemed gifted may exhibit many of the below traits, however, it is unlikely that a child will exhibit all traits. As a teacher it is important to compare the child with their age peers.

A gifted child, when compared with chronological peers:

  • Finds pleasure in intellectual activities.
  • Likes to create, invent investigate, and conceptualise.
  • Learns easily and readily.
  • Displays great intellectual curiosity and inquisitiveness.
  • Explores wide-ranging and special interests often at great depth.
  • Uses vocabulary which is superior in both quantity and quality.
  • Demonstrates a richness of imagery in informal language and brainstorming.
  • Learns to read early (often well before school-age).
  • Displays intellectual and physical restlessness. Once encouraged is seldom a passive learner.
  • Memorises easily and retrieves from memory easily and quickly.
  • Learns basic skills better, more quickly and with less practice.
  • Functions at higher cognitive levels earlier.
  • Sees relationships more readily and earlier.
  • Constructs and handles higher levels of abstractions.
  • Evidences an ability to cope with more than one idea at a time.
  • Follows complex directions easily.
  • Seeks out challenge.
  • Shows alertness and quick response to new ideas.
  • Becomes excited by new ideas, but often without carrying them through.
  • Generates many ideas and multi-solutions to problems.
  • Possesses unusual imagination.
  • Shows initiative and originality, versatility and virtuosity.
  • Creates and invents beyond the parameters of knowledge in the field.
  • Copes with problems and situations in resourceful and creative ways.
  • Questions arbitrary decisions.
  • Shows a preference for individual work.
  • Demonstrates an ability to do effective work, given minimum direction and guidance, independently at an earlier and for a longer time.
  • Evidences a longer attention span that enables concentration on and perseverance in solving problems and/or pushing interests.
  • Persists single-mindedly in pursuit of that which captures interest and sometimes difficult to redirect into other activities.
  • Has expectations of self and others, which often leads to high levels of frustration with self, others, and situations.
  • Demonstrates a keen sense of humour.
  • Matures earlier, but there is less difference here when compared with the average.
  • Responds and relates to older children and adults and often prefers them to chronological peers.
  • Evidences friendliness and outgoingness in desire for social acceptance.
  • Displays leadership qualities because knows own mind and abilities; has keener insight into thinking, abilities, and motivations of others; has greater intellectual capacity; and has a highly developed sense of social and moral responsibility.
I am Gifted

Can gifted students become behaviour problems?

The QAGTC (2011) states that disengaged or bored students may become behaviour problems as their 'thirst' for knowledge is not satisfied. Students may display some or many of the following socially unacceptable behaviours:

  • getting bored easily both at home and school
  • being naughty or irrepressible at home
  • being the 'class clown'
  • being inattentive and absorbed in a private world
  • being unwilling to undertake tasks seen as irrelevant; for example, your child might not see any reason to keep her bedroom clean and tidy
  • having "smart" answers to questions
  • showing unconventional behaviour
These behaviours are NOT specific to just gifted students and may be a trigger for other diagnosis eg. ADD, ADHD, ASD.

Interesting Fact
Thomas Alva Edison - teachers complained he was inattentive and was eventually homeschooled.
( Markusic, 2009)

Have you given up on any of your gifted students?

Dr. Linda Karges-Bone about gifted children
The Book sourced from Flickr images under creative commons licence