8 Common Myths in Gifted or Advanced and Talented Education

Often, parents assume that gifted or advanced students will learn on their own and do not need additional help or services. This is just one myth that can negate the overall academic, social, and emotional growth, and success of a gifted or advanced child. Here are some of the most common myths in gifted or advanced education.

“Gifted or advanced students do not need help because they will do fine on their own.”

Gifted or advanced students may be far ahead of their same-age peers, and they may already have mastered much of the grade-level curriculum before the school year begins. However, gifted or advanced students can become bored and frustrated which can lead to low achievement, despondency, or regression. Special attention and programs are crucial for developing a gifted or advanced child.

“All children are gifted or advanced.”

Gifted or advanced students have an advanced capacity to learn and apply what they learn in one or more subject areas, the performing arts or fine arts. This advanced capacity requires modifications to the regular curriculum to ensure that gifted or advanced children are challenged and learn new material.

“Acceleration placement options are socially harmful for gifted or advanced students.”

Gifted or advanced students often feel bored or misunderstood by their age peers and gravitate toward older students who are more on their academic ability. Many gifted or advanced students are happier and more confident with older students who share their interests and ability levels. Acceleration placement options such as early entrance to kindergarten, grade skipping, or early exit should be considered for these students. (A Nation Deceived (accelerationinstitute.org)

“Gifted or advanced education programs are elitist.”

Gifted or advanced programs are designed to meet where the child currently is in their academics and social, emotional development. Gifted or advanced learners are from all cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups and education should be tailored toward the student’s gifts, talents, and strengths.

“Gifted or advanced students who get bad grades cannot be gifted or advanced.”

Gifted or advanced students can become bored or frustrated in an unchallenging classroom environment, leading to bad study habits, distrust of the school environment, and other factors that contribute to underachievement. Students who underachieve could be dealing with external stressors and may need extra support.  Poor grades are not always a reliable indicator of a student’s gifted or advanced potential.

“Gifted or advanced students are happy, popular, and well-adjusted in school.”

Many gifted or advanced students differ in emotional and moral intensity, sensitivity to expectations and feelings, perfectionism syndrome, imposter syndrome, and deep concerns about societal problems. These sensitivities and intensities can make it difficult for them to fit in with their peers and may result in feeling isolated or being labeled unfavorably.

“A child with a disability cannot be gifted or advanced.”

Twice-exceptional students often go undetected in regular classrooms because their disability and gifts mask each other, making them appear average. It is imperative that these students receive the support they need to break the cycle of underachievement and reach their full potential.

“Gifted or advanced students require a lot of resources to help them grow.”

Less is more with gifted or advanced students. Gifted or advanced students may enjoy resources to help them grow especially in an area they are passionate about; however, they can also become overwhelmed if they are inundated with resources. Schools and parents should work together to find the right balance for each gifted or advanced student.

Learn more about gifted and advanced programs at K12.

Note: Not all K12-powered schools provide a formal gifted or advanced program.  Speak to an enrollment consultant to find out more about offerings at your local K12-powered school.

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