Myths of Gifted Education: The Myth of "Fine"
Updated: Jun 21, 2019
When I started to write this article, I began by researching “Gifted Myths” on the internet, and I realized there was nothing new. In fact, the current article on the NAGC website (www.nagc.org) is taken from a 2009 edition of the Gifted Child Quarterly. Having worked in Gifted Ed for over 13 years, I suggest that some of these myths have been around much, much longer.
I became curious about why these myths continue to be pervasive, and in each newsletter I will be examining some of the myths from that perspective.
For this newsletter we will consider the first and most common myth – Gifted students don’t need anything extra – they’ll be fine on their own.
I believe this myth is still believed because it is true. The students mostly will be “fine.” We all know people who are likely gifted, and as adults, they are “fine.” That makes this myth logically provable. It is not, in fact, a myth.
However, a quick search of BC school district websites turns up mission statements that do not contain the word “fine.” Instead, they are full of phrases that include goals for learners such as, “to the utmost of their abilities”, “maximize their potential”, “reach their potential”. In fact, I didn’t see one “fine”.
Imagine, if you will, that you develop a heart condition. You are unsure of what it is, so you go to your GP. Your GP has been your doctor for your whole life, and you know she has wide ranging knowledge about a variety of conditions. She has diagnosed and treated many things for you, advised you on strategies for wellness, and helped you find information to make your own health decisions. She does a physical exam, tells you what she thinks you have, and suggests how you treat it. You have never needed another doctor. As she writes out her prescription, you say that you think this is a big deal, health wise, and you really think you should go to a cardiologist. “Don’t worry,” she says, “You’ll be fine.” Fine? You want some testing, from a specialist, and some specialized treatment. You don’t want to be fine.
Is fine enough for your health? Or do we prefer to reach the “utmost” health that we are capable of? Do we want to “maximize” our lifespan? Do we want to “meet our potential” for a long life?
Gifted students need programming to support their educational needs. They need it to achieve the utmost, to reach their potential.
The myth is not that gifted students will be “fine.” The myth is that “fine” is enough.