Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Evolving Definition of Giftedness

Back in October there was a lot of discussion about the nature and terminology of giftedness. It remains a term that many people misunderstand, and construe as somehow bragging, or elitist. Those who work or live with gifted children (or gifted adults), know that it is a condition of extreme intellectual ability, often complicated in various ways by asynchronous development or co-existing issues, some of which are endemic to giftedness and some not. If giftedness is ignored or mishandled in a young person, it can cause extreme distress, frustration, and anger. These in turn can lead to disconnection, depression, and other problems.

There is an on-line text chat on theories of giftedness and its definition tomorrow at 4 p.m. It sounds interesting. I believe it focuses on definitions of giftedness that are specified by test results. Details and the link to the chat are copied below. It is open to all.

The Evolving Definition of Giftedness
When: Wednesday, November 19, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time
Where: http://www.edweek-chat.org
You can submit questions in advance.

For years, giftedness was considered to be a static category, with children either possessing the trait or not. But developmental theory has now led to more nuanced view of what makes some people gifted. Instead of being innate and immutable, giftedness can be nurtured and even taught—and if ignored, it can also be lost. Please join our guests, the three editors of the upcoming book The Development of Giftedness and Talent Across the Life Span, who will talk about what researchers currently believe about giftedness, and its implication for classroom practice.

About the guests:
Frances Degen Horowitz is a university professor and president emerita at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Rena F. Subotnik is the director of the Center for Gifted Education Policy at the American Psychological Association.
Dona J. Matthews is currently a visiting professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, engaged in several writing projects, and working with families and schools on issues relating to gifted education. From 2003 to 2007, she was the director of the Center for Gifted Studies and Education at Hunter College, the City University of New York.

For background, read "'Gifted' Label Said to Miss Dynamic Nature of Talent," Education Week, Oct. 15, 2008.

No special equipment other than Internet access is needed to participate in this text-based chat. A transcript will be posted shortly after the completion of the chat.

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