Below we present some common myths about high-ability learners and gifted education. Each myth is answered by fact.
Myth: Gifted students don't need help
Fact: Gifted students need guidance from well-trained teachers who challenge and support them in order to fully develop their abilities.
Myth: All children are gifted
Fact: While all children have individual strengths, educators use the term 'gifted' to described students who have high-ability, or advanced capacity to learn, when compared to typically-developing same-age peers. This high intellectual ability requires special education programming to meet their unique learning needs.
Myth: Acceleration is socially harmful for high-ability students
Fact: Acceleration is is proven to be an effective option for high-ability students who are motivated and ready to learn at a faster pace. Acceleration options such as early entrance to Kindergarten, grade skipping, or early exit should be considered for these students.
Myth: Gifted programs are elitist
Fact: Gifted students come from all cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups. Gifted programs can help these students reach their full potential. However, some gifted students are denied access to specialised programming due to flaws in identification processes or due to funding issues. As a result, students from high-income families may more often be identified as gifted, giving the appearance of elitism.
Myth: Gifted students earn high grades in school
Fact: Not all gifted students earn high grades in school. Some may become bored or frustrated in school settings that do not provide challenge and suport. These students may become disengaged and fail to meet their full potential. Other gifted students hide thier the extent of their abilities so they may feel acceptance among their classmates. These underachieving gifted students need the help and support of caring adults.
These myths are condensed from a series of articles in a special issue of Gifted Child Quarterly (October, 2009)