Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Top Students Uncomfortable Being Identified As Gifted

UC Study Finds Top Students Uncomfortable Being Identified As Gifted

February 19, 2013

A University of Canterbury (UC) study of top students has found many of them were not comfortable being identified as gifted and talented.

The students in the UC survey said they understood that they needed to downplay any perceived abilities if they wanted to maintain their social status in schools.

Several were concerned about getting a nerdy name and most had experienced being called a nerd, among other things.

The survey was carried out over 18 months by UC PhD student Louise Tapper. She tracked gifted and talented students from Year 9.

She interviewed them three times and also interviewed their parents and teachers. The major aim of the study was to explore the understandings students, their parents and teachers had about the phenomena of achievement and underachievement for gifted and talented students.

``The findings threw up an interesting perspective on the part of these highly able students in terms of their understandings about achievement for gifted and talented learners.

``They understood what was appropriate within their particular socio-cultural milieu. Students and parents in the study said that being gifted and talented in New Zealand is not something to shout from the rooftops. It was rather an identity that should be underplayed in keeping with the preferred New Zealand cultural demeanour of modesty and self-deprecation.

``I would argue that for young adolescents this can bring mixed messages. Able students are encouraged to be the best they can be but, as these students have reported, they have learnt to keep quiet about their successes or else someone will turn around and be offended.

``Students were experimenting with identities. Some resorted to fitting in with the mainstream culture at their school, others embraced being different and were reclaiming the nerd role.’’

Tapper said the preferred identity for these students, among by students themselves, parents and teachers, was the all-rounder. In particular, the able students who had sporting ability reported that they found it easier to find a fit in the social strata of school.

``There is a prevailing view in both the literature and wider society that gifted children see achievement as being about having innate ability but these students recognised the part that both ability and effort played in high achievement.

``In fact they valued achievement more when they really had to work for it. One participant even felt there’s a point where natural ability doesn’t count for anything,’’ Tapper said.

``Parents saw achievement for their gifted children as being as much about being well-rounded, as it was about academic success.

``Under-achievement was couched in terms of ‘not reaching potential’ which was consistent with much of the literature. But the findings did show that neither the students nor parents were able to give an understanding of what reaching full potential actually meant.

``Structuring definitions of under-achievement around such an imprecise concept places an unfair burden on highly able students. The study showed that there were complex issues around identity development for gifted and talented students as they experienced schooling in New Zealand,’’ Tapper said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: From Here And There

Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story
by Helene Wong.
This is the fascinating story of Helene Wong, born in 1949 in Taihape to Chinese parents: her mother, born soon after her parents migrated here, and her father, born in China but sent to relatives in Taihape at seven to get an education in English. More>>

Chiku: Hamilton Zoo's Baby Chimpanzee Named

Hamilton Zoo has named its three-month-old baby chimpanzee after a month-long public naming competition through the popular zoo’s website. The name chosen is Chiku, a Swahili name for girls meaning "talker" or "one who chatters". More>>

Game Over: Trans-Tasman Netball League To Discontinue

Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand have confirmed that the existing ANZ Championship format will discontinue after the current 2016 season, with both organisations to form national netball leagues in their respective countries. More>>

NZSO Review: Stephen Hough Is Perfection-Plus

He took risks, and leant into the music when required. But you also felt that every moment of his playing made sense in the wider picture of the piece. Playing alongside him, the NZSO were wonderful as ever, and their guest conductor, Gustavo Gimeno, coaxed from them a slightly darker, edgier sound than I’m used to hearing. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: King Lear At Circa

In order to celebrate it's 40th birthday, it is perhaps fitting that Circa Theatre should pick a production of 'King Lear,' since it's also somewhat fortuitously Shakespeare's 400th anniversary. If some of the more cerebral poetry is lost in Michael Hurst's streamlined, full throttle production, it's more than made up for by plenty of lascivious violence designed to entertain the groundlings. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Tauranga Books Festival

Escape to Tauranga for Queen’s Birthday weekend and an ideas and books-focused festival that includes performance, discussion, story-telling, workshops and an Italian-theme morning tea. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news