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Dispelling the 5 Common Myths about Giftedness | Understanding Giftedness | Understanding Giftedness | HKAGE

Misconceptions about gifted children arise from media reports and rumours. Some believe that all gifted children have high IQ but low EQ, struggle with emotions and behaviour, and find it hard to fit in with peers. There's also the misconception that gifted children are naturally intelligent self-learners who need minimal attention from parents and teachers. These misunderstandings can hinder the development of gifted children. Here are some common myths about gifted children:

Myth 1 : Gifted children are more likely to be emotional and often misbehave

Many gifted children have high intellectual or learning abilities and unusual interests, which make sharing their interests, viewpoints, and feelings with their peers difficult. Thus, some of them may have emotional problems due to long-term isolation.Dispelling 5 Myths about Gifted Children

Myth 2 : Gifted children will become more elitist if they receive special attention

According to some research, gifted programmes do not foster arrogance, conceit, and elitism. In fact, gifted children may have become arrogant because they often shine in the regular classroom. On the contrary, when placed with others of similar or greater capabilities, at least in certain areas, they would see that they would not always be the smartest, and this tends to foster humility.

Further Reading:  Nurturing the Potential of Gifted Students (Part 1): Academic Potential - Mathematics, Chinese, Science, High-level Intelligence
Further Reading:  Nurturing the Potential of Gifted Students (Part 2): Non-academic Potential - Visual and Performing Arts, Leadership, Physical Fitness

Myth 3 : Acceleration options, such as early entrance or grade skipping, are socially harmful for gifted students

Research has shown that gifted students often feel bored or out of place amongst their chronological-age peers. Many of them, however, get along better and can share their interests with older students. Their social and emotional development will actually proceed naturally if they are around those of similar intellectual maturity.Dispelling 5 Myths about Gifted Children

Further Reading:  Nurturing the Emotional and Social Development of Gifted Students: Affective Education
Further Reading:  Nurturing Gifted Students: How do Parents Get Along with Their Gifted Children?

Myth 4 : Gifted children enjoy being alone

Even though some gifted children enjoy being alone, claiming that they don’t need any friends, it is undeniable that everybody needs friends. If gifted children have no friends, they would have no chance to learn how to cooperate, interact and communicate with others, which may lead to even more serious social and emotional problems, especially later in life.

Gifted children may find it difficult to fit in with peers of the same age, so parents have to teach them social skills to make friends with their peers as well as provide some opportunities for them to look for friends, such as joining interest clubs and voluntary groups. On the other hand, give the children personal time to pursue their own interests.

Myth 5 : Gifted children should not be told about their abilities

Gifted children realise that they are different from other children, even though we do not tell them. The emphasis of this question should not be on whether they should be told or not, but on how to help them understand their own characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as how to handle their stress. As mentioned, gifted children may feel isolated because they find themselves different, and in order to fit in with other peers, they may mask their giftedness. As such, parents should encourage their gifted children to deal with the stress of feeling emotionally isolated and create some opportunities, such as joining interest groups and competitions, for them to excel in their abilities.

Working Together to Promote Gifted Education

To unlock the full potential of gifted children and provide them with appropriate and effective nurturing programmes, it is essential to enhance the understanding giftedness among parents, teachers, and society at large. The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education has taken on the mission of promoting and guiding collaboration among parents, teachers, and stakeholders from various fields. The aim is to create an enriching learning environment for gifted children. To accomplish this, the Academy actively raises awareness about gifted education, helping the public understand the unique qualities of gifted children and the importance of nurturing their talents. By forging connections with different professional organisations and industry leaders, the Academy strives to cultivate exceptional individuals to strengthen Hong Kong's talent pool and enhance its competitive edge.

Further Reading:  Teacher's Guide (1): Why is Question-asking so Important for Gifted Learners?
Further Reading:  Teacher's Guide (2): Nurturing Gifted Students through Autonomous Learning to Address Their Needs for Intellectual Excitements

Home-school Cooperation in Formulating Policies for Nurturing Gifted Children

The growth and development of gifted children greatly depend on the support and partnership of multiple stakeholders, with parents and teachers playing a crucial role. Therefore, the Academy encourages parents to maintain a close and cooperative relationship with schools, including:

  • Keep close contact and work together with teachers; provide emotional support to gifted children when needed.
  • Join or form a parent support group to share their experiences with other parents.
  • Share any information or resources with teachers and other parents to increase their understanding in giftedness.
  • Do not just make demands that the school provide specially care for your own child, but support and encourage the teachers so that the school can develop gifted education more comprehensively.


Related information: HKAGE’s Parent Education Programme

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