Traits Common to Gifted Children
The following represents a number of traits which are commonly found amongst those children who come within generally accepted definitions of giftedness. When deciding the applicability of these traits to a particular student, teachers must be conscious of the fact that the comparison is being made with the age peers of the student under consideration. It is unlikely that a gifted child will exhibit all the traits listed, but it is likely that a gifted child will exhibit many of these traits.
A gifted child, when compared with chronological peers:
- Finds pleasure in intellectual activities.
- Likes to create, invent investigate, and conceptualise.
- Learns easily and readily.
- Displays great intellectual curiosity and inquisitiveness.
- Explores wide-ranging and special interests often at great depth.
- Uses vocabulary which is superior in both quantity and quality.
- Demonstrates a richness of imagery in informal language and brainstorming.
- Learns to read early (often well before school-age).
- Displays intellectual and physical restlessness. Once encouraged is seldom a passive learner.
- Memorises easily and retrieves from memory easily and quickly.
- Learns basic skills better, more quickly and with less practice.
- Functions at higher cognitive levels (as described by Piaget) earlier.
- Sees relationships more readily and earlier.
- Constructs and handles higher levels of abstractions.
- Evidences an ability to cope with more than one idea at a time.
- Follows complex directions easily.
- Seeks out challenge.
- Shows alertness and quick response to new ideas.
- Becomes excited by new ideas, but often without carrying them through.
- Generates many ideas and multi-solutions to problems.
- Possesses unusual imagination.
- Shows initiative and originality, versatility and virtuosity.
- Creates and invents beyond the parameters of knowledge in the field.
- Copes with problems and situations in resourceful and creative ways.
- Questions arbitrary decisions.
- Shows a preference for individual work.
- Demonstrates an ability to do effective work, given minimum direction and guidance, independently at an earlier and for a longer time.
- Evidences a longer attention span that enables concentration on and perseverance in solving problems and/or pushing interests.
- Persists single-mindedly in pursuit of that which captures interest and sometimes difficult to redirect into other activities.
- Has expectations of self and others, which often leads to high levels of frustration with self, others, and situations.
- Demonstrates a keen sense of humour.
- Matures earlier, but there is less difference here when compared with the average.
- Responds and relates to older children and adults and often prefers them to chronological peers.
- Evidences friendliness and outgoingness in desire for social acceptance.
- Displays leadership qualities because knows own mind and abilities; has keener insight into thinking, abilities, and motivations of others; has greater intellectual capacity; and has a highly developed sense of social and moral responsibility.
From: Gifted and Talented Children - a Teachers' Guide. Ministry of Education and Training, Victoria 1983.