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Explaining Giftedness

Posted by thedeadqueen on 2008.09.02 at 11:07
Current Mood: curiouscurious
If you were going to try to explain to someone who's not gifted (according to your way of defining it) what it feels like to be gifted, what would you want most to explain?  What would you find hardest to explain?

Would you just talk about your own experience, or friends', or would you also refer to writing about gifted people?

Would you try to explain it at all?


napthia9 at 2008-09-05 00:07 (UTC) (Link)
Giftedness does not necessitate that the gifted person value knowledge, but it does represent a desire (however suppressed) to explore, analyze, and ponder things that goes beyond what is considered "normal." Gifted people derive some satisfaction from the exercise of their minds. A gifted person may appear to have a near obsessive interest in a few or a single thing, but may also be competent and above-competent all-around, or quick to learn. Actually, the ability to learn quickly (in comparison to peers) is one of my major criterion for giftedness. I will note, however, that gifted people who appear not to be learning quickly may in fact be simply doing more cognitive work than readily apparent; consequently expect gifted people to either provide more complex, thoughtful answers or generate more pertinent difficult questions than an average person might generate in the same period of time. The last thing I will mention is the ability to tie seemingly unrelated strands of thought together in a compelling statement.

So that sums it up I guess: Giftedness involves being able to arrive at a conclusion more quickly than the average person; generating more complex thoughts than the average person might over the same period of time or with similar information; and feeling satisfied after thinking.

In my explanations of giftedness to others, I generally provide two definitions: my own method of identifying giftedness and what I understand to be the popular method used by schools. I do this in order to provide a greater understand of how I use giftedness versus how the concept of giftedness is institutionalized. In the process, I often offer up examples of people I've encountered inside and outside the giftosphere. I find this particularly useful, because it demonstrates how giftedness is not the same as achievement, and how giftedness is sometimes damaging. (For example, my friend Mike is undoubtedly gifted- but he deliberately chose to stay below the honors classes because it was less work and, I think, because culturally he did not fit in with what an Honors student was supposed to be like. Likewise, I think all of the Questies have at one point experienced some form of depression. Although I think depression can be common, identified gifted-kids and identified honors students who are unidentified gifted kids often experience "why am I not doing more with my gift?" feelings. Mike and one or two other unidentified non-honors gifted people also felt that way, but I don't know if that's because of feeling like they couldn't amount to anything because of class/family issues or because they felt they weren't living up to their potential as a smart person.

Lots of geeks fetishize smartness, even the ones who don't strike me as 'gifted.' Interesting group to look at.

One other note: I also find it useful to talk about what giftedness is not
thedeadqueen at 2008-09-05 00:39 (UTC) (Link)
That's kind of interesting, it sounds like you interpreted this question as another "define giftedness" question. Not quite what I meant, but it's a good question and you have interesting answers, so what the heck. :) (What I actually meant is more, what does it feel like to be gifted? What internal experiences do you think gifted people have that normal people don't have? My mom, who has experience with both, uses the analogy of a bipolar person trying to talk to a depressed person about what it's like to be bipolar. Depressed people think they understand at least one end of the bipolar really well, but actually the down end feels totally different, and the manic end is a lot more than being just unusually happy or confident or high-energy).

So for you, gifted people think more quickly and complexly than other people, and they enjoy thinking more. Do you feel like that's more of a difference in degree, or in kind? How would you explain what thinking like a gifted person is like to someone who just doesn't "get it" (and even people who have worked with gifted kids, and know it, don't always "get it")?

BTW, I like the word "giftosphere." :D I also think it's interesting that you differentiate giftedness as it actually is and giftedness within an institutional setting. You're right, and I totally wasn't thinking in those terms.

What would you say giftedness is not? Achievement, being in honors classes? What else?
aaaaappley at 2008-12-29 04:19 (UTC) (Link)

i know

i just posted a blog not 10 minutes ago with my thoughts on being gifted. I think they are what you seek, if indeed you still seek. (:
thedeadqueen at 2008-12-29 22:38 (UTC) (Link)

Re: i know

Thank you so much for sharing that...I do indeed seek.

It was interesting to hear you describe your experiences with math...they sound a bit like mine with writing. If you don't mind, it would be fun to discuss further some time.

You seem pretty convinced that most people have never had anything like the experiences you describe, and don't get it...but you wrote this blog entry. Do you think they'll understand better now?
aaaaappley at 2008-12-30 00:08 (UTC) (Link)

Re: i know

In my theory, most everyone has a unique mind able only to perceive things in certain ways. My description may strike other people as something entirely different than how I feel. Writing that helped me organize my thought process even if only halfway.
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