Kia ora tatou,
I was immediately drawn to this year’s theme of myth-busting for Gifted Awareness Week, as I knew it would be a lightening rod to the forty three gifted students, that I teach. These 6-13 year olds, spend one-day-a-week at the Wellington MindPlus South unit, which amounts to twenty percent of their schooling.
As a specialist educator and the regional lead teacher for the Wellington MindPlus unit, I am always looking for ways to bring the voices of my students to the fore. To find ways for this population of young, informed and aware members of our society, to be recognised by adult decision-makers, as voices that need to be taken into account. After all, who has to live with these myths? Who has to answer the ignorant questions or be the poster-child in their school for the gifted learner?
So, three weeks ago I asked each of my three classes if they knew of any myths about being gifted. Overwhelmingly, they did. Did they themselves experience any mythical thinking directly? Yes indeed. The majority of comments centered around a personality myth, that gifted kids are essentially, arrogant.
“They think it is easy to be gifted. That we are perfect and we don’t have to work hard and we are arrogant and don’t listen” (Year 7).
The other common myths included: being thought of as ‘nerds’ who spend their time in libraries reading dictionaries; that no one was truly gifted if they didn’t do well at maths; and that gifted kids are always shy and emotional. Three of these students have gone ahead and written a piece for the Blog themselves, that addresses their feeling about the misconception that most affects them and I urge you to look for these.
It is easy as an adult, to see this as an interesting but abstract topic, without realising that my students labour under these errors of thinking each day at school, or in friendships and in their dealings with teachers, principals and even family.
Now, onto to my personal choice of myth that I'd like to lay to rest: that very young children cannot be phenomenal thinkers and creators.