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Friday, February 21, 2014

Research has yet to define the Spark of Life in the Gifted


Gifted students may have the intelligence but they also need the spark of life to make them genius masters. Joan Freeman discusses her experiences and research on the subject in her publication A Quality of Giftedness. She delves into the hard science but also discusses that science misses something very important because each gifted person finds their own path to make waves in the world; this is not easily calculated. That quality does not change as people get older even if they must focus on making money and supporting families. 

Her recognition of gifted youth is often based on their novelty to answering questions and problems. Teachers are annoyed and attempt to cram these children into a pre-defined rule set that is often more beneficial for the teacher than the student. Sit down, be quiet, do this work, read this, don’t ask annoying questions may be some of the feedback they receive throughout their educational careers. It is one of the reasons why such gifted students often drop out of school despite their abilities. 

The trait that seems to have the most universality is their novelty in solving problems that show a creativity and ability to “think outside the box” on issues. While most students are giving the standard simple answers the gifted child says the most ludicrous statements. Most of the time, these answers are simply given an odd look and discounted as bazaar. Few may look deeper to ask the question, “What do you mean?”

That is where ability comes into play. Some will begin to talk in painstaking detail connecting tid bit of information to tid bit of information to create long strings of logic, others will discuss the context of the information, while others will show you what they mean. Advanced intelligence is based in their ability to explain and find ways of coming to new conclusions that when given a chance to discuss end up being more in depth and logical than the standard answer.  The bazaar is then practical.

Despite this intelligence there is something different between the ones who make it and the ones who don’t. That is the Spark of Life! The ones who have it continually engage in a process of self-development day in and day out. They practice over and over because the action is worth more than the outcome. They have an insatiable urge to simply be, overcome, and master. Their inner power is like a nuclear reactor that continues to smash atoms until they reach their destination. 

For many this doesn’t change when they become adults. Until their last breath they will continue to seek information, create something new, and engage in their pursuits. It is a powerhouse of desire. The type of giftedness will determine the abilities they show such as empathy, arts, science, etc. The author contends a few of the children grow up to be system busters that can be identified through their old souls and abilities that seem to align with the angels. Research has yet to master their unique paths and how the rules change for each gifted individual.

Freeman, J. (2012). A quality of giftedness. Gifted & Talented International, 27 (2)

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