When other students hear the phrase “gifted and talented” describing their peers, some immediately jump to unfair and unrealistic conclusions about these people. However, through surveys and research, many of those are disproved.
For example, a gifted and talented student might not be expected to play sports because they are believed to fill their time with studying and reading. After surveying 50 random DECATS students of both genders from many majors, it was found that all scholars were athletes, playing at least one sport. In addition to that, research found on the “ABC Ontario” website shows that, generally, academically bright students are stronger and taller and do not have illnesses often.
Another invalid generalization is that of eyesight correction, such as glasses or contacts. According to survey results, only 28 percent of the 50 students use either one of those. That is less than a third of the gifted population, which shows that eyesight problems are caused by genes rather than academic abilities.
One last concretely disproven stereotype is the belief that academic students wear bizarre items of clothing like knee-high socks and suspenders. Only one of the 50 scholars wore anything similar to that, and this one gave a vague answer indicating that this style of apparel was not a daily habit.
Gifted students are not easily identified because they do not stand out visually or athletically. Some of the things that some people believe to be a sign of educational talent are, like eyesight problems, caused exclusively by genetics. These include squeaky voices, frizzy hair and freckles.
Although this generalization could be viewed as negative or positive, based on the tone and situation that it is mentioned in, the belief that academically talented students are academically talented in all aspects of education is untrue no matter what. According to Valerie Strauss in “Washington Post” article, “A first grader who can read a fifth-grade book and thoroughly understand it may not be able to write legibly.” This is the same for any gifted scholar of any grade level. A DECATS scholar named Jacob A. said, “My best subject is English, but I am terrible at religion.”
Another stereotype is that academically smart students are socially awkward. The same “Washington Post” article titled “Five Myths about ‘Gifted and Talented’ Students” that was mentioned before also states that a gifted child’s social needs are the same as their friends’ needs.
The final stereotype about emotions and thoughts of gifted and talented students is that they are conceited. According to Nicholas Colangelo on “Myths and Stereotypes”, an article on the “ABC Ontario” website, an academically bright child with knowledge of their abilities is not any more snobbish than any other student. Gifted children are not smart in all areas of their learning, socially problematic or arrogant.
This problem with unfair stereotyping is negative because it can be very hurtful, even in a joking manner. All students who have been categorized as ‘gifted’ know this in some way or another. Reagan W., a student here at DECATS, said, “Stereotypes belittle people because these people are just assumed to be something based one of their traits.”
If you are a gifted student and someone you know one-sidedly stereotypes you, be sure to tell them why they are wrong. If we start spreading the truth about these false myths, other people will see academically talented students for who they actually are.
Written By: Megan S., Reporter