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’09 TAGT: Parent Perspective “Gifted and Thriving”

December 10, 2009

Comments provided by Amanda O’Neal

Notes from Success and Happiness for Gifted After K-16 Education, Janette Boazman, University of North Texas

The end goal is to have a good life, so it’s important to think about that in relation to their potential and expectations. A good life can take many paths. As educators, help them get to their end goal.

Gifts can be developed into talents. We are born with innate gifts, but need external catalysts as well as internal to turn into talents. Appropriate intervention accelerates growth and motivation for high ability students.

Positive catalysts: flow, happiness, friendship, character

Flow – Feeling of energized focus, working to full capacity. Often experience faux flow through video games and tv. Faux flow is better than no flow, but is not ideal.

Happiness – Life satisfaction, quality of life, subjective well being. There is a high correlation between happiness and gratitude, employment, hope, identical twins, and self-esteem based on actual performance. The highest correlation for happiness is with close relationships to others. This distinguishes the happy from the very happy.

Highly gifted kids tend to have trouble making friends. Moderately gifted find it easier. Optimal intelligence for socializing and friendships is 125-155. Not all GT find friends and may settle for flatterers or bad relationships. For young GT kids, promote social interactions as a coping strategy. For adolescents, attempt to reduce social differences. A focus only on friendship can be detrimental causing a reduced effort at talent development and a desire to fit in.

A thriving gifted individual is more than just talents – character/ integrity and holiness are the other two dimensions that create a well-rounded happy person.

To achieve talent:
Daily challenges
Independent work
Acceleration
Socialize and learn with ability peers
Content domain strategies

Social self concept correlates positively with acceleration.

GT kids with intellectual curiosity and engaged families do better in the long run.

Motivational factors leading to success in college: independence from family, finding and fitting into social system, desire to overcome challenges, internal will, and need for recognition. Honors vs non-honors in college: better grades, stronger self concept, no difference in professional aspirations.

There is a strong positive association with prayer and mental health. Religious teens are more pro-social, less likely to abuse substances, and have a lower suicide rate.

New GT: Gifted and Thriving

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