As I read about the origins of the Disney studios, I’m struck by the endless financial trouble Walt Disney found himself in. Even after his classic films hit theaters, the studio was constantly in debt and faced a dismal future.
What I love most about Pixar’s story is the tenacity of Director/Producer John Lasseter. There is a vital lesson to be learned from his success… and it lies mostly in his failures.
Our gifted kids receive lots of well-intentioned “you’re so smart” praise. But, this leads directly to a fear of straying beyond their safety zone. In college or the workplace, where they face challenges for the first time, the impostor syndrome rears its terrifying head.
When I asked my own students about teachers they loved, it was always some tiny detail that delighted them. Good teachers know how to surprise students with these delightful details. They details cost no money, take no time, and set the stage for successful learning.
What better way to learn about gifted students’ needs than by talking to gifted adults? Here’s a tour of some of the resources I found online.
They believe that only they are aware of their limitations, near misses, and potential for error. They attribute their success to luck, not ability. In an attempt to maintain an illusion of perfection, they avoid situations in which they might not be the best. This is called Impostor’s Syndrome.
Not only are they dealing with the usual trials of growing up, they are often doing it with an increased awareness of their faults, a frustration with being unable to do everything well, and a world that often doesn’t know what to do with them. Worse, they often lack the emotional tools to accompany their increased awareness.
“Gifted children and adults are often surprised to realize that they are different. It is painful when others criticize them for being too idealistic, too serious, too sensitive, too intense, too impatient, or as having too weird a sense of humor.” ~ James Webb
We know gifted students are far more complex than their test scores might suggest. And while we might expect certain quirks, others blindside us: a strange reaction to sound, a sudden outburst of tears, or a need to stand up at inopportune times. Dabrowski’s five overexcitabilities provide some insight into these unexpected moments.
Previously, we discussed using morality, multiple intelligences, and scholarly habits to analyze characters. Not only does this add deep layers to questioning, but (more importantly) it provides opportunities to discuss gifted students’ unique emotional needs. Personality types are another tool that serve these two needs.