Some Basic Concepts of Giftedness
Philosophy and Controversy
Where we are now
This page offers a brief introduction of several topics. For further depth,
click on the links provided on the left.
A Bit of Philosophy
a field dedicated to the proposition that some folks learn either faster or
more deeply than others, that they may have deeper understanding intuitively,
that there can be a qualitative difference in that learning, that knowledge,
A key debate
is the nature vs. nurture argument, though there is a strong voice that says it
just doesn't matter - we should serve the students, based on who they are,
regardless of how they got that way.
The flip side
of the debate argues one of three points: a) it is giving more to those who
already have more; b) giftedness is a construct of society and all children are
gifted; c) giftedness is inherently a racist (or classist) philosophy and
violates the notion that 'all men are created equal.'
are explored far more deeply in Philosophy and Controversy
A Bit of History
A lot of the
folks with whom I speak seem to believe that the field of Gifted is new. Maybe
we have been playing with it for 20 or so years. A few realize that it goes
back to Sputnik and the space race. The number who know that as a field of
study and practice, it goes back a century are few and far between. But it
does... It has been a hot topic, a controversial topic, a problem for schools
addressed in books and studies, and a problem for the nation addressed at
national conferences for more than 75 years. It is hardly restricted to the US; it is
hardly, as a field of practice, restricted to even the 20th Century and later.
In History we will take a more extended look at the
issue, primarily within the US,
but with some from beyond those borders as well.
Where are we now?
There is a
definition of giftedness. It is embraced and used in some states. It is ignored
in others. There is little federal money for gifted and there is no federal
mandate for services as there is for special education (SPED). There are states
whose gifted programs are under the SPED umbrella and others for whom it is
not. There are states that spend more than $100 million per year and states
that spend $0 per year. There is little or no consistency in programs or
services, relatively little training for those teachers who work with the
gifted, let alone those who do not have that term in their job titles.
And that is
just the beginning! For court cases, organizations, studies, and other aspects
of where we are, go to Where are we now?
is a Glossary section to these pages, many of the
words will ultimately have links not to the glossary, but to entire pages
related to them. This is true, as well, of the names. The goal is to help the
reader to see the interconnections as clearly as possible, while still managing
a progression through a body of knowledge, a discipline.
there will be terms not addressed (yet) in these pages. Please feel free to
drop a drop