The Gifted/Talented Student and Social Behavior Emily Cayson Ice Breaker Activity Red: Colors you like Yellow: Animals you like Blue: Things you like to do at school Green: Things you like to do for fun Brown: Words that describe you Orange: Foods you like Myths of Gifted Students Myth ◦ Gifted students are white, middle/upper class students. ◦ Gifted students do not know they are “different.” ◦ All gifted students are successful in school. Fact ◦ Gifted students are found in all ethnic, cultural, religious, and SES groups. ◦ Most gifted kids do not need to be labeled to know they are not quite like their age peers. ◦ Many gifted students may not perform well due to peer pressure. Bullying Gifted students are targets for bullying because they are seen as “different” by their peers. Bullying is worse for gifted males in grade 6. Bullying peaks for gifted females in grades 5 – 8. Bullying Why gifted students? ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Other students are jealous Social vulnerability makes them an easy target Not being known by other students Overexcitabilities Sensitivity Bullying What type of bullying is most prevalent? VERBAL ◦ Name Calling ◦ Teasing about Appearance ◦ Teasing about Intelligence and Grades Dork Geek Nerd Retard Effects of Bullying “Name-calling and being pushed around affects you mentally. Sometimes they would call you vulgar language or talk about your parents or your family. Like sometimes some of those words can get to your head. It can make you feel kind of sad, the way they talk about your parents.” Female fifth grader (Peterson & Ray, 2006, p. 260) Peer Relationships Talented/Gifted students are most vulnerable to poor peer relationships due to not “fitting in” at school. Peer problems for gifted students may begin as early as kindergarten, because they feel they do not share the same interests or behaviors as other students. Peer Relationships Students with an IQ score of over 150 are likely to feel differently than students with an IQ score of 130. ◦ Reason: The top 1 to 2 percent of students with extremely high IQ’s is so small, and they are that much more different from the norm. Social Problems Gifted females face their own challenges ◦ Social taboos Not being able to pursue excellence like boys Women are expected to be selfless, nurturing, and supportive of others Career planning and child care Sex-stereotype fields Social Problems When gifted students try to act “normal” they are denying their unique potential. Social isolation in school may lead to later problems such as depression, anxiety, or suicide. Social Problems Signs for potential suicide: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Sudden change in personality Talking about suicide (joking or serious) Avoiding social occasions and invitations Selling prize possessions Severe depression lasting at least a week *Never assume a gifted student is “too smart” to consider, or go through with, suicide.* Quote “I have no idea what happens when the students leave school. Some ride on the bus and get ridiculed; others go home to an empty house; still more rush around from ballet to soccer to who-knows-what. I have no idea, and I have very little control. But I do have control over how each student will remember his or her last moment of the day with me, and that memory will be a fond one.” Mrs. Sanders (Delisle & Galbraith, 2002, p. 222) How Can We Help? Incorporate proactive, reactive, and integrative ways to address social concerns. ◦ This can be done by teachers and school counselors. Especially with gifted students, help them with self-esteem. How Can We Help? Pay attention to those students who may not have friends at school. Understanding the needs of gifted students can differ depending on their talent and intelligence level. How Can We Help? Bullying: ◦ Do not tolerate any bullying at school in order to help create a safer school environment. ◦ Encourage respect for students of all intelligence levels. ◦ Help students embrace differences and commonalities. ◦ Have small group sessions with bullies. ◦ Have small group sessions with victims. ◦ Classroom guidance lessons on tolerance My Rainbow Activity References Cross, T. L. (2001). The rage of gifted students. Gifted Child Today, 45. 24(2), 43- Daniels, S., & Piechowski, M. M. (2009). Living with insanity: Understanding the sensitivity, excitability, and emotional development of gifted children, adolescents, and adults. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press. Delisle, J., & Galbraith, J. (2002). When gifted kids don’t have all the answers: How to meet their social and emotional needs. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing Incorporated. Peterson, J. S., & Ray, K. E. (2006). Bullying among the gifted: The experience. Gifted Child Quarterly, 50(252), 252-269. subjective Peterson, J. S., & Ray, K. E. (2006). Bullying and the gifted: Victims, perpetrators, prevalence, and effects. Gifted Child Quarterly, 148-168. 50(2), VanTassel-Baska, J. L., Cross, T. L., & Olenchak, F. R. (2009). Socialemotional curriculum with gifted and talented students. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press Incorporated.