Gifted by Genetics?
I'm still amazed when scientists find out everything genetics is (or isn't) responsible for. The latest area of focus is education and the "gifted" label.
According to this blog, researchers are finding that being "gifted" isn't determined by genetics--that all children have the ability to succeed.
This is of particular interest to me because we had a "gifted" class in my elementary school. The gifted kids would go off on their own every so often and do all sorts of cool projects us "regular" kids didn't get a chance to do.
Every once in a while, they would need some extra students for a project, and I got asked to join the group on a temporary basis one year. I felt so honored--I don't know if it was that it meant they thought I was smart or that I felt cool being in an elitist group at age 9. Sad, I know, but give me a break--I thought tie-dye shirts were cool back then, too.
In fourth grade, my teachers, my parents and the gifted teacher all decided I should be tested to see if I had the "gift." All I remember is feeling nervous as a tall man watched over me as I tried to put together some puzzles. I hated puzzles.
Needless to say, it turns out I wasn't gifted. Ten-year-old me was crushed. I still remember crying the day we got the test results back.
Looking back, 25-year-old me could care less. Even though I didn't get labeled, I kept studying hard and doing well in school. And by the time I got to high school, it didn't matter anymore--you could take an honors class without being gifted.
I personally think it's great that they are finding this is not a genetic trait, and all students can achieve great things without having to be labeled. I can imagine the gifted label puts pressure on a lot of students. The ones who are gifted probably feel pushed to get straight A's and be perfect in each subject. Those who aren't might feel they can blame their imperfections in certain subjects on genetics. And those, like me, who do well in school and are ambitious but are found to be not "gifted," don't have to feel like they're not good enough.
I understand there sometimes needs to be different groups in school so everyone can learn at their own pace. Some students may need more challenges so they aren't bored (the goal of the "gifted" group at my school, I think), and other students who are struggling may need to learn at a slower pace. But I think taking genetics out of the picture might let all students feel they can have a shot at academic success--it's all up to them, not their genetic make-up!