Educators of the Gifted Aim to Develop Young People:

  • who will be creative, energetic, and enterprising
  • who will seize the opportunities offered by new knowledge and technologies to secure a sustainable social, cultural, economic, and environmental future for our world
  • who will work to create an environment in which all cultures are valued for the contributions they bring
  • who, in their school years, will continue to develop the values, knowledge, and competencies that will enable them to live full and satisfying lives
  • who will be confident, connected, actively involved, and lifelong learners


Nurturing Social and Emotional Talents

“Honesty, fairness, moral issues, global concerns, and sensitivity to others are common themes in the lives of gifted children”. Silverman, L. The Moral Sensitivity of Gifted Children and the Evolution of Society.

Educationally appropriate challenges and programming can assist these students to develop positive social and emotional wellbeing. If these children are catered for within an environment that meets their academic, social and emotional needs then many of the issues arising for these young people can be minimized. It is usual for gifted individuals to experience the world with more intensity and sensitivity than their same aged peers, however; this can be abnormalized by well meaning professionals who lack an understanding of the expected social and emotional development of gifted individuals.

According to the literature, gifted children's social and emotional adjustment may be related to the type of giftedness identified, the educational fit of the environment they are educated within, and the personal characteristics and resilience they possess

Some gifted children will experience difficulties with social and emotional issues at different stages of their development. Transition times during education can be a particular time of vulnerability for gifted individuals. A number of factors may influence how a gifted child responds to events from a social and emotional perspective.

Understanding and valuing these potential emotional strengths and assisting these children can be a very rewarding opportunity for families and educators. 28 Acts of Kindness for the Gifted by Joy Navan (2013) has some collected thoughts from the directors of SENG for the nurture and support of gifted children.

A recent research study completed in New Zealand (Needham 2012) highlighted the lack of understanding teachers have of the social and emotional needs of gifted children.

  • The findings suggested that many teachers were uncertain about the social and emotional characteristics and needs of gifted and talented children.
  • The teachers within the study expressed positive attitudes towards gifted and talented children while acknowledging their lack of personal knowledge about gifted and talented education.
  • The findings also identified teachers’ frustrations at barriers affecting their ability to support gifted and talented children’s social and emotional needs in their classroom programs. This included limited personal knowledge and skills, lack of professional development, lack of time to spend with gifted and talented children, and school directed priorities for meeting the needs of other children.


Social, Emotional, and Moral Development Through Literature:

Books can be used to assist students in gaining understanding and engaging in problem solving of issues with particular relevance to themselves. This can help the students feel they are not alone, and give them some distance to look at a problem objectively in terms of the story they are reading. Novels can be used in anticipation of an upcoming event, or in response to a problem that has already arisen. It can also be used to develop the problem solving skills of a child who is thinking about world events, and searching for meaning.

These literature groups requires the students to identify with a character in the story who is coping with similar issues or experiencing a similar event. The students can be guided to understand emotions after becoming involved in the story (by art, writing or discussion). Further comprehension encourages the students to come to the realization that the characters worked out solutions to their problems – and that they may be able to do this too.

The novels are used as a way to begin a discussion of social, emotional, and moral community and global issues.