Just as grouping children by age for instruction makes as little pedagogical sense as grouping them by height, assuming boys and girls learn equally well under the same conditions ignores clear-cut biological differences between the sexes that leads to problems for each.
Parents of gifted children need to know—and consider—their children’s level and profile of giftedness, how they learn and view the process of learning, and how their children’s gender impacts the effect of planning for their children’s best educational placement.
I. The first step is to figure out your own children’s level and profile of intelligence. Although professionally administered individual ability tests are very helpful, early childhood interests and behaviors can be revealing about your children’s true intellectual level and profile when compared to same aged peers. Here is a summary taken from my book, Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind (2005):
Here’s an overview of the various levels of giftedness and milestones that are common—but not necessary—to each Level. Here, also, are the numbers at each Level of Giftedness that you are likely to find in an average elementary classroom of 28 children. It is the overall “feel” of where the child fits that tells you the Level.
1. Level One
2. Level Two
3. Level Three
4. Level Four
5. Level Five
II. Another very important aspect to consider when doing educational planning for your gifted children is, “What is their personality like?” Professionally, I require parents to complete the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and children six or older to complete the Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children®. It helps them and it helps me to know how to both parent and educationally guide their gifted children. I recommend books such as Motherstyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths by Janet P. Penley. Here is a summary of what I have learned and observed for the four dichotomies, which are each on a continuum, on these personality profiles:
III. Political correctness has blurred the very real differences between the ways boys and girls respond to typical classrooms. In my private consultancy, I am constantly reminded that women—mothers—really do need some information on what boys are like and what they need in order to grow into well-adjusted, good men. For starters, I highly recommend the very readable book What Could He Be Thinking: How a Man’s Mind Really Works by Michael Gurian. Here are several of the most important differences that I have noticed:
None of these topics is amenable to a quick list of suggestions because they are all quite complex and require some time to learn. But, in order to truly, effectively advocate for your gifted children and be a good parent, too, it is vital that you learn more about these issues.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
The appearance of any information in the Davidson Institute's Database does not imply an endorsement by, or any affiliation with, the Davidson Institute. All information presented is for informational purposes only and is solely the opinion of and the responsibility of the author. Although reasonable effort is made to present accurate information, the Davidson Institute makes no guarantees of any kind, including as to accuracy or completeness. Use of such information is at the sole risk of the reader.