Tuesday, February 28, 2012

6 Profiles

One of my all time favorite resources is Profiles of the Gifted and Talented by George Betts and Maureen Neihart, originally published in The Gifted Child Quarterly in 1988. 

They describe 6 profiles of gifted children:  The Successful, The Creative, The Underground, The At-Risk, The Twice/Multi-Exceptional, and the Autonomous Learner.

Their research opened many minds to the understanding that gifted kids are not always the ones who get good grades, please parents and teachers, and score well on standardized tests.

Betts and Neihart describe feelings and attitudes, behaviors, needs, adult/peer perceptions, identification, home support, and school support for each type.  Great stuff, especially because the more we know about children's uniqueness, the better we can advocate for them.
You can download the full chart at Deborah Mersino’s blog, Ingeniosus

Key for me was the awareness that I can help many of the Successful students I work with grow toward becoming Autonomous Learners. 

Here’s just a sample of the comparisons they make:

The Successful

  • Gets good grades
  • Is a consumer of knowledge
  • Extrinsically motivated
  • Dependent
  • Seeks teacher approval
  • Avoids risks
  • Accepts & conforms 

The Autonomous Learner 
  • Sets SMART goals
  • Is a producer of knowledge
  • Intrinsically motivated
  • Strongly self-directed
  • Self-confident
  • Willing to fail and learn from it
  • Stands up for convictions
In self-advocacy workshops with teens, I use a self-test version of the profiles.   Students always broaden their view of who their gifted peers might be and frequently are surprised to find something of themselves in multiple profiles.  So much can be gained through reflection!

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