Sherrlene Uy

Teacher - English and Research, Glendale School, Inc. (QC, Phil)

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Gifted kids bullied or bullies?

Bullying has been a long battle for most nations around the world. It has caused the death of several teens and young students.

Have you had any experience wherein a gifted student has been bullied? Or they themselves bully others? What are the probable cause of this and what should be done?

I shall await for your inputs! Thanks in advance! ^^



  • May 3 2013: Hi Sherrlene,

    I have two gifted brothers. My eldest brother suffered severe bullying when he was in the public school system. His teachers recognized his talent, but couldn't offer any facilities to accommodate him at the time. My mother finally found a 'gifted program', in which he flourished.
    My other brother had a very different experience. He was also in the public school system, but his academic talent actually made him admired and quite popular. My mother put him in the gifted program for a short while, but he was extremely unhappy there. She put him back in the public school system, where he flourished.

    Why one gifted brother was bullied and the other admired comes down, I think, to their own individual ability to adapt socially during those tough adolescent years, and their own individual characters.
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      May 4 2013: Lizanne... from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much for this :) I hope both boys are doing well now. It's saddening to hear hurtful stories like that of one of your brothers. This is a very useful insight for my research. Thank you so much ^^
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      May 4 2013: by the way Lizanne, which areas are your brothers gifted at? :)
      • May 4 2013: Hi Sherrlene!
        I'm happy to say, both brothers are extremely happy! Puberty was simply not a fun time for either of them.

        My eldest brother excelled in language, the other in technology (3-D rendering, IT)

        Glad to hear this will help your research!
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    May 4 2013: Sherrilene, As I have stated many times on TED .. I was raised in a orphanage and can tell you there are many reasons for bullying. It can be a pure and simple matter of "pecking order" or in the case of this conversation I think it is a matter of feeling inadequate, embarressment, resentment, amnd lacking the mentality to cope with the situation and resorting to physical violance. Prior to college I attended a Labatory High school on a college campus ... the cost to those not in the "home" was very high and exclusive. Almost everyone was a nerd so the shoe was on the other foot ... The nerds and geeks were cruel to the average students. There were not many fights but the "claws" were always out and the comments sharp.

    In the public system part of the blame could be put on teachers ... I am often guilty also ... it is such a thrill to have a "gifted student" we often go to them even without thinking and that makes the rest of the class angry ... since they cannot go after the teacher they go after the teachers pet.

    We are all contributors ....

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      May 4 2013: Bob, you gave me a skip beat! This is very relevant! Thank you for the honesty :)

      That is true! Having gifted kids around is very convenient for teachers (guilty here!) and we do not realize that the down side is placed on their shoulders!

      I am speechless as I read your insight! Thank you very much!! :')
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      May 4 2013: I can't even begin to paraphrase your words! I'll share your story to inspire more teens to rise up from bullying :) THANK YOU!!!!!
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    May 24 2013: I was called a gifted students when I was in elementary school and I felt good about that. But then there came a time when I tried to give my best, people said I was an attention seeker, I was arrogant, etc and that weakens me. For years I've felt like a doormat for that, you know... like when I want to try to give the best I'm quite afraid I would be said as an attention seeker again so I always end up holding back my potential or lowering my standard.

    Well if that isn't bullying then that's okay but I feel like I can't be myself so hey I feel bullied.

    Until now I've never seen other gifted kids bully, tbh. They just ignore people and do the best they can do. They don't care. Even the bullies respect them. (well this happens in Indonesia, depends on the culture)
  • May 4 2013: Sherriene I am 63 now so I am no longer a kid That's all
    I meant, but thanks for the concern.
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      May 4 2013: haha! Ok, you got me smiling :) I am very honored to meet you :) Have you ever felt like your classmates before secretly despise you for being a gifted child?
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    May 4 2013: NOTE: I would appreciate if you would take time to read the description of this thread. I am looking for valuable insights from people who have experiences of GTs who are bullied/bullying.

    Definitely, bullying is a worldwide issue. We're dealing with it. My area focuses on the GTs thus the question is stated that way. Other researches from the team are working on other forms of bullying.

    This is not about whose issue is bullying. I am trying to track the instances of bullying that concerns the GTs because, again, that is my area.

    I hope that is clear. Thanks for those who took their time to share their experiences
  • May 4 2013: But those who are not engaged tend to cause more problems Sherriene. That's true.
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      May 4 2013: I know :) We'll get there George. If we look at bullying as one big picture, it tends to be very overwhelming :) So we're doing it one sector at a time. Others are working on those who are not gifted. My part is that of the GTs :)
      • May 4 2013: Sherriene Okay sounds good. But as a formerly gifted kid -
        I didn't bully, and I felt others caused a great deal of trouble.
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          May 4 2013: Wow! glad to meet a gifted one here! ^^ Why did you say you're a "formerly gifted kid"?
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        May 4 2013: There are likely quite a number of people here in the TED community who were labeled gifted who would not mention it in social or professional conversation. One reason might be that they have experienced bullying and stereotyping of them based on the label. Another reason is that many gifted children are suitably advised that they should expect their ideas and work to be evaluated only on the basis of merit, without regard for how they have performed on IQ tests.
  • May 3 2013: I do not see this as an issue of giftedness or not. I would be curious what you mean by "gifted".

    When most people address the issue of "giftedness" they are not talking about "gifts" they are speaking to academically abled students more so than truly "gifted" with talents. That has a separate connotation all together.

    That being said, I don't see a difference in academically abled students versus other students. They are no nicer or meaner than other students. They are no more likely or less likely to bully or be bullied than other students.

    Bullies tend to seek out those less powerful than them or target the weird and different. Those that are bullied may find themselves being bullied for no reason other than they are a little different than everybody else, or maybe not at all. Being in a class that sets them aside as academically abled may cause some issue, but I don't see it as significant for that population.

    Also, to single out a group, any group, and try to address issues bullying for that particular group is not very useful or helpful. It could actually increase the issue for those students.
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      May 4 2013: Yes I have a clear understanding of the differences between gifted, talented and creative :)

      This question was posted to address the occurrence of bullying on a specific group of this society -- in this case, gifted kids because that's my research :)

      Bullying has been a world-wide issue. I know that bullying is not an issue for the gifted alone but also for the regular students.

      While you may say that addressing the issue of bullying for a specific group may not be useful, I have my purpose for doing this. I am a SPED teacher that's why I am focusing on special students. I won't go and act as if I can solve the entire issue. I'll do what I can. We can respect each one's views, right? :)

      We're not living in one, single and same society; your experiences may not be valid in my case.

      Thank you for your comment.
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        May 4 2013: SPED Is that SPecial EDucation = SPED?

      • May 4 2013: Sherrlene, but definition, you have a group of individual under your charge who are separated from the regular education system. I have worked with a significant number of SPED students in my career at various levels and with various issues they struggle with. They face the same issues "normal" kids face, only heightened as they are "different" for some reason.

        It doesn't mean that they are bullied more or less. It just means that they are different and sometimes treated differently. That does not mean we should treat their "bullying", if that is the case, differently. It is still bullying and wrong and should be treated as such.
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      May 4 2013: I agree with you, Everett, that identifying a problem that is, in fact, not peculiar to a specific group but then addressing it preferentially for one group can increase issues for that group, as other kids and parents may well resent preferential treatment without cause. In areas where different children actually have different needs, on the other hand, services to address those different needs are warranted.
      • May 4 2013: Fritzie, I appreciate your comments. I would also suggest that treating specific groups differently actually heightens the issue rather than reduces it. Thus causing a spike in behaviors rather than a decrease. But it is a challenge at any reate.
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          May 4 2013: Actually I doubt it causes a spike in behaviors within the treated group. But having worked at various levels for so long with gifted kids in schools that serve the full range of kids, I have seen often that administrators and parents within the school population are very sensitive to whether gifted kids are getting extra services beyond those their extra academic needs would warrant. The suspicion and perception are common even when it is not happening but I expect would happen to a greater extent if it were, in fact, happening.

          At the secondary school where I taught, we originally had our regular meetings about bullying with our second period classes in an extra session attached to that class. That approach tended to address students with their academic cohorts. But thereafter we shuffled kids around so that we did these sessions with students from across the school of the same grade. The idea was to promote understanding, relationships, and a sense of community across the whole school rather than in academic tiers. The conversation was shallower in the latter format, because the kids didn't know each other, so trust building was a longer project.
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    May 3 2013: Gifted kids are usually bullied because they are not well understood by the majority of other kids. Being exceptional attracts attention, and it does make some people jealous.

    In my secondary school days I got abusive nicknames and insults and exclusion from the 'cool' guys for being 'weird'. By implication only a few girls thought I was 'cool'.

    Its part of growing up; adults do have their own developed form of bullying.
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      May 4 2013: Hi Feyisayo Anjorin! You're such a brave soul! How did you manage to get out from that horrible situation? What forms of bullying did you experience?
  • May 3 2013: What does this have to do with gifted kids except serious people do annoy some of the others.
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      May 4 2013: You said it yourself... Some people annoy others and like what Fritzie said, GTs are no exemptions.
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    May 2 2013: I don't think the issue of bullying needs to be addressed differently for gifted kids than for other kids. As I have worked with gifted kids for about twenty years, I have been aware of instances of bullying among them. I don't recall reading any research indicating whether there is any correlation at all between between bullying among kids and giftedness.

    Here is an article about bullying and giftedness.

    The cases with which I am familiar were gifted kids bullying other gifted kids.
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      May 3 2013: Hi Fritzie! Thanks for your reply! What forms of bullying are the gifted kids engaged in? Thanks
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        May 3 2013: Gifted children are first and foremost children. Gifted adolescents are adolescents. Gifted teenagers are teenagers. They have cognitive advantages over same age peers and some slightly different social and emotional issues than same-aged peers, but they are not a different species.

        The forms of bullying I have seen among gifted kids look very much like the forms of bullying one sees among other kids in their same communities and of the same age. There are in-group and outgroup behaviors, cyberbullying, ostracizing particular targets, spreading rumors, and so forth- just like with other kids. In a well run school, these behaviors are infrequent because the staff is on the lookout for it and deals with it as soon as they see it.

        I was unaware of any physical bullying among any kids on the school premises, but I had no playground or gym class presence.
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          May 4 2013: Thank you very much Fritzie! You've been a constant source of help ^^ This will be very helpful for my research ^^
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    May 2 2013: I'm from Perú but live in Argentine since 15 years ago, when I was a child suffered that problem. I think that is attributed for two big problems
    1) Ignorance
    2) Family troubles
    The good is both of them have solutions, educational institutions should be incorporate professionals for controle it this, really is very important, bullying have bad impacts in society.
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      May 3 2013: Hi Nestor! Yes, I agree with you! Bullying has become one of the biggest societal problems at present.
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    May 2 2013: I would really love to hear things from everyone! :) If you got references that I could read on this, please help me :) Thanks guys!