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Sonia Dabboussi

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If 'gifted' is a bad word, what term can we use to describe the highly intelligent and creative members of our societies?

The word 'gifted', technically meaning intellectual giftedness, has become a terribly misused term.

'GIfted' has been used to refer to anything from any kind of elitist, socially challenged group of people, to a type of characteristic of a person or object that varies even slightly from the norm.

Many intellectually gifted people refuse to attend gifted programs in their local schools because they don't want to be labeled with something so many people think to mean 'better than others'. Then they don't get the help or varied learning experiences they need to make the most of their abilities, and therefore in essence 'waste' their talents and skills that could so definitely be used by the world.

So what word can we use for the 'learning enabled' individuals so that they can feel confident in their strengths and abilities but still get the help they need? What kind of phrase can be used to refer to the gifted that everyone will find acceptable and satisfactory?

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  • Mar 8 2011: Well maybe my tone came on as a little to extreme. Yes i agree that despite this, gifted kids should not be deprived of the extra attention and resources needed for them to unleash their potential. As a result, they would hopefully be able to in some significant way contribute to society in the future.
    Many education systems are currently are doing a very good job providing for both groups of kids.
    I brought up the earlier point about feeling shortchanged because in my country the education system has been filtering and streaming students from elementary school up to pre-University. Being part of an Asian culture, we are genetically pre-disposed if i may say to take rankings, streaming and how we are academically compared very seriously. In many cases it is also a matter of family pride. Due to all this pressure to preform up to standards (high standards), many kids tend to feel as if they are not intellectually apt enough to compete with the so called gifted kids.
    That is just one of the issues i had hoped to bring up with regards to my society.

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