Gifted or high ability student, what is the correct term?

Traditionally, terms such as gifted, child prodigy or genius have been used to describe children with an intelligence quotient (IQ) equal to or higher than 130, taking IQ as the only determining characteristic.

After years of study and research it has been shown that other variables such as creativity, motivation, socio-cultural environment or specific skills can also influence the development of high cognitive abilities. Thus, the term “student with high abilities” is more appropriate than the term gifted, since it refers to those individuals who demonstrate an outstanding skill or competence compared to the rest of the group.


How to identify a child with high abilities?

There is no single pattern that helps us to identify a child with high abilities. In fact, one of the main problems is the difficulty in identifying them since they may not show outstanding performance when the environment is not optimal for the enhancement of their talent. Therefore, the key is to put the focus on the ability and not on their performance levels.

High abilities are developmental, and this development requires personalized training, high levels of motivation, perseverance and creative problem solving.


How to educate children with high abilities?

It is estimated that at least 3 to 5% of the school population has high abilities. It is important to detect this at an early age so these students can be provided with an educational experience adapted to their potential.

The role of the teacher is key, to address the particularities of each student with high abilities and to design pedagogical activities with a sufficient level of challenge and a personalized learning methodology that enhances the talent of the child and helps him to develop his strengths and overcome his shortcomings.

In order to identify high abilities, we can boost the child’s imagination through fun games that promote creative thinking. Some activities that may be used to enhance creativity are the following:

  • Think of an ending for a short story
  • Create a new story using the same characters of the original story.
  • Make up a fictional hypothesis and have the student create his own story.
  • Stimulate the senses with smells, images and flavors.