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Being gifted

Being gifted

Here you can find out what being gifted actually means.

Like others, you may not always be happy calling yourself "gifted". But sometimes you may feel there is something just a bit different about the way you think and learn compared to others your age.

Perhaps you have made some major achievements or won awards ahead of other students, but this is not always the case. The gifted student is not always the "brightest" student in the class or the one who always gets top marks. You may stand out in some other way, like having ideas that are different from others, or maybe you ask a lot of interesting questions.

Gifted and talented learners can stand out in many ways. They can:

  • be very interested in, or good at, academic thinking and school-work
  • be very creative
  • have good leadership and social skills
  • be good at physical performances or sports
  • have special cultural understanding and be good at cultural practices
  • be good at visual or performing arts.
  • be recognised by iwi as having strong skills in manaakitanga, whanauntanga, wairuatanga, kaitiakitanga, rangatiratanga, matauranga, te mahi rehia, and tikanga.

It can be hard when you are first told that you are "gifted" – you may not have been told what it means and you may wonder if it changes who you are and how you are supposed to act. You may look at other "gifted students" and try to see your similarities.

If you look at the bullet points above, you can see that there is wide range of types of giftedness. You may fall into one category or you may fall into many categories. Either way you are gifted.

A good definition of giftedness is:

“…those with exceptional abilities relative to most other people. These individuals have certain learning characteristics that give them the potential to achieve outstanding performance.”

(Office of the Minister of Education, 2002)

The key word here is potential. If you have been placed in a GATE Programme or told you are gifted then it means that you have potential to be “outstanding” in that area. This is likely to be an area that you enjoy – sports, art, music, maths, public speaking, being a leader, supporting people… the list is endless. You may also be twice exceptional which means that you may have a learning disability (like dyslexia) as well as being gifted.

Being gifted is not always easy. There are always two sides to the coin. Perfectionism and being too hard on yourself are sometimes part of the package. You may also feel like you “owe the world” for being gifted. You don’t owe the world but you do owe it to yourself to get to know where your potential lies and how you want to use it.

Have you taken your SNAQ (Student needs analysis questionnaire) yet? If you haven’t, click here to take it now. It will provide you with a personal report to support you on your journey.


PDF icon. Being Overexcited by Knowledge (PDF, 233 KB)

PDF icon. Different types of giftedness (PDF, 210 KB)

Word 2007 icon. Different types of giftedness from a Maori perspective (Word 2007, 63 KB)

PDF icon. Positive and negatives of being gifted (PDF, 112 KB)

PowerPoint icon. PowerPoint presentation on being gifted and Maori (PowerPoint, 1 MB)