Ministry of Education

Gifted Learners

Tukuna kia rere

Nurturing social and emotional well-being

Understanding the gifted child who has heightened sensitivities, ethical and moral interests.

"Honesty, fairness, moral issues, global concerns, and sensitivity to others are common themes in the lives of gifted children."

Silverman, 2011.


Educationally appropriate challenges and programming can help gifted learners to develop positive social and emotional well-being. If these learners are catered for within an environment that meets their academic, social and emotional needs, many of their issues can be minimised.

A recent research study completed in New Zealand (Needham 2012) highlights teachers’ lack of understanding of the social and emotional needs of gifted learners, finding:

  • many teachers are uncertain about the social and emotional characteristics and needs of gifted learners
  • while teachers have a positive attitude towards gifted learners, they lack personal knowledge about gifted education
  • teachers are frustrated about their limited personal knowledge and skills in this area, lack of professional development, lack of time to spend with gifted learners, and school-directed priorities for meeting the needs of other children.