The purpose of the researcher of this essay is to investigate the following: definition and early studies surrounding giftedness; giftedness, behavioural problems and depression; Linda Silverman, Gifted Development Centre and Asynchronous development. …
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The paper tells that despite its wide usage, experts, scholars, academicians and scholars have yet not agreed on a single definition of the term “gifted”. In fact, they have even failed to develop a consensus on outlining a set of characteristics or behaviours relating to of giftedness, which is just another manifestation of the intensity to which this topic in debatable and undecided in educational, psychological, sociological, anthropological and other similar fields of study. Since the earliest human civilizations, the progress and accomplishments of humankind have been mainly dependent upon persons who have performed extraordinarily in their fields. These people have accounted for the bulk of accomplishments forcing the governments, administrations and local authorities to focus on exploring and developing to take charge of their respective fields. In fact, “as early as in the 2200 BC, evidence reveals that the Chinese authorities had developed a system of competitive examinations for children to explore the gifted or extraordinary ones and groom them for taking the government positions in the later years. This fascination with giftedness remained there, in one form or the other, in Greek and Roman civilizations as well. However, it was Sir Francis Galton, a well-known scientist and researcher of the 19th century and the cousin of Charles Darwin, who used the term gifted for the first time in order to refer to people who showed exceptional and extraordinary talent in a particular field, such as a gifted writer or a gifted singer (Sternberg & Wilson, 2004, pp. 310). Furthermore, Galton also called the children who show the potential of becoming a gifted adult as gifted children. It was Lewis Terman, the guru of educational psychology and one the leadings American psychologists in the 20th century , who widened the scope of the research and provided some sort of platform and meaning to the term “gifted” (Sternberg, 2003, pp. 360). Terman added the criteria of high IQ in order to determine the giftedness of any individual. The fact is that Terman was very much inspired with the ideas of Alfred Binet in this field that never became public because of his early death (Janos & Robinson, 1985, pp. 259). However, Alfred’s invention of the first useable IQ test gave the inspiration to Terman in order to look for and understand the students who have an IQ of 120 or more. In the 1920s, Terman selected almost 1500 students from different schools in California, which satisfied the IQ criteria. Over 1350 students out of this sample were white and a significant majority belonged from the upper and middle class families. The aim of Terman was to prove that most of the common stereotypes held about gifted children such as physically weak, socially misfit, unhealthy and others were incorrect (Treffinger & National Association for Gifted Children, 2004, pp. 145-149). After selecting the sample in 1920, Terman did seven follow-ups with his “termites”, as he liked to call these gifted children. He followed the educational progress, interests, personalities, families and other related variables from their childhood to deep adulthood and found out that these gifted children were just as socially apt, physically strong, and tall and fit as others compared at their age. Even after the death of Terman, the study is still underway with many follow-ups by the students of Terman, making it longest running longitudinal study ever (Davis & Rimm, 1989, pp. 23-24; Sternberg, 2003, pp. 360). In addition, there have been some serious criticisms on this longest running longitudinal study. First, the sample that Terman selected in 1921 is highly unreliable and looking at the technique of
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