• Bright Child vs Gifted Child

         If you ask the teacher who the gifted kids are, they are likely to point out the ones that are bright. Bright kids are a joy to teach. They listen well, don't question the teacher, work hard and answer questions. They don't challenge the teacher's competence or stray off the curriculum.

         Bright kids enjoy school and get challenged with the work that they are asked to do. They find the work neither too hard nor too easy.

    The gifted child on the other hand may be spending almost all of the school day thinking or doing something other than what the teacher wants. They find the constant repetition so boring that they often don't shine in the classroom. You might find the gifted child day dreaming, looking out of the window, reading a book instead of listening.

         Gifted children often hate school and are not challenged at all by the work presented to them and the concepts and ideas being taught are far below their intellectual prowess. The problems that this creates are many and varied Some may go underground and not perform, some may bully other kids, some might annoy the teacher with wild and silly sounding ideas and suggestions and further annoy the teacher by doing very little work but demonstrating mastery of a subject when it comes to test time.

    In general….

    A Bright Child....

    A gifted child....

    Knows the answer

    Asks the questions - sometimes deep probing questions of an abstract nature.

    Is interested.

    Is highly curious

    Is attentive

    Is mentally and physically involved

    Has good ideas

    Has wild, silly ideas

    Works hard

    Plays around, yet tests well

    Answers the questions

    Discusses in detail, elaborates

    Top Group

    Beyond the group

    Listens with interest

    Shows strong feelings and opinions

    Learns with ease

    Already knows

    6-8 repetitions for mastery

    1-2 repetitions for mastery

    Understands ideas

    Constructs abstractions

    Enjoys peers

    Prefers adults or older children or seeks out other very bright or gifted peers.

    Grasps the meaning

    Draws inferences and opens up new questions.

    Completes assignments

    Initiates projects

    Is receptive

    Is intense

    Copies accurately

    Creates a new design

    Enjoys school

    Enjoys learning - but may hate school.

    Absorbs information.

    Manipulates information


    Inventor - Loves construction toys

    Good Memorizer

    Good guesser - draws on vast information store.

    Is alert

    Is keenly observant - seems to remember fine details.

    Is pleased with own learning

    Is highly self-critical - can be perfectionistic to the point of tantrums when young.

    Enjoys straight-forward and/or sequential presentation

    Thrives on complexity - needs the whole picture. Requires a gestalt approach.


    So, is your child gifted or bright? If many of the statements in the above table ring true for your child - and as a parent you will know, then you may want to find out the child’s behavior in school and see if it is what you expect.