Pros and Cons of being labelled "gifted":

Although this study was done on adults in the workplace, it has some interesting results which I think can be a good example of what happens to gifted students. They found that higher cognitive ability is associated with higher victimization in the workplace, yet could be moderated by displaying communal personality traits (ie. goals directed towards benefitting whole group rather than self). Here is the reference:

Kim, E., & Glomb, T.M. (2010) Get Smarty Pants: Cognitive Ability, Personality, and Victimization. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1037/a0019985

“The Pros and Cons of Labelling Children.”:
- Financially, labels get more money for the school, and therefore for special programming.
- Labelling allows students to achieve their full potential as the environment around them can be prepared to meet individual needs.
- Labels are designated in IEPs, which call for differentiated teaching and learning. School can become more challenging and fun.

“Teacher Education Pathways: Gifted Children”
- Being labelled as gifted sometimes means that children can be placed in special programs that accommodate age and ability peers.
- Many gifted programs now do not require unilateral giftedness in all school subjects. Instead, students experience inclusion in main stream classes for most subject, while only being taken out for those subjects for which they are deemed advanced.
- Giftedness can be determined at a young age, whereas some other special needs are not found until much later (eg. Advanced reading or mathematic skills are noticed before dyslexia).
- Giftedness can be found in more areas than simply academic intelligence, such as communication skills, musical intelligence, creativity, etc.


“The Pros and Cons of Labelling Children.”:
- Teachers sometimes teach to the label rather than the student.
- Problems arise when the child needs to be relabelled, consequently generating an opportunity for reassessment of self-identity (possibly detrimental to a student’s psyche).
- By labelling a child ‘bright’ or ‘smart’ there is an absence of other dictators (or labels), which often causes the child think they would not excel in other areas, (eg. Sports, homemaking, social activities). Therefore, positive labels can limit children as well.
- Creates negative stigma by peers, because of they are now different. Many kids want to fit in with their peers, not stand out, especially where they may be considered ‘superior’.
- Labels can encourage self imposed stress. Labels such as ‘gifted’ or associated labels (eg. ‘perfect’) can cause students to evaluate themselves on every aspect of their lives. Not living up to others expectations in some areas can be devastating. Ie if you’re good in 7 of 8 subjects, you feel you have to be perfect in the 8th subject, or in extracurricular activities, social relationships, etc.
- Labels segregate peers by grouping them into categories such as ‘smart’ and ‘not smart’, which are then acted out by their peers.
- Labels can cause long lasting to permanent effects on psyche. A label and its meaning are internalized by the child, which can be detrimental as a label only represents a minute part of the whole child.

“Teacher Education Pathway: Gifted Children”
- High ability children can be asked to help those students who are lagging behind. This does not enhance their own studies, but merely keeps them occupied in the classroom when they are ahead in their work.
- Gifted children are at greater risk for underachievement, according to American studies. 10% of the American jail/prison population is comprised of gifted individuals. Studies show that these individuals have good to excellent skills in organization, planning, strategy, and math. Many of these people had no outlet for (in other words, no one challenged) their gifted talents so they apply their talents in a negative manner.
- Gifted students are more likely to be labelled as nerds by peers, so they try to appear ‘less labelled’. Interestingly, this is increasingly prominent among girls beyond middle-school.

  • 2010, March 4. TVO Parent’s “Your Voice”. World News Network (Panel: Karl Subben - Principal, Brookview Middle School, Toronto; Catherine Wakelin - Author ‘Talk About Anything with Your Kids’ and consultant for school boards; Michael Coteau - Trustee with Toronto District School Board: Don Valley East). Accessed October 4, 2010 at http://​wn.​com/​The_​Pros_​Cons_​of_​Labelling_​Children.