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The question of relevance to the focus of this paper is: what does this mean for gifted children? In this domain, emotional development for gifted children is considered to be clustered into three major groups Porter, Firstly, gifted children are qualitatively different and their emotional differences leave these children emotionally vulnerable. Secondly, gifted children are qualitatively different, but gifted children are advantaged by this emotional difference. Thirdly, there is no qualitative difference between gifted children and other children.

In this article, prominence will be given to the first two conditions and how they influence particular images of the gifted child will be discussed. Within this theory, gifted children are viewed to be qualitatively different to other children as gifted children are susceptible to the overwhelming drives of their emotions, towards a positive or negative outcome. The assertion is that for gifted children, life is not experienced in the same way as it is by other children. The overexcitabilities are delineated into five distinct areas: the psychomotor which is expressed in speech and physical activity; the sensual which is absorbed through the senses; the intellectual which is expressed through curiosity and concentration; the imaginational which is expressed through imaginative image, metaphor and creativity; and the emotional which is expressed through strong manifestations of emotions.

Each of these domains contain positive and negative forms of expression, for example, positive expressions of emotional overexcitability are enthusiastic, ecstatic and euphoric, whereas negative expressions can result in deep depression and suicidal tendencies. However, these overexcitabilities are also connected to a high level of sensitivity.

Ebook Understanding the Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Students (30.20 KB)

Silverman asserts that the intensities with which the gifted child experiences their lives can be coupled with a heightened sensitivity in their responses to foods and sounds and external emotional tension. This intense experience of living life is also seen to be a source of potential vulnerability. Yet, contentions must be raised against this theory. Cannella emphasises the influence developmental theory has upon these research studies, especially in positioning the emotive stage of very young children as normal development.

Cannella forefronts the evaluative gaze which may be rendered upon the child, which is equally if not more significant for the gifted child. One needs to ask the question here, if in promoting a perception of the gifted child as sensitive and vulnerable, are we seeing the child or looking for the condition?

Another argument raised against the consideration of gifted children as emotionally vulnerable is the lack of sufficient evidence to make this claim. Freeman raised this contention against those that seek to associate negative emotional responses and giftedness. Ten years later, N. Furthermore, there are concerns with the positioning of children as vulnerable when being seen as having overexcitabilities and sensitivities. In viewing the child as being subject to their emotions, the child is compartmentalised and pathologised into a potential negative spiral of self-fulfilment Moltzen, a , and their emotional expression is seen as a crisis to be controlled.

Aspects of emotional development are correlated to intellectual development and the functioning of memory and information retention. However, in contrast with Daniels and Piechowski b , who see the connection between heightened emotion and intelligence as a detriment, Clark asserts that gifted children are advantaged by this emotional difference.

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The capacity for gifted children to navigate solutions to emotional and social problems within their lives can be connected to the capabilities within the theory of emotional intelligence Goleman, Where the overexcitabilities theory contained possibilities for positive and negative expression, emotional intelligence capabilities are inherently positive, promoting and projecting a confident, constructive and optimistic view of gifted children.

When applied to gifted children, the capabilities of emotional intelligence are considered to be important to guide understanding and pedagogy.

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While gifted children may have a higher capacity to excel in these capabilities persistence, emotive control, quelling distress, empathy , this does not mean they will be compelled to demonstrate these abilities. This is where the role of the educator is necessary to aid the gifted child to develop this empathy into effective pro-social strategies.

Whether gifted children are considered to be emotionally vulnerable or advantaged due to their advanced capacity for emotional development, the interworking between emotional development and social and relationship development should be considered. Of particular concern is the relationship between emotive development and emotional expression, and how this effects their social and relational development.

The following section will explore this connection further. As outlined previously, emotional development and regulation affects ongoing relationships with others Moffitt et al. In this paper, the trajectory of emotional development in gifted children has been argued to be considered either towards confidence or anxiety. These interests impacted upon the relationships the gifted child held with the family members and the wider society.

Within the early childhood educational domain, the sense of justice or injustice experienced by the gifted can heavily impact upon interpersonal relationships with peers.

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When the gifted child views instances of injustice in the disputes of others, they may seek to intervene and ensure that an equilibrium of fairness is restored. Lovecky postulates that asynchrony in moral development and social development can occur when gifted children are not supported within peer environments where their moral development can be understood by their play mates, suggesting that not only does academic acceleration need to be considered but also a peer environment in which other children have the same moral understanding, so that the gifted child can be supported to enhance their moral abilities.

Understanding and Supporting the Emotional Aspects of Giftedness (2/8/2012)

The development of moral abilities is also important in the development of ethical leaders for the future. Characteristics such as honesty, and reliability which are of paramount importance in moral leadership, overlap with traits typical of gifted children Jacobsen, Also problematic is the image of the child as a being of future potential capital, which places primacy upon the future actions and achievements of the child rather than their present state. These debts are macroeconomic, national and familial, and with multidirectional effects, as children are positioned between the financial and affective debts to and of their parents, but also between national and international development promoting their status as the investments into the future Burman, A consideration of the social and relational development being promoted within the curriculum, is integral to early childhood pedagogy.

Early childhood education, which promotes moral development through an understanding of how social relationships can impact both negatively and positively , can prove to be influential in the establishment of moral leadership in gifted children. When gifted children are viewed to be capable of an intangible potential, notwithstanding the views of potential promoted within the neoliberal discourse mapping out this potential can be tricky and frustrating for the educator and child. Why not share! Embed Size px. Start on.

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