Is there such a thing as underachieving gifted students?
Gifted students are really a special category of students. Francoy Gagne, a Canandian scientist describes a gifted child as one that has a comparatively higher level of innate ability in any field of human endeavor in which they also fall within the top 10%. However, we should be reminded of the fact that not all the facts about such children are rosy. This is especially true when the topic of discussion is underachieving gifted students.
Just as the concept of giftedness itself is controversial, scientists differ on what true underachievement in a gifted child is. Some of them argue that can a child that performs excellently in the music class and yet does not do well in writing lessons is said to be an underachiever.
At any rate, the closest definition of underachieving gifted students is an obvious variance between a gifted child’s academic performance and his or her proven intellectual capability. To state this in another way, the child is simply performing below expectation. In explaining this interesting scenario, many reasons have been put forward.
According to some researchers, gifted children will fail in various subjects not because they are not smart but owing to the fact that the school curriculum does not provide enough stimulation and challenge for them. Thus, they find the work too easy or boring and eventually lose interest in carrying out academic tasks, which ultimately reflects as poor grades.
Apart from this, other important factors that can be responsible for the condition of underachieving gifted students are psychological and emotional in nature. These include anxiety, depression and even perfectionism. It has been observed that some gifted children are so obsessed with perfection that they do not attempt to do anything believing that they will fail to achieve perfection.
For underachieving gifted children, once the case has been confirmed, adequate measures have to be put in place to help them. According to Del Siegle of educational psychology and the President of the National Association of Gifted Children, parents and teachers can help such children by encouraging them, nurturing their curiosity and letting them know the value of schooling.