What Is the Difference Between Gifted and Talented?

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While some people do draw a distinction between the labels “gifted” and “talented,” professional educators most often put them together and discuss how to teach the “gifted and talented” child. The U.S. Department of Education officially defines gifted children as those “with outstanding talent who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experience or environment.”

The U.S. Department of Education’s definition of giftedness incorporates the concept of talent, which is used more often to refer to a natural tendency toward achievement and skills in one specific area. Gifted students typically show talent in one or more areas, including creative thinking, general intellectual ability, performing or visual arts, psychomotor skills or specific academic abilities. Gifted and talented children are often self-motivated in the area of their talents, with a great deal of curiosity and a genuine enjoyment in learning. They are problem solvers who tend to think in the abstract and are often perfectionists. Gifted and talented children frequently are separated out from the normal educational system because they are far ahead of the rest of their class and have difficulty finding an education curriculum that is challenging enough for them.