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- a workshop by Maureen Neihart

6 profiles of gifted and talented students 
- a workshop by Maureen Neihart

6 profiles of gifted and talented students 
- a workshop by Maureen NeihartThe profiles of the Gifted is a typology developed by Maureen Neihart and George Betts that is widely used around the world for teacher and parent training. It explains what are the differences between the six different profiles of gifted children; their behaviors, characteristics, their identification and in what way they need support at home and at school.

Type 1 – Successful gifted children

  • Well behaved and achieving
  • Eager for approval
  • Positive self-concepts
  • Complacent
  • Do not go beyond the syllabus
  • Lack skills needed to learn in depth independently. The children are quite teacher dependent, and are prone to think “why do I need to do to get the top mark?”

What do they need?

  • Create challenge
  • Accelerated coursework
  • Prime a growth mindset
  • Systematic risk taking (in the field of spiritual/moral, social, physical, emotional and intellectual areas)

Type 2 – The creative gifted

  • Strongly motivated to follow inner convictions
  • Playful
  • Express impulses
  • Androgynous
  • Lower levels of self-control
  • Emotionally labile
  • Low interest in conforming to expectations
  • High energy.

More difficult to identify: the focus has shifted away from creative achievement to creative potential. Instead of “how creative is this person?” instead the focus should be “In what ways is this person creative?”

What do they need?

  • They need to be validated, reward new thinking
  • Encourage and value challenges
  • Provide mentorships
  • Provide explicit, domain specific training and coach for deliberate practice
  • Be prepared to tolerate higher levels of deviance

Type 3 – Underground gifted

  • Discount their abilities
  • Feel pressure to reject achievement behaviors
  • Experience dissonance about achievement goals
  • Associate certain achievement attitudes as betrayal of their group
  • Withdraw from or rests talent development opportunities

Society doesn’t always appreciate talent, they feel conflicted between the need to achieve and the need to belong to the main stream group. Be smart, but don’t be too smart. They are trying to figure out how to balance things. It’s a common societal phenomenon.

What do they need?

  • Create welcoming learning environments
  • Normalize their dissonance
  • Include cultural brokers
  • Teach code switching; you switch what you do based on the environment you are in.
  • Provide direct instruction in social skills needed to succeed in a variety of social contexts
  • Provide open discussions about the costs of upward mobility

Type 4 – Gifted at risk


  • Create crises and cause disruptions
  • Serious emotional and behavioral issues
  • Not motivated by teacher driven rewards
  • Troubles, angry, irresponsible, or acting out
  • Unrealistic expectations for themselves
  • Engage in thrill seeking behavior
  • Education deficiency
  • Do not cope well with daily frustration

What do they need?

  • Important to focus on the relationship, it takes time to build this relationship and change the behavior
  • A cognitive intervention (that most schools are not able to provide)

Type 5 – Twice exceptional
A vulnerable group, they are exceptional in multiple ways: they are gifted and they have for example a learning problem.

  • Believe they have often failed in school
  • Discouraged
  • Social or emotional difficulties
  • Problems behaviors
  • Prone to anxiety or depression
  • Low academic self-concept
  • Upset about school
  • Immature compared to other gifted

What do they need?

  • Use multiple measures of achievement
  • Emphasize talent development while accommodating weaknesses
  • Appropriate challenge in their area of strength should be the first priority
  • Direct assistance with emotional and behavioral concerns
  • Provide access to people who can become their friends
  • Teach self advocacy skills
  • Learning to persevere, to adapt and to fore supportive relationships

Type 6 – Autonomous learner

This is a model group, and while may look like type one, they are in fact different.


  • Goal setter
  • Perseverance
  • High self-efficacy
  • Seeks challenges
  • Incremental view of ability
  • Courageous
  • Positive explanatory style
  • Self-regulate well
  • May or may not view academics as one of their priorities
  • Can cope with disappointments and setbacks

What do they need?

  • They need more support, a different kind of support; they need help making the transition to community kind of places.
  • Coping with social or psychological costs of their success
  • Direct coaching in how to manage themselves
  • Cultivate a support team
  • Mentors and cultural brokers


Over sbo

Het Studiecentrum voor Bedrijf en Overheid (SBO) organiseert jaarlijks zo’n 200 studiedagen en opleidingen over o.a. ruimtelijke ordening & milieu, bestuur, verkeer & vervoer, sociale zekerheid, onderwijs en gezondheidszorg.

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