21 February 2013 - HIGH ACHIEVERS


G'day guys,

Today we discuss high achievers - mainly kids. Who are they and what is the definition of one? Over the years I have met many smart people; some who used the gifts they were born with and many who will never reach their full potential. My aim has always been to be mentally and intellectually challenged and stimulated. So far, I've done okay, but I have gone out of my way to seek stimulation. However, I have also met some folks who are plain bloody lazy or unmotivated - physically and mentally. Some of the best intellects I have met have been very poor people. Mm ... imagine what they'd achieve if they were given half a chance?

Several of my many expressions are relevant to this topic:

1. Teach a person to read and they can educate themselves.
2. Life's short. Use it. There's plenty to do.
3. Would you roll over if you're two goals down in a grand final with minutes to spare? No way!
4. An extraordinary person is one who does an ordinary job extraordinarily well.

Anyway, here is one definition of a high achiever by Carole Bainbridge:

Definition: High achievers are those who achieve a goal. In school, a high achiever would be a student who gets high marks, good grades. They do the work that is required and do it well. They tend to be well-organized, with good time-management skills, which is why they turn in neat and tidy work on time. They also tend to be well-behaved, adjusting well to the classroom environment and participating enthusiastically in classroom discussions.

High achievers are not necessarily gifted, although some high achievers are also gifted. High achievers are often externally motivated by the desire to get good grades or even high praise. They can also often be motivated by stickers with smiley faces. 

However, high achievement is not a sign of giftedness. In fact, some gifted children are underachievers. They may be internally motivated, so unless they are interested in the task or the material to be learned, they may not do well on assignments and may not even complete the assignments.

High achievers may need an educational environment beyond what is offered in the average classroom, but that is not necessarily the same environment required by gifted kids to be successful.

Exceptional Talent:
Exceptional talent is the ability to perform a skill at a level usually not reached until later years, sometimes as late as adulthood. A three-year old may be reading like a third grader, or a nine-year-old may be playing piano like an 18 year-old who has studied for years. If the exceptional talent is in a non-academic area such as music or art, the children may not be identified as gifted by the school because most testing for gifted programs is based on academic ability or achievement.

High Achievement:
Gifted children are usually, but not always, high achievers. Even when they don't achieve good grades, they tend to score high on achievement tests, most often in the 95-99 percentile range. They love to learn and their love of learning, good memories, and ability to learn quickly and easily enable them to succeed. However, if a gifted child has lost the motivation to learn, he or she may not do well in school, although achievement test scores will usually remain high.

 Potential to Achieve or Excel:
Whether or not a gifted child excels in school, he or she has the potential to do so. Many gifted children are intrinsically motivated, which means the motivation comes from within. They become motivated by interest and challenge. When these children are interested and appropriately challenged, they can and will achieve. However, even though a gifted child may not be achieving in school, he or she may still be learning and achieving on their own at home.
Heightened Sensitivity:
Although heightened sensitivity is rarely, if ever, used to identify gifted children in school, it is so common among gifted children that it is one of the characteristics that set them apart from other children. They may be emotionally sensitive, crying over what others considered trivial. They may be physically sensitive, bothered by tags on shirts or seams on socks. Psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski called these "over-excitabilities."

Clancy's comment:  Mm ... say what you like, but I reckon you are born with an exceptional curiosity to learn and achieve things. I call them 'drivers', similar to the drivers used on computers. 

Oh, if you are interested, read a sensational book - 'Dibs in Search of Self' by Virginia Axeline - the psychologist who treated Dibs. It's a true story about a kid who was mis-diagnosed as a poor learner. I've read it ten times. Love it!

Blog comment:
 Melissa Bowersock has left a new comment on your post "21 February 2013 - HIGH ACHIEVERS":

Clancy, nice post; always a good idea to recognize high achievers. I have to say, I've always been an overachiever, but would like to think I've outgrown the tendency to be motivated by stickers with smiley faces! :-)

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