Lay conceptions of giftedness among the Chinese people

Authored by: W. David Chan

The Routledge International Companion to Gifted Education

Print publication date:  September  2008
Online publication date:  February  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415461368
eBook ISBN: 9780203609385
Adobe ISBN: 9781136028786


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It is generally acknowledged that educators and researchers in gifted education have different views on how best to conceptualise and define giftedness, and a seemingly simple question of ‘What is giftedness?’ will evoke different answers, depending on where you are and to whom you talk (Pfeiffer 2003; Sternberg and Davidson 1986, 2005; Winner 2000a). Indeed, even if one endorses the Western conception that giftedness is associated with high ability or intelligence above a certain cut-off score (Callahan 1996; Feldhusen 2003b), one readily realises that this once popular notion has been seriously challenged, as theorists have now broadened the notion of intelligence (Guilford 1967), and distinguished different and distinct human cognitive abilities (Cattell 1971; Gardner 1983, 1999; Sternberg 1985, 2003b). Further, giftedness could involve more than just a high intelligence quotient (IQ), and has non-cognitive components such as socio-emotional competence, creativity, and motivation (Renzulli 1978, 2003; Runco 1993; Sternberg 2000a, 2000b, 2003c). Finally, considering giftedness across cultures, educators are reminded to take into account the cultural contexts in which giftedness is conceptualised, socialised and nurtured, and honour different cultural conceptions to make giftedness relevant for children in different cultural settings (Sternberg 2007; Stevenson 1998).

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