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    Varying Definitions of Gifted Students in Literature

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    Questions to be asked are there gifted students or are we simply using incorrect terms? Renzulli and Reis (1991) bring our attention to whether we should direct our attention to gifted behavior as opposed to gifted students (as cited in Gallagher & Reis (2004). The authors contend that we are dealing with human beings and not with concepts such as the idea of giftedness. Vygotsky had a different perspective to child cognitive development.

    Vygotsky's (1978) socio-cultural theory focused on social dialogue through language for the development of cognition (Ford, Kozey, & Negreiros, 2012), Vygotsky believed that knowledge was constructed at the social level with others (not individually) first externally and later on internally within the child (Ford et al., 2012). Vygotsky differed from Piaget's concerning the universal stages in the development of cognition. According to Zembar and Blume (2009), Vygotsky believed that in the development of cognition there were no all-inclusive stages, but learning took place between socio-cultural environments and social interaction that impacted child learning (as cited in Ford et al., 2012).

    The focus of Vygotsky's work focused on the zone of proximal development (ZPD). Vygotsky describes the ZPD as "the distance between the actual developmental level, as determined by independent problem solving, and the level of potential development, as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers" (Vygotsky, 1978, p.86).

    High potential development and ZPD are discussed in the literature. According to Ford et al. (2012), higher potential development is the ideal goal for children in the process of learning. It is vital to note that children have different ZPD, which may affect how they exercise scaffolding assignments (decrease instruction time resulting from children learning new material) (Ford et al., 2012).


    Ford, L., Kozey, M. L., & Negreiros, J. (2012). Cognitive Assessment in early childhood:
    theoretical and practice perspectives. In D. P. Flanagan & P. L. Harrison (Eds.), Contemporary intellectual assessment: Theories, tests, and issues (3rd ed., pp. 585-622). New York, NY: Guilford Press. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

    Gallagher, J. J., & Reis, S. M. (Eds.). (2004). Public policy in gifted education (Vol. 12). Corwin

    Renzulli, J. S., & Reis, S. M. (1991). The reform movement and the quiet crises in gifted education. Gifted Child Quarterly, 35(1), 26-35.

    Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Interaction between learning and development. Mind in society. The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

    Zembar, M. J., & Blume, L. B. (2009). Middle childhood development: A contextual approach. Prentice Hall.

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    Solution Preview

    Giftedness, traditional testing, diverse children, and adolescents are discussed in the literature. Simonton (2008) explained giftedness in a child or adolescent as one mastering a specific sphere at a quicker rate than the average youth. The results of his study of 291 African Americans indicated that creative achievement in adulthood is positively connected with early giftedness in childhood and adolescence. He also stated there should not be across the board strategies to ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution of 278 words discusses the varying definitions and perspectives of what a gifted student is in literature, touching on Vygotsky's socio-cultural theory on an alternative perspective of giftedness and cognitive development. References used are included.