What effect does being labeled "gifted and talented" have on students?
The labeling of the students as gifted, talented, lazy and in many other terms is like putting a tag on them."Alice sings so well, and his brother is a genius in solving puzzles". They are surely the gifted and talented children. The gifted children are the one who has comparatively high potential, may be more intellectual, more creative and so on. The talented students are the one who have skills above the average level. It is correct that some children show some extraordinary activities in a different way during childhood, as they grow their parents and their teachers identify that they are gifted or talented in one way or other. But labelling the students as gifted or talented has more negative impact than positive.
The implications of labeling the students as gifted or talented
The parents or the teachers put the label on the students as the gifted and talented. They do it with an intention of shaping up the bright future for the student in the particular field or area. They give their best care and all facilities to these students to nurture their talent. The schools also provide them will all the amenities so that they can perform well. Sadly these all care and facilities sometimes put harmful implication on them. They feel burdened and stressed resulting in non-performance or underperformance which ultimately plays the adverse effect on their talent. Michael was very talented tennis player; he could play the tennis exceptionally well which even the children of his double age could not play. His teacher, coach and parents motivated him in all possible ways. During the practice matches, he performed decently. Everybody expected that he will win the trophy and will bring the pride to the name of his school and parents. Michael had a sleepless night a day before the match due to the anxiety. He was tensed whether he would be able to meet the expectations of everybody. On the day of the match, he could not perform. He was so disturbed by this such that he decided not to play the tennis anymore. In this situation the intentions of everybody was good, but labelling Michael as talented was wrong. The word heaved a lot on Michael. It could have done that his parents and teachers identified the talent of Michael, but he is not to labelled as talented. Rather he was just motivated so the pressure is not to bestowed on his shoulders. He would have to perform well.
In class when a student is labelled as gifted or talented by the teachers or professors, that student is paid more attention as compared to the other students. As a result, other students gets demoralises, they don't put the desired efforts in studies. The feeling that they are not gifted or talented in any skill or activity makes a constant place in their hearts. Anny and Nancy were the two students who were very good in mathematics. But however effort the Anny puts in her studies she was always a little behind Nancy in the terms of score. The teachers labelled Nancy as the gifted child in mathematics. The teachers also recognised Anny's efforts, but their intentions were inclined more towards Nancy. Anny was in constant thought that does being gifted overshadow the genuine efforts. Had Nancy was not labelled as gifted then Anny would have always thought her efforts are less than those of Nancy, and she should devote more time and energy to study hard. The labelling had the adverse effect on Anny's studies.
The labelling of the students sometimes hampers their growth and interest in other areas. If a student is very good in studying a particular subject and performs exceptionally well in that subject, it happens that he is labelled gifted or talented as a result he narrows his horizon up to that subject. He is not able to explore the other areas or activities. During the childhood as the child grows his interest varies every day. This process continues in school life also. The students may seem interested in arts one day and another day may perform very well in sports. So labelling them as gifted or talented at an early age puts the stop mark on the development of other areas.
It is true that sometimes a child shows some extra ordinary qualities but identifying them and labelling them as gifted or talented is not right. It is advisable to let them explore all fields, take time in realising their capabilities. And if it still reflects felt that they are talented in particular subject or field then provide them with the facilities along with ensuring that they are not loaded with the basket of expectations. Simultaneously the intentions of hard-working students should be paid due care.