Reflections on the concept of giftedness: Evolution of the paradigm

Marta Reyero y Javier Tourón


In the last decades, educational research has clearly shown, from both a theoretical and an experimental pers-pective, that looking after diversity, and consequently personalizing education, are signs of quality and effectiveness in modem educational systems.

However, when that diversity refers to giftedness, opinions arise which are often based on prejudices and myths, and many do not see a need for paying special attention to the group of diverse individuals included in the term gifted. In this paper, we first review the evolution of the concept of intelligence, which is closely linked to the idea of giftedness, then analyze this construct, and -after briefly discussing one of the main myths and realities surrounding giftedness- we analyze the main theories proposed up to the present time, paying special attention to the development of a distinction between giftedness and talent, which is especially relevant to educational strategies. Finally, we discuss, in the light of the principle of equal opportunities, the need for a modern society and educational system to promote excellence, in clear opposition to an egalitarianism that substitutes equal opportunities with equal results.


Key words: Giftedness, Talent, Intelligence, Mathematical talent, Excellence

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