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Common Terminology in an Uncommon Field

With little experience with the concept of gifted education prior to their child being identified (unless they participated in a program themselves), most terminology is new to parents. Many teachers also have limited exposure to gifted education prior to beginning their teaching careers.

Unique terms such as overexcitabilities or the idea of perfectionism in very young children can be confusing at first. Also, terms such as cluster grouping, self-contained classrooms versus full-inclusion classrooms, and acceleration may be new to many.

Perhaps the term ‘gifted’ itself is the most controversial term in gifted education. Many educators and some parents would prefer not to use the term. Others have decidedly opposing ideas about the word’s definition. Unfortunately, this has at times slowed how the field of gifted education has responded to actually helping gifted children grow and develop their potential abilities.

What are some general education terms that are also useful in gifted education? Terms such as universal screening, pre-assessment, curriculum compacting, scaffolding, and differentiation are used universally in both fields. It’s important to understand general education terms to be a successful advocate. Educators appreciate a willingness by parents to learn the terminology and be able to engage in intelligent dialogue.

Learning the jargon or terminology aids in a parent’s understanding of what will be discussed in meetings with teachers and school personnel regarding their child’s education. Intelligently conversing with educators will gain their respect for parents and ultimately benefit the relationship for all stakeholders; especially the student.

What resources are available for learning the lingo of gifted education? Gifted organizations such as the NAGC and state websites generally provide a list or terms for both parents and educators. Resources and links to these organizations can be found below. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


CO: The Principal’s GT Handbook – A Consolidated Resource (pdf)

NAGC: Glossary of Terms

Frequently Used Terms in Gifted Education (pdf)

Gifted Education Glossary of Common Terms (pdf)

Understanding Your Gifted Child From the Inside Out: A Guide to the Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Kids  (Prufrock – aff. link)

PAGE: A Glossary of Terms for Gifted Education

Acronyms, Terms, and Other Things We Need to Know

Davidson Gifted: A Glossary of Terms Used in Educational Assessment

Different Uses of the Term “Gifted”

Your Guide to Education Lingo

NAGC: Administrator Quick Guide to Gifted Education (pdf)

Dictionary of Educational Jargon

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Reforming Gifted Education (GPP)

Davidson Gifted: The Underachievement of Gifted Students: What do we know and where do we go? (2000)

Emotional Intelligence in Gifted Students

Sprite’s Site: The G Word

Acronyms, Terms, and Other Things We Need to Know

Image generated at by Lisa Conrad.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.


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