Talented for life

What highly gifted people experience, what funding they want and what they don’t


Friday, October 24, 2008 6.30 p.m.

Talent – high talent – elite promotion?

A contribution to clarifying a controversial phenomenon

Prodigies who shine on the violin in kindergarten; High-flyers who obtained their high school diploma at the age of fifteen and at the latest in their early twenties at an elite university – such clichés can be found not only in literary and cinematic representations, but also in many heads. The highly gifted are actually quite normal – just a little bit more intelligent than the average. The Dipl.-Psych. Tanja Gabriele Baudson (Uni Trier) discusses what talent is, why it is sometimes difficult to see, how it manifests itself in different development phases and how it can be promoted.

Speaker: Tanja Gabriele Baudson M.A. Moderation: Arne Schulz
Rathaus Marburg (market square) Historical hall

exchange of experiences

Dr. Sönke Siefert from the Catholic Children’s Hospital Wilhelmstift in Hamburg asks for help: "We are responsible for a family which, in addition to highly gifted children, also includes a child who has severe epilepsy. This constellation of giftedness and epilepsy within a family rarely occurs from a purely statistical point of view and represents a major and often stressful challenge for those affected. We hope that [. ] finds a family in which there is a similar constellation and which would be willing to share experiences with the family we are looking after, which will certainly be a relief."

Brain and mind

Clever, creative – successful? »As I observed myself, an exceptional talent was able to read fluently even before starting school. Two weeks after entering school, the child suddenly stopped reading. When I asked why it suddenly seemed difficult for him to read aloud, the first grader replied: "The others read the same way." "(Christian Fischer in brain & Spirit March 2008)

something like that is also being researched.

» Women with small waists and big hips also have big IQs, a new U.S. study has found. A study of 16,000 women determined those with hourglass figures were more intelligent than their counterparts with round or straight bodies, The Sunday Times of London reported. Curvier women also tended to have more intelligent children, possibly because omega3 fatty acids are stored in their hips, the British newspaper said. Skinny women, or those whose fat deposits are around their waists do not have such deposits. The study, to be published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior this week, may explain earlier findings that men prefer women with smaller waists than hips even if they are compared to slimmer women, said the study’s authors at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California, Santa Barbara. "


Compulsory giftedness (lat .: filius einsteinus)

Description: Parents’ unshakable belief that their own child is called to higher things

symptoms: – The parents concerned justify any missing or stupid child with his giftedness. – They fill their bookshelves up to the ceiling with literature like "What’s what", "Children’s Brockhaus", "Children’s University" and "Smart kids". – They enroll their three-year-olds in Chinese, archeology and programming courses. – You take a part-time job to have enough time to personally attend to your homework and support courses for your children.

Cure: When the child at 42 years of age has found a job as a caretaker after 37 semesters of German as a teacher and has given birth to an illegitimate child with the waitress from the Café Kaktus, the parental euphoria subsides or discharges itself in the display of parking offenders and insulting their civil service provider.

from: Nina Puri and Susanne Kaloff: Parental Diseases. The great advisor

Let’s go to berlin?

In a letter to all general education schools in Berlin, the Berlin Senate refers to the legal right from schoolchildren with special talents and high cognitive skills to special support. (Thanks for the tip, Annette!)


translation: »My kindergarten teachers behaved rather funny; Instead of recommending that they start school earlier, they called my parents and asked them to ask me to change my language: ›Joel uses words that are too difficult for the other children, so they don’t want to play with him. You have to ask little Joel to use a simpler vocabulary. ‹«

»Mina lekskolefröknar gjorde en ganska funny grej; istället för att rekommendera att jag började i skolan tidigare, ringde de mina föräldrar med målsättningen att få dem be mig att ändra mitt språkbruk. ›Joel använder for svåra ord för de andra barnen, så de vill inte leka med honom. Ni får be lille Joel att använda ett enklare vocabulary. ‹«


»As an adult, I do not expect any funding from outside – although it would certainly be a positive surprise – I would rather like to take advantage of the existing opportunities – such as Fernuni etc. – but I cannot do so because earning money and children do not bring up the time required for this to let. This means that routine activities predominate. «

Middle class politicians

»How do we, who are so smart, want to explain to a middle class politician that we need funding (do we really need it ??). We have to build our own circle of friends, find a hobby outside a football stadium and try to make the best of our job. We have to overcome the shortcomings of others. We also have our faults and quirks (even if we are particularly good at solving intelligence tests). Another tip at the end: In my case there are very few people who know that I do "over 130" am and I’ll leave it at that. We shouldn’t show off our talent and certainly not think that all doors and gates will open by themselves. «


»What is always good for the highly gifted (and others as long as they want it) is variety, i.e. get involved in various topics. For me this ranges from mathematics to many languages ​​to calligraphy, not to mention my commitment to looking after the blind and my new topic of advising a language school and teaching French once a week in primary school. I learned early on not to expect that I could share all of these topics with one person (then there should be a double of mine), but I have very different people for the different topics. Officially, that means enrichment, just doing more. «


“If someone prefers to spend their evenings on the sofa with the math book instead of struggling with others in the disco – why not? Active support on the part of society is not absolutely necessary in this regard, but tolerance is still being worked on. «

»Many highly gifted people create jealous feelings when they can think faster than others and let them feel it. But instead of imagining something that you usually don’t make friends with, my experience is that you should better use your intelligence to help others with a lower IQ. «


translation: »Do not be ashamed of supposedly strange interests. Claim your right to be more interested in ballet than ice hockey if you are. (Conversely, this is rarely a problem, but of course the principle applies in this case as well.) Of course, not everyone around you needs to share your preferences, but those who don’t respect a joy that doesn’t harm anyone may not be worth the effort. "

»Skäms inte över förmodat udda intressen. Hävda ratten att vara mer intresserad av balett än av ishockey, om du råkar vara det. (Tvärtom brukar sällan vara ett problem, men givetvis gäller principen lika mycket i det falls.) Naturligtvis behöver inte alla manskor omkring dig dela dina preferenser, men den som inte kan respektera nöjen som inte skadar någon är kanske inte värd att stranga sig för. "

New Zealand

»My advice would be proud of what your have, of the gift you’ve been given. Too many mensans, and myself once upon a time, hide their abilities. Be proud of what you have. But don’t think it makes you better than everyone. Being smart is good but it’s not the only good thing in this world, nor is it the greatest good. «


»Someone who does a good job in terms of content often becomes a manager for this reason alone "happy". This is regularly associated with the fact that the professional activity takes a back seat. Now, on the one hand, more social skills are required, but also political tactics and possibly a certain elbow mentality. You also quickly become a mixture of slave driver and kindergarten teacher. As a result, the requirements for intellectual skills are generally reduced. For this reason, I personally recommend analytical and conceptual activities rather than a managerial position, especially in day-to-day business. Especially as a gifted person, you should be with everyone "rise" ask whether this also increases the quality of life. «

point of contact

»A central contact point should be set up that deals nationwide with the subject of giftedness for pupils, students and "Underachiever in the adult area" knows, works for them too, so that not everything can be tackled on its own. «

»This advice is certainly not original, but something I use all the time. Honestly look for value in every individual one meets. This enabled me to have friends from every level from the cleaning lady to the college president in my last job, and earned me kiss from the president of the University of Arizona when he handed me my doctoral diploma. «

the content

If you want to know what the highly gifted want, the best thing to do is ask them yourself
The survey

How well the school prepares for life can only be seen in adulthood
The question

Talentedness does not end with graduation
The surveyed

Of black sheep and hot air

»I have experienced my› giftedness ‹as a curse and a blessing«
extreme groups

»I believe that my life is going exactly the way I always wanted it to be«

»Today I feel like I messed up my life«

“My father used to say I had to be patient, later everything will be better. I’m still waiting for it «

»This is not exactly how my CV should be called straightforward«
stages of life

»I learned to read, write and do arithmetic with my big brother«
preschool time

»I only worked in demanding subjects«

"I could do everything"
primary school

"Then I switched off"
Secondary school

»I graduated from high school without much preparation and was disappointed that it was already«

»The selection was relatively difficult – the field was so big!«
career choice

»Nobody would have trained as quickly as I have«

»The talent only pays off with freedom, it was rather a hindrance for the school and the Bundeswehr«
armed forces

»At university I studied like a fool – I was in my element«

»I could live out my laziness and still have a career«

"Why don’t they just let them learn what they want to learn and when they want to learn it?"

»In general I feel like I am from another star when dealing with most others«

»In my family I was considered the›small Silly ‘ "
In the parental home

»The teachers were totally enthusiastic about me, and my classmates hated me to the same extent«
At school

»For most teachers I have long been a hopeless case«

»I tried to belong at school, but somehow it never worked«

»Incompetent bosses are a red cloth for me – and I for them«
At work

»In my private life, I make my decisions very rationally«
Private contacts

»My partner loves me because of my talent«

»Since I approach everything very analytically, I also founded such a family«

»Only a few friends had fun with conversations, mind games, maths, puzzles«

»At the cafeteria I find what I miss so much in everyday life«

»Even as a child I was able to deal with myself quite well«

»Among the gifted, a gifted person is no longer gifted, but only normal«

»I could certainly have become something useful under other conditions«

»From an early age I learned to get through with as little effort as possible«

»I know a lot about things that nobody needs«
self image

"At school I was said to have everything flowing to me"
others see

»What is accepted by men is considered strange by women«

»Hardly a man can bear a woman who knows a lot better«
Girl / woman

»I was never one of the ‘cool’ boys at school«
Young man

"The teachers struggled to find anything like talent at all"

»At some point I got a math book from the next level, but this was not systematically promoted«

»In the meantime I’ve learned a little bit to hide knowledge«
Own strategy

»What a great support can mean for some people is perhaps just the wrong thing for others«

»If everyone has read the text, why not continue working? Why talk about it for half an hour? ”
Instead of an afterword: Here’s how

the survey

If you want to know what the highly gifted want, the best thing to do is ask them yourself

In her dissertation on highly gifted children, Eva-Maria Sassenrath is surprised: "After reviewing the literature on the topic of ‘parents / family and exceptional ability’, I noticed that the children themselves rarely had their say or were asked" (1990, p. 21). Often, even when it comes to the pros and cons of funding offers about The highly gifted discussed instead With to them, although they are certainly capable of providing information and willing to provide information: Anyone who talks to members of the highly gifted canteen about their lives will be told a wide range of different experiences in a clear and differentiated manner. Many cafeteria members are concerned about how their childhood, schooling and education could have gone better, what was helpful or what was missing. In order to document these valuable experiences and considerations, I asked them to write down how their talent affected and still has an impact on their lives and what support they would like to receive.

The response was overwhelming: 304 cafeteria members took part and sent highly interesting texts about their lives by email or letter and your Wishes. The type and scope of the contributions differed greatly. They ranged from a few sentences to a nine-page report, from more general considerations to very personal descriptions. Some members are involved in the promotion of the highly gifted, so that they have already expressed their attitude in a different context. Others emphasized that it was only through the request that they were prompted to think about the topic or usually did not speak about it: »Up to your e-mail, I had actually not made any special considerations to support the highly gifted, so the following give Points rather a snapshot of my thoughts on this again. But is an interesting topic«,»When I read the mail again, I notice that I have never shared these thoughts with anyone! The mail of a completely stranger alone seems to break a barrier that I would not be able to overcome with well-known people, so as not to boastfully use the topic of ‘intelligence’ to present myself as a great pike".


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Christina Cherry
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