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English Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Gifted and talented

G&T pasifika.

All students require special provision in the English classroom. This includes those who are gifted, who may need enrichment, acceleration and differentiation from the main classroom programme. Any of the students in your class could be gifted – the ability to be a high achieving, creative, and complex thinker does not have cultural or economic boundaries. 

Gifted students in the English Classroom

Three Key Characteristics of Gifted Students:

  1. Pace: The learning rate of children above 130 IQ is approximately 8 times faster than for children below 70 IQ (Karen Rogers).
  2. Problem solving: Capacity to find, solve and act on problems more readily. They ask questions rather than answer questions.
  3. Abstract thinkers: They have the capacity to manipulate abstract ideas and make connections.

Gifted and talented students demonstrate a range of generic thinking behaviours: reasoning, accuracy, questioning skills, flexibility and breadth and depth, unity of thought, fairness, clarity, precision, relevance and significance.

The English Curriculum can draw on the range of domains of giftedness:

  • Critical/academic/analytical
  • Creative
  • Emotional/affective

Glenda Pearce,  Recognising the Gifted English Student

There are a range of resources and readings to help us begin to understand and use appropriate pedagogies that will enhance learning for gifted and talented learners when engaging with the English Learning area in The New Zealand Curriculum.

Questions to think about in your school context

  • As a teacher, what do you need to learn and do in order to maximise learning for gifted and talented students in your English class? 
  • What do you see teachers doing differently for gifted and talented students in their English classrooms? 
  • In what ways does your English teaching promote positive outcomes for gifted and talented students? 

Gifted and Talented: Meeting their needs in NZ - self-review
Ongoing self-review (internal evaluation) of a school’s identification of, and provisions for, gifted and talented learners is essential to ensure accountability and improvement. Self-review ensures that teaching and learning is achieving improved outcomes for all learners in these settings.

Key Resource

Recognising the Gifted English Student (Word 45KB)
This article by Glenda Pearce presents an overview of the range of possible characteristics of gifted English students at secondary level (reprinted with the permission of English in Aotearoa).


Empowering gifted writers
Rowan Taigel from Cambridge High School is an English teacher and one of CORE Education's 2014 eFellows. In this EDtalk Rowan describes her work with gifted writers and how she worked to empower them and help them release their voice using blended E-Learning techniques. 


Teaching shakespeare for gifted students: 3 ideas
Shakespeare and gifted students fit together like a glove. Providing them with challenging and creative means to learn will enhance learning, as well as allow gifted students to develop new skills.

GiftedED - Professional learning & support
Explore opportunities for connecting with professionals in gifted and talented education.

Twice/multi exceptional learners

Twice exceptional.

Twice/multi exceptional (or 2E students) are sometimes also referred to as double labelled, or having dual exceptionality. These are gifted students whose performance is impaired, or high potential is masked, by a specific learning disability, physical impairment, disorder or condition. They may experience extreme difficulty in developing their giftedness into talent.

Gifted students with disabilities are at-risk as their educational and social/emotional needs often go undetected. Educators often incorrectly believe twice-exceptional students are not putting in adequate effort within the classroom. They are often described as ‘lazy’ and ‘unmotivated’. Hidden disabilities may prevent students with advanced cognitive abilities from achieving high academic results. 2E students perform inconsistently across the curriculum. The frustrations related to unidentified strengths and disabilities can result in behavioural and social/emotional issues.

The  Twice-multi exceptional learners section on gifted.tki.org will help you to understand the particular strengths and needs of twice/multi exceptional learners.

Updated on: 07 Dec 2020