In a recent opinion piece for The New York Times, David Brooks laments the ways in which gifted boys are put at a disadvantage by most public schools, writing that the system privileges those who are “nurturing, collaborative, disciplined, neat, studious, industrious, and ambitious”—in short, the opposite of many rambunctious boys, some of whom may have undiagnosed attentional and behavioral disorders.
Indeed, the Minnesota Educators of the Gifted and Talented notes that often, boys have less-developed verbal skills, which teachers often equate with giftedness, so boys who are gifted in spatial areas tend to be overlooked until later on in their academic careers. Conversely, boys who are gifted in areas like English and art may feel hesitant to express their gifts due to society’s traditional conceptualizations of masculinity.
Gifted boys may benefit from participating in extracurricular activities like volunteering or running a business in addition to more traditional school clubs and sports. Mentorships can also prove very useful for gifted boys, leading them to pursue paths they may otherwise not have considered. By increasing our awareness of how gifted boys learn, and by extending our efforts to guide gifted boys as they pursue their interests and develop their skills, we can help them reach their fullest potential.