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2017 WCGTC Biennial World Conference

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3.3.8 To “reach your potential” – should that really be the question? Re-thinking ideas around underachievement.

Policy documents at both a national level in Aotearoa New Zealand and at the school level frequently include aims around the idea of ‘reaching potential’ when referring to achievement for gifted learners. Notions of potential were the focus of a recent doctoral study which explored the experiences of school for 11 gifted and talented adolescents in New Zealand. Findings from the study showed that the participants saw ‘potential’ as a nebulous, inexact concept. This presentation will argue that it is not theoretically sound to structure definitions of underachievement for gifted learners around the idea of ‘not reaching your potential.'


Louise Tapper
giftEDnz The Professional Association for Gifted Education
New Zealand

Louise has been a long time educator in the field of gifted education. She has worked as a teacher educator and a parent educator. She has taught in various courses in gifted education, and around the experiences of parenting gifted children. She is the current Chair of giftEDnz, The Professional Association for Gifted Education. Louise completed her doctorate looking at the experiences of school for gifted and talented adolescents in Aotearoa New Zealand. She works as an independent researcher and as a contracted researcher for The Collaborative for Research and Training in Youth Health and Development, in youth related projects.


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