GT wellbeing through accelerated academic pacing



Françoys Gagné, PhD

Professor of psychology (retired), Université du Québec à Montréal.
Montreal, Quebec




Kia ora from Montreal.

As the creator of the Differentiating Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT), a talent development theory you might have heard of or read about, I was kindly invited to write a few words about WELLBEING, the theme of this year’s Gifted [and Talented?] Awareness Week. Basically, wellbeing is a sought after goal, or an achieved state, that applies to every one of us in a variety of objective and subjective ways. But, [there’s always a ‘but’!] is there a form of wellbeing that might be more specific to gifted and/or talented youth?


By the way, why do I say ‘and/or’? Recall my differentiated meanings for these two terms: GIFTEDNESS (G) means outstanding (top 10%) aptitudes (intellectual, creative, social, physical, etc.), and TALENT (T) means outstanding (top 10%) achievements (academic, occupational, athletic, recreative, etc.). And, believe it or not, they do not overlap that much (see Gagné, 2019).



My choice for a GT-related state of wellbeing would be “accelerated pacing.”


Many students find the classroom instructional pace too fast: they struggle almost every day to master the concepts and skills of the regular curriculum; many others find that pace just about right, with occasional challenges and occasional easy sections. A few K-12 students (yes, it can begin in K!) rarely encounter any learning challenges, achieving highly (aka showing academic talent) without effort.

As a good Australian friend once said to me,


“they surf on their gifted aptitudes.”


Some of these academic ‘surfers’ are quite happy with their easy going school days; learning does not motivate them much, their interests are elsewhere. But other ‘surfers’ find that pace, so much slower than their normal learning pace, very annoying. They experience regular boredom, restlessness, demotivation; they feel like commuters stuck in rush hour traffic. Sometimes, they can even start underachieving; they become, within the DMGT framework, UN-talented gifted students. Almost all these bright slowed down and unsatisfied learners belong to the GT population (G and/or T students); you won’t find them much among students with below top 10% aptitudes and/or achievements.


So, I believe that one of the most useful contributions to the educational wellbeing of these motivated GT K-12 students is an accelerated pace of learning, not just within their actual grade level, but also across grade levels.


The research evidence is clear: accelerative practices (e.g., grade skipping, combining two grade levels in one year, early entrance to college, etc.) are among the best contributors to these students’ wellbeing.


Gagné, F. (2019) Implementing the DMGT’s constructs of giftedness and talent: What, Why, and How. In S. R. Smith (Ed.), International Handbook of Giftedness and Talent Development in the Asia-Pacific, Singapore: Springer International Handbooks of Education.


About Françoys Gagné, PhD

Professor of psychology (retired), Université du Québec à Montréal.

Professor Francoys Gagne gained international renown through his theory of talent development: the Differentiating Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT). Professor Gagné has received many professional prizes, including the prestigious Distinguished Scholar Award (1996) from the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC – USA). Officially retired from the Department of Psychology at l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) since 2001, Dr. Gagné maintains regular publishing projects and numerous international keynoting activities. He has presented at conferences and to teacher groups in New Zealand.






Posted as part of the 2020 New Zealand Gifted Awareness Blog Tour, run by the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education.

The views and opinions expressed in the Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of NZCGE, their staff, and/or any/all contributors to Gifted Awareness Week.

GT wellbeing through accelerated academic pacing

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