Skip to main content
Degrees of Superior Intelligence and Special Education
Oct 1, 1998

Just as we encounter people with low intelligence or almost no intelligence at all, in a similar way it is possible to find people with above average or very high intelligence. And as schools are established for those with impaired intelligence, schools with special training in the sciences and other subjects can be established for people with superior intelligence. However, these schools or special classes should not be limited to the high school level, but should be organized on the primary school level as much as possible. Worldwide the age found acceptable for educating highly intelligent children is around 5 years. The reliability of testing decreases as the age of the child falls below this level. However, for extremely intelligent children even 3 years can be considered late. Although the selection of students in Turkey through the Anatolia High School testing system may appear to be adequate, the use of achievement tests to measure the success of applicants for acceptance to these schools becomes an obstacle to the selection of students with other natural talents. At the same time, the fact that the teachers who educate these students have not been given any special training creates a great weakness in the system. Also, at the high school level these special schools give education only in the sciences which leads to a large gap in the areas of the social sciences, arts, administration and economics.

Definition of Superior Intelligence

Superior intelligence results from the rapid operation on a high level of such brain functions as the senses, feelings, thought, intuition and inspiration. These functions appear in the form of the ability to think quickly and correctly, creativity, academic aptitude, leadership and talent in the visual and applied arts.

According to research findings, a large percentage (of the order of 85%) of superior intelligence is passed on from one generation to another through heredity. At the same time, environmental factors like education are extremely important for effective usage of superior intelligence and turning it into ‘genius’.

Characteristics of Superior Intelligence

We can divide these characteristics into four main groups: (a) reasoning power; (b) emotional attributes; (c) intuition; (d) social skills.

a)Reasoning Power

Possessing a lot of knowledge and not forgetting it.

High level of comprehension. (Comprehending the whole from its part.)

An unusual level of interest and curiosity in different subjects and asking a lot of questions.

Superior usage of language, large vocabulary and high language aptitude.

Fast thinking, rapid advancement and reaching conclusions quickly.

Flexible and different thought.

Broad synthesizing ability.

The ability to see strange, unusual and different relationships.

Ability to produce original ideas and solutions.

Early and rapid development in making generalizations, feeling results, abstract thinking and creating alternatives.

Stubborn, decisive, goal-oriented and sometimes even adventurous behavior.

Working in a disciplined manner, independent and usually rebellious behavior.

Easily bored, searching for things to do, and not staying idle.

Choosing complex and mixed things and enjoying debate.

Expecting interest, liking to be honored and talking a lot.

b) Emotional Attributes

Very sensitive to others. Sensing others’ thoughts.

Strange sense of humor. (This can sometimes offend or make others uncomfortable.)

Feeling different and trying to make others aware of.

Obvious idealism at an early age.

Deep feelings, emotional Perfectionism.(Consequently not liking themselves or others.)

Showing extraordinary success in some subjects.

Great interest in the unknown and mysterious subjects.

High concentration ability, seriousness.

Paying little attention to others’ rules.

Bringing up everywhere issues he deems vital.

c) Senses and Intuitive Powers

Extreme sensibility (regarding colors, sounds, smells, etc.)

An abnormal rate of physical and intellectual advancement.

Refusing to take part in physical activities where they are not successful, and avoiding competitive physical activities.

Displaying a lot of talent in one of the fine arts. (Even with no training.)

Beginning to think about metaphysical events before others of their age group, philosophical attitudes, strange thoughts, etc.

Poetical expression, beautiful and literary statements.

Productive in subjects requiring initiative and struggle.

Inner depth and loneliness resulting from it.

Giving importance to theoretical and esthetic values.

High level of love, eagerness, desire and sincere effort.

Frequently being absorbed in thought, strong imagination.

d) Social attributes

Realizing their wishes and early personality development.

Recommending good and sound solutions to social problems.

Leadership, setting up groups, making teams and directing.

Diagnosing and understanding social problems correctly.

Showing interest in high values like social justice, beauty and truth.

Possessing virtues.

High-level sense of justice.

Self-trust and decisiveness.

Preferring older friends.

All of the characteristics listed above may not be found in each individual student with superior intelligence. It is the accepted view that these students will display a superior performance in one or more of these fields. Those with superior characteristics who are supported with a good environment and strong education can emerge as ‘geniuses’ in society years later.

Characteristics of Teachers

Personal Character

They have strong egos. They are honorable, proud and strong willed; they give value and trust to the selves. They give as much value and importance to others as they do to themselves, and they respect, support and trust others.

They have above average intelligence.

They are flexible and open to new ideas.

They are interested in intellectual, literary and cultural subjects.

They strive for more knowledge and renewal; they are obsessed with success.

They are full of love, eagerness, effort and willingness.

They have strong intuition and are sensitive and understanding.

They seek perfection and are committed to it.

They act consciously and take on responsibility.

Professional Tendencies

They guide rather than using pressure and force.

They prefer to be democratic rather than authoritarian.

They concentrate on the process more than the results.

They favour novelty and experiment rather than rules and tradition.

They act quickly to achieve specific results and can solve problems.

Rather than answering questions, they use the method of securing answers from others.

Teaching Behaviour

They develop and implement programs of their own that are flexible and emphasize the desires of the individual.

They develop a warm, welcoming and tolerant atmosphere.

They implement strategies differing from one individual to another.

They respect people’s images and support positive behavior; they respect their beliefs and values.

They keep the lesson’s intellectual level high.

They respect individualist behavior and personalities.

While being in full control of the subject matter they are handling, they don’t neglect to renew themselves and broaden their horizons.

They believe in, trust in, and co-operate with their students.

Even if would-be teachers of students with superior intelligence do not possess all the characteristics mentioned, with time and training they can acquire them. The development of a sufficient number of them will take time and commitment. Generally a certain period of professional experience, the impression made during this experience and its results can be accepted as criteria in qualifying teachers for exceptionally gifted students. Other steps to be taken in the training of teachers for this field are seminars in university educational psychology departments in order to pass on the latest developments and to make it easier for teachers to get to know their students and so guide them effectively. Also special certificate programs or masters and doctoral programs can be set up. In the USA minimum qualifications for teachers in these schools are a doctoral degree and two years of professional training.