Discover Giftedness Across Cultures

“…where there is no vision for the power of the human mind, cultures, Peoples vanish.”

Each and every culture the world over has processes or methods in place to identify and meet highly valued unusual abilities, gifts and talents.  It is critical that in the interest of global education, our district move beyond the, “…’scientific testing’ of non-Western people as well as the testing of minorities in Western societies.”  In our district, we look to the local Dine’ (Navajo) and Hopi cultures first and foremost for giftedness.   In Dine’, the one encompassing term used is, “hoya”, denoting maturity, responsibility, a state of being advanced for one’s age in all human traits and qualities, in mind, body, and spirit.  Our search also coincides with the following theoretical perspectives:

I have a fairly simple definition (of a person who is extraordinary). A person’s extraordinary to the extent that he or she really Changes the way work goes on in a certain domain. So if you’re an extraordinary scientist–say, a physicist–physics is different after Einstein. If you’re an extraordinary composer, say, like Stravinsky or The Beatles, music is different after you. So it’s leaving an impact on your culture, maybe on other cultures as well. That’s what makes a person extraordinary.Howard Gardner

Giftedness these days in the research community is being understood more as an inner experience or process than external products like symphonies and films and dance companies and things of that order. And the research community is far more interested now in studying the nature of that inner process, and expanding the scope of it to go beyond just high intelligence, which we know is a component of giftedness, to include other qualities like sensitivity, perfectionism; a quality called entelechy, which is associated with being a visionary, having a personal vision, and being able to actualize that vision from within – rather than needing other people externally to realize it.Mary Rocamora