Creativity as an Aspect of Giftedness
Out of the meaningless practical shapes of all that is living or lifeless
Joined with the artist's eye, new life, new form, new colour.
-- T. S. Eliot
Avid to learn, receptive to the environment, stimulating to his teachers, the bright child constantly tempts parents and educators to try to make him over in their own image. Here is the learner apt for absorption of the cultural heritage, its graces as well as its substance. Here is the student who can and who will "work hard," "apply" himself, "buckle down," and "meet standards." For him the extra subject, the accelerated program, the longer assignment, the polished skill seem appropriate, for he is the child who will and who can respond.
The appropriateness of such procedures, however, has to be measured against the aims of our culture and its schools. Academic achievement in the realm of the customary disciplines is certainly valuable, but there are some who would question this goal as the only value to be sought. Gardner Murphy, in his provocative volume, Human Potentialities ( 1958), raises serious objection. He has little doubt of the ability of gifted youngsters to absorb the heritage. This, he says, is not the need of our times when civilization walks a tightrope between catastrophe and glory. We have a pressing need "to see in perspective where the major areas for fresh creations exist; in particular to discover those areas in which curiosity about the social order, eagerness to understand man's