Intellectual Overexcitability


Have you ever experienced that joyous and exhuberant enthusiasm that a student displays when explaining something to you that they are passionate about? Have a look at the example from 'October Sky' below.




This is related to the idea of Intellectual Overexcitability - or the love of learning displayed by many gifted students. This is a separate diea from ability - it is not what they can do, but rather what they are passionate about doing. Look at the film clip from 'Little Man Tate' below. What elements of Intellectual excitability do you notice in Fred's behaviour?




In the clip, the character Fred is absorbed in learning about a subject which interests him. He is reading and forming new concepts about what it means to be gifted, and about other gifted individuals, despite the distraction from his mother. He is demonstrating introspection and independence of thought - key indicators of intellectual overexcitability.

Intellectual overexcitability can also relate to previous sessions we have looked at concerning the idea of 'flow'. Students exhibiting this trait can become absorbed completely in a task or subject of their choice, sometimes at the expense of other tasks. Think about the child in your class who is excited about science and shows great depth of conceptual understanding and complex thinking, but is almost impossible to motivate in other subjects that he or she is less interested in.

Intellectual overexcitability can also be expressed as depth of thinking, as in the clip below from 'Malcolm in the Middle'. Dewey demonstrates reflective thought, seeking truth and understanding regarding life and religion and coming to his own conclusions.



How can we deal with this passion for learning in the classroom in both its positive and negative reflections? How can we utilise this drive to learn while still engaging the student in the areas of the curriculum which they may not be so passionate about? Discuss your ideas with your group.

Please take some time to look through the Session Three Post-Reading and post any of your thoughts or contributions to the wiki.


STAFF DISCUSSION / CONTRIBUTIONS