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Exploring teachers' perceptions of perfectionism and giftedness Ng, Man Kit Joe


Perfectionism is one of the issues which may be a great influence on the development of gifted students. Apart from conceptualizing perfectionism as neurotic, perfectionism can also be identified as normal. The measures of perfectionism also reveal that perfectionism can be perceived from multidimensional perspectives: intrapersonal, interpersonal and adaptive and maladaptive. This study is the first to study teachers’ perceptions of perfectionism and giftedness. Six teachers with experience with gifted elementary students participated in this study. A semi-structured interview was used to elucidate participants’ perceptions of perfectionism and giftedness. Content analysis was carried out and six themes emerged, including their definitions of giftedness and perfectionism, the relationship of the two constructs and development of best practice to cater to the needs and challenges of gifted students with perfectionistic traits. These findings showed that 1) teachers had different ideologies regarding understanding the relationship between giftedness and perfectionism than those in extant research; and 2) teachers’ understanding of the issue of giftedness and perfectionism made them more willing to provide support and facilitate positive change for gifted students with perfectionistic traits.

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