chapter  8
Social-emotional development of Chinese gifted students: a review based within the actiotope model of giftedness: Mantak Yuen and Ricci W. Fong
Pages 15

In the past, most conceptualizations of giftedness tended to give too little attention to the environment – particularly the social environment – in which gifted individuals develop. Exceptions to this generalization are the more recent models proposed by Gagné ( 2009 ) and Ziegler ( 2004 ). Gagné, in the differentiated model of giftedness and talent , specifi cally recognizes the social role of family, peers, teachers and mentors in promoting and supporting the overall development of gifted students. Similarly, Ziegler includes infl uences within the social environment as one of the four key components in his actiotope model. This seeks to describe the complex interactions between a person”s “action repertoire,” their “subjective action space” and “the environment” (Phillipson and Sun, 2009 ). Ziegler ( 2004 , 2005 ) felt that previous explanations of giftedness placed too much focus on “traits” or innate attributes of the individual and did not acknowledge adequately the actual manifestations (actions) that gifted individuals display in a given context. He argues that excellence is recognized most readily by what an individual does, not by opaque characteristics such as intelligence (Ziegler, 2004 ; Ziegler and Stoeger, 2008 ). Ziegler also recognizes the role of environmental factors, such as peer group infl uences, quality of instruction, and effective feedback in the development of individual excellence (Ziegler and Stoeger, 2004 ). Indeed, Ziegler considers giftedness as a characteristic that must develop over time within an environmental context, and it results from interactions between the individual and the environment (Ziegler, et al ., 2010 ). In similar terms, Phillipson and Sun ( 2009 , p. 27) have suggested that giftedness refers to “… the interaction between complex patterns of actions, the psychological

aspects of self, and the social environment toward the attainment of achievement excellence.”