Gifted teens in Romania - overwiew

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Romania’s gifted teens: where from &

where to? - Qualitative research Teaser -

-Research to inspire – 2013 - 2014

Research objectives

Nowadays gifted kids are seen as the “rising suns” of the Millennial generation Articulate, self-confident & uber-smart, they are able to change the world with

their huge enthusiasm & creative power

Still, before being “gifted” or a statistic data of their generation, they are simple individuals, needing to be placed in time (adolescents) and space (Romanians) in order to be properly decoded Basically, while reaching the “hot stuff” about how they live, think & act, or what truly motivates their road towards performance, we must see thirst what makes them tick, we must dive into their colorful brilliant world and look inside-out

For this purpose, we ran a thorough qualitative research, consisting in two phases detailed in the following slide

Research methodology

Sample details What

Phase 1 Get to know them better

• 30 in-depth interviews with gifted kids, boys & girls attending high-end high schools in Bucharest, part of EuroEdu project • Conducted in relevant/ comfortable spots: their room/ favorite spot in the house, a pub/ terrace near school • Kids also got involved in different creative games describing their values, motivation, world


Phase 2 Co-creation groups

Why • The flawless in-depth qualitative methodology allowed us to deep-dive into kids universe, to see what their world is made of, to be part of their reality and see it as they live it • Making them feel “part of the team” not only subjects of a study: feel free to open-up & share ideas, go beyond the surface of things into revealing the ups & downs of being gifted


• 3 focus-group discussions with part • The dynamic of the sessions, kids capacity to of the kids we interviewed in the adapt & high curiosity allows us to see them first phase at work: if & how they work together, what • Meet them in a special designed are their rules, which are their triggers & place (two-way mirror rooms), offer barriers in communication, how they for them logistic support for co-creation teams & express their individuality, how games they decode the passion & performance concepts

Meeting the core of the Romanian culture: TALKers than DOers


Individual ME

Collective WE


Romanians form a collective & passive culture, hoping for an easy and outgoing life (living the American dream) but investing minimum efforts into reach it Relying on external anchors – need for security/ a protective shelter to grow under

Fundamentally, youth contradicts local cultural background

Youth: is ACTIVE Functions on rules of courage It is about exploration & collecting new experiences Assuming individual risks, taking things to extremes in order to define self


overprotective, passive, resigned, driven by fears and insecurities About avoiding risks, assume less and follow those who dare in a quiet yet self-replenishing way

Hot truth

Youth in Romania needs to dare to explore

Being a gifted teen makes you different?

Giftedness = is a natural way of being; it means reaching out own

potential and make it continuously grow - to have your mind always tuned-on, never in stand-by What makes gifted kids different is their constant interest, capacity & devotion towards taking this intrinsic value to the next level. A constant fight over own boundaries: assuming & developing their potential, never failing own expectations

Still, giftedness involves a lot of tensions (both inside and outside in), thus it is perceived as a blessing and a burden in the same time “Once starting being a success, must always be a success�

Regular vs. gifted in a nutshell

Gifted kids

: Walk the talk! : Why bother?

Most kids

Hot truth

Live in the future, “what would I do, if …” • Laid-back & assumed, need encouragement to act • Rely on external anchors - the group power, comfortable collective identity, support & validation

Live in the present – “act now” • Self-committed to build a spectacular future • Individual characters - restless cultivators of their inner potential, creators of experiences rather than collectors, accurate sense of both failure & success

Myth-busters of gifted kids paradigms



Gifted kids should be…

But in reality….

…un-cool geeks, major concerns are school related …socially unavailable, no life after school, no friends …snobbish elitists …mama’s boys, burden by their own success …living for the fame Mythbusting the Olympics

School is not enough. Simply a doorway towards information & easy access to social life (people, events, training) Charismatic characters, dedicated social skills creators Kaleidoscopic integrationists, various groups, multiple activities (learn many things from diverse people) Independent characters, own-success administrators. Investing in their passions even if not receiving external validation Twitters not preachers, not show-off or braggarts. Trying to encourage others not to influence them

Olympics equal an artificial external measure of their talent evolution In fact, Olympics are a good reason to meet interesting people, to share & collect experiences = HUGE COMMUNICATION PLATFORM

Decoding passion and performance

Turning passion is to be!

into performance means to do

is a mix of something you are and something you will become

Something you hold within and gradually make it grow

External measure of something you “have to become�

Cultural codes declination within investigated targets passion vs. performance


Negative (-)

Turning SELF



Passion is highly emotional Relies on cultivated talent – emerges, grows, sparkles, burns-out

Performance is built on tensions, it always has a stake in it – be better, do the best, be the first

Hot truth Performance without passion has no charm, is sterile & meaningless Passion is the constructive “hot spot” of creative energy, but it sometimes needs performance in order to be validated & valued

What motivates them towards performance

Emotional triggers

Functional triggers

Passion regimentation

Needing to see a clear/ measurable output

“Mercenary” performance

Short term – collecting diplomas Long term – owning ones future

Inspirational performance

Having a role model in the domain they are genuinely fond of

Own Gallery performance

Performing for the sake of performance

Philanthropic performance

No need for material outputs, just doing it for a cause

Demonstrative performance

Needing to make a point to self/ parents/ colleagues or teachers

By-default performance

Seeking for continuity, attachment to subjects

Duty performance

Ambition & determination, to be the best in everything

Is there only one type of gifted kid?

Actually, there are more sub-types of translated giftedness based on lifestyle, values, motivations & triggers towards performance *

Research decoded 5 subtypes of gifted kids, defined by the relation they have with the idea of performance = 5 subtypes of performers

The activist

The demanding

The achiever

*Full details are available in Final Report Presentation

The cool-bohemian

The reflexive


IS… • A challenger • Always connected • Civic thinker • Resourceful • Team player HAS… • Strong moral values

*Full details are available in Final Report Presentation


IS… • Disciplined • Organized • Dependent • Task oriented HAS… • Strict life principles

*Full details are available in Final Report Presentation


IS… • Determined • Autonomous • Confident HAS… • Tangible outcomes • Inside drivers for performance

*Full details are available in Final Report Presentation


IS… • Profound • Inquiring • Questing for self knowledge • In search of meaning HAS… • Increased sensibility

*Full details are available in Final Report Presentation


IS… • A restless character • Highly sociable • Colorful & vibrant • Eager to explore & innovate • Self-critic HAS… • Strong artistic side

*Full details are available in Final Report Presentation

Need to know them better? Full profile - Interests, lifestyle, relation to school, competition profile, sharing potential, passion & performance decoding within each segment, ways to address them – is available in Final Report format

Please contact: Dragos Belduganu Oana Cândescu

Now you know!