An Interview with Roya Klingner: Underachieving Gifted

Feb 6, 2018 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

  1. Roya, first of all can you tell us a bit about yourself and your education and experience?

I am a former gifted child, who dreamed her entire life to help and support other gifted children around the world. In 2008 I was finally able to pursue my dream and I founded a center with this goal in Germany. It is called the Global Center for Gifted and Talented Children(

I am a specialist in Gifted Education and a solution oriented therapist as well. I have a huge thirst for knowledge and I am always eager to learn more. To follow my interests, I am a children’s book author, an illustrator and a certified parent adviser by the Ministry of Family in Germany.

  1. Now, tell us about your organization, which I believe is located in Munich, Germany?

Yes! My center is in Munich, Germany. The Global Center for Gifted and Talented Children empowers and serves the gifted community through exemplary leadership in programs, research, and advocacy. Next year, we will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of our center with a conference. Our center is different from others. We care for gifted children and youth from age 3-18. We support their families and teachers. We offer teacher training and organize projects in schools. In addition, I have been invited speaker in many conferences around the world. I live my dream everyday by helping more and more gifted and talented children. When I work in our center, I have a flow and I work more than 20 hours. I really enjoy what I do.

  1. You recently finished a book on “underachieving gifted kids” what led you into this realm?

In the past few years, I decided to publish books about gifted education together with passionate and great gifted educators from different countries. The first book, Make them shine, was about identification and Understanding of Gifted Children under Consideration of Their Social and Emotional Needs, published 2015 by LIT publisher in Germany.

The next book was Creativity in Gifted Children published 2016 by Nova science publishers and last year, in 2017, I published the book Gifted Underachiever. This topic is one of my favorite topics in gifted education and I worked with many gifted Underachievers in the past years. I had the urge to share my experience about this topic with everyone in this way.

  1. Do males and females differ in the reasons why they seem to underachieve?

Not really! There are no specific gender differences but gifted girls show their underachievement in different ways than boys. It all starts with boredom and the feeling to be invisible or being misunderstood. They lose motivation and interest in learning or school and they are not working performance oriented. Gifted children, boys or girls are like rivers, when we put stones on their ways or ignore them, the will flood the dam. We have to care about their emotional needs and let them shine like a star. In addition, they need to learn how to learn and deal with the regular school system curriculum.

  1. How do YOU define “underachievement”? Some kids may not be interested in maths or science or whatever.

In our book, there are several definitions of gifted Underachievers from different perspectives but in my opinion, a gifted underachiever is a child, who lost or at least feels lost in a system that has no individual support or understanding for her or him. An underachiever is not interested in having good grades or showing a kind of protest. Sometimes, they feel lost in an environment that is not suited for a visual learner with a huge range of interests and are seeking for more and more challenges. Some of them have difficulties in math or science and some have problems memorizing without understanding the logic behind it. Some of them love only music and some of them have to deal with bullying in school. There are many reasons for becoming an underachiever. We have to find the causes first, to be able to solve the problems afterward.

  1. What can parents do to help their children?

I think, parents should get information about gifted learners and contact a professional gifted therapist, coach or mentor. They should believe in the abilities and potentials of their children and love them the way they are. With calmness, a mindset and time management they can help their gifted children, step by step, to develop motivation and interest in learning. Sometimes a change in school or environment could help to solve problems too.

I think, parents should encourage their kids to learn as a lifelong learner instead of learning for good grades anyway.

  1. I understand that you have a You Tube link. What do you discuss on that link?

It is a video of my presentation at the first European talent day in Budapest, Hungary. I introduced my center, our work and my dream.

8) What have I neglected to ask?

I think you forgot to ask, what will be my next project?

I am currently working on a new book about leadership in gifted education. Next week, I will attend the third international conference of Talent Management in Tehran, Iran as invited speaker together with Prof. Albert Ziegler (University of Erlangen- Nuremburg in Germany), Prof. Heidrun Stöger (University of Regensburg in Germany) and Prof. Ugur Sak (University of Anadolu in Turkey).

I pray for peace and harmony around the world. It is very important for the development of talents and creativity to live in a peaceful and positive environment. Thank you for your interview and your interest in my work.

Kind regards,


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