Saturday, November 17, 2012

Beginning Research on Giftedness

This post is the product of our #gtie Twitter chat on Giftedness (every Sunday 9pm). Thanks to Catherine Riordan who put this together.

  • Models/theories of Giftedness
  • Psychology of Giftedness
  • Meeting the Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted
  • Teaching Strategies
  • International and Policy Research
The list is not exhaustive but certainly plenty to get you started on the ins and outs of giftedness. If there is a particularly good book you've read, please add it to comments section at the end saying what you liked about it.

Models/Theories of Giftedness

1. Francois Gagné  proposed the Differentiated model of Giftedness and Talent  Here is a nice visual of the model.
2. Joseph Renzulli describes the Three Ring Model of Giftedness
4. Howard Gardner is well known in teaching circles for his Theory of Multiple Intelligences which he describes in this video.
In Multiple Intelligences, the Mozart Effect, and Emotional Intelligence: A Critical Review, psychologist, Lynn Waterhouse argues that there is little evidence for Gardner's theory.
Gardener's response and Waterhouse's further reply!
5. George Betts, Professor of Special Education at the University of Northern Colerado  is the co-author of The Autonomous Learner Model for Gifted and Talented  also described here.
With Maureen Neihardt, he also co-wrote Profiles of the Gifted and Talented  in 1988, describing 6 types of gifted individuals. These profiles are referred to in the NCCA Exceptionally Able Students: Draft guidelines for Teachers , but were revised in 2010.
6. Albert Ziegler is Professor of Psychology and Head of Educational Psychology in the Institute of Educational Sciences at the University of  Ulm, Germany. He describes the Actiopic Model of Giftedness.

The Psychology of Giftedness

1. Kazimierz Dabrowski was a Polish psychiatrist and psychologist. He is famous for his description of the Overexcitabilities or OE's which are explained well in
Theory of Positive Disintegration, a novel theory of personality development.
2. Lev Vyotsky was a Belarusian psychologist whose work has become the foundation of much research and theory in cognitive development. His theory is compared to that of Piaget here.  He developed a concept known as the Zone of Proximal Development which is outlined with specific reference to gifted learners here.
3. Linda Silverman is a psychologist who established the Gifted Development Centre (GDC) in Colorado. Based on many years of experience, she has written extensively on identification, assessment, twice exceptionality and social and emotional needs. The Gifted Development Center’s website contains a huge amount of information  as does the Visual Spatial Resource.
What Have We Learned About Gifted Children 1979-2007  is a summary of the findings of the GDC.
A summary of some of Dr Silverman’s best known presentations can be found here.
4. Professor Joan Freeman  is a well-known British psychologist and founder of the European Council for High Ability (ECHA) who has written extensively about gifted children and will be familiar to many from Channel 4’s series Child Genius.
Her latest book is Gifted Lives: What Happens When Gifted Children Grow Up is based on 35 year longitudinal research of gifted individuals in the UK.
5. John G. Geake was Professor of Learning and Teaching in the School of Education, The University of New England, Australia. He co-founded the Oxford Cognitive Neuroscience Education Forum and conducted research at the Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, Oxford, UK.
In Neuromythologies in Education, he looks at some  popular educational programmes through the eye of neuroscience. This is further discussed in Brain-Science in the Classroom. Thanks to Karen for those.
The Brain at School: Educational Neuroscience in the Classroom is a book worth reading for those with an interest in this area.
6. Dr Deborah L. Ruf  is a specialist in intelligence assessment and guidance for both gifted children and adults. A list of her writing can be found Educational Options.
 7.  Robert Sternberg is Provost and Professor of Psychology at Oklahoma State University, USA and President-Elect of the Federation of Associations of Behavioural and Brain Sciences (FABBS). He is a former Director of the Center for the Psychology of Abilities Competences and Expertise (PACE) at Yale.
8.  Wilma Vialle is Executive Officer of the International Research Association for Talent Development and Excellence (IRATDE) and Associate Professor in Educational Psychology and Associate Dean (Graduate) in the Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, Australia. Her interests are predominantly in the nature of intelligence and creativity, with a particular focus on giftedness. She is currently President of the Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented (AAEGT), editing its Australasian Journal of Gifted Education and on the editorial board of High Ability Studies and Gifted and Talented International.
In Gifted, Talented or Educationally Disadvantaged?, Vaille argues that there are distinct educational disadvantages for gifted students in classrooms where teachers do not appropriately differentiate instruction to match the needs of those students".
9. Barbara Kerr  has written some interesting material on gender and giftedness, such as

Meeting the Social and Emotional Needs of the Gifted

1.James T. Webb is a psychologist and advocate for the mental health of gifted children. As a reflection of his passion to disperse information about the social and emotional needs of the gifted, he is a founder of Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) and of Great Potential Press.
He has written 2 must-reads:
In this video, Dr Webb discusses Asperger's Disorder, and Other Common Misdiagnoses and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children For any teacher or parent of gifted children, it is an hour of invaluable information. Slides for this presentation are here. Here's  snippet of the video.

2. Tracy L Cross  is the Executive Director of the Centre for Gifted Education  College of William and Mary, Virginia. He is someone dear to our hearts in Ireland, where he is a member of the Board of the Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland (CTYI) and has given several memorable presentations at DCU.
 3. Jim Delisle is a retired teacher who has written some of the books which we refer to as "bibles", such as Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy and Successful Children . He has a wealth of experience in teaching gifted students and an extremely engaging writing style.
4. Stephanie Tolan  is an American author who has written many articles on various aspects of giftedness,  Perhaps the most famous of these is the must-read Is it A Cheetah? 
5. Miraca Gross is Emeritus Professor of Gifted Education in University of New South Wales' School of Education as well as Director of the Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre (GERRIC).
Two of Prof Gross’s best known papers are:
6. Lesley Sword is the Director of Gifted and Creative Services, Australia.  She has written many articles on all aspects of nurturing gifted individuals of all ages, many of which are available to read here.
7. Joyce Van Tassel Baska  is Professor Emerita of the Center for Gifted Education at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA where she was formerly Executive Director. She is an international visiting lecturer at the Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre (GERRIC) in New South Wales Australia.

Teaching Strategies

1. Differentiation:
Susan Winebrenner  is the author of the best known handbook book on differentiation for GT students: Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom.  She also co-authored The Schoolwide Cluster Grouping Handbook  
2. Acceleration:
Nicholas Colangelo  is director and co-founder of the The Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development (Belin Blank) at the University of Iowa.
Susan Assouline is Associate Director of the Belin Blank Center
They are co-authors of the Iowa Acceleration Scale , a tool commonly used to determine if grade acceleration would be appropriate for a particular student.
They also co-wrote with Miraca Gross, A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students,  a report published in 2004, advocating acceleration.
Further information and discussion of this report can be found here and here 
3. Books
Several publishers produce texts focused on teaching strategies generally and on subject-specific teaching.

G&T Education Policy:

Deborah Eyre is the Education Director for  Nord Anglia Education. She is a senior visiting research fellow at Oxford University and internationally renowned for her work in gifted education. She has written extensively about provision for G&T students in schools:

International and Policy Research

Tim Dracup  is in a class of his own! He is educator from the United Kingdom who specializes in the design and development of gifted education programs. If you want to know what is happening internationally, Tim’s blog, Gifted Phoenix, is a mine of impeccably researched information and policy analysis.
Sam Boswell Storify of #gtie Chat on Research

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Win a Course on Gifted and Talented Children valued €330.00

ICEPE have given us a free place on their Gifted and Talented course to give away to one lucky winner. The full value of this prize is €330.00.

To see full details of course, pop on over to the Gifted and Talented Course page. There is a certificate at the end of the successful completion of the course.

ICEP Europe (Institute of Child Education and Psychology Europe) is the trusted leading provider of high quality online Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and University validated Diploma programmes in special educational needs for teachers, parents and allied professionals who work with children and young people.

To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is simply register your details here.

Your name will be entered into a draw.

The winners name will be announced at 10.00pm GMT on Sunday 11th November immediately after #gtie Twitter chat on gifted education from Ireland.

If you have already registered with TEACH Ireland, you DON'T need to register again - your name will be automatically entered.

The prize is a free place on ICEPE's Gifted and Talented Course and may not be redeemed for cash, kind or goods.

The course is non-transferable. If you win but do not want the course, it will be offered again.

This draw is open only to practising teachers in Ireland.

Winners of previous course prizes through TEACH Ireland, Gifted and Talented Network Ireland, Gifted and Talented Ireland and Irish Gifted Education Blog are ineligible. 

Judges decision is final and correspondence will not be entered into.

Closing entries by 8.00pm on Sunday 11th November 2012

Winners have one week from announcement to reply to email notice or the prize will be recycled.

By entering this competition you agree to these rules.
If you do not wish to receive communication from TEACH Ireland, please highlight this on the registration page.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Short Introduction to Gifted Children for Primary Teachers

In response to the mention of “gifted children”, it thas been a mantra for many years to say “all children have a gift”. What this means is that we believe every child can master at least one thing; that there is something they are good at. This is a different idea to giftedness. If you like, you can think of giftedness as the extent to which a child has a gift. Every child can learn to read. Not all children are reading independently before they begin Junior Infants.

“All children are gifted”

Identifying the Gifted Child
Intelligence Tests (IQ) tests used to be taken as gospel proof of giftedness. However, a greater awareness of the many ways gifted children may present has made the job of identifying gifted children a little harder but at the same time rescued many children for a lifetime of underachievement.

Some children are ‘Twice Exceptional’. This means that they are gifted academically but may have a specific learning disorder.  A gifted child who is also dyslexic may have trouble performing on an intelligence test and hence their giftedness may be missed by testing. Indeed, it would not be unusual for a gifted but dyslexic child to come across as ‘average’ in the classroom and to be reported on as ‘must work harder’ eventhough they may already be working very hard to compensate for dyslexia.
Research in the USA has shown how there are similar characteristics between children with Asperger’s Syndrome and those who are gifted. In Ireland, where few psychologists are trained in recognising giftedness, there may be a tendency to misdiagnose a child with challenging behaviour in the classroom.  A child who is gifted and unidentified and who becomes bored in class could display challenging behaviours. And while there are children with severe cases of ADHD, how many gifted children have been misdiagnosed with ADHD and medicated for it.

Tracy Cross of the College of William and Mary in Virginia has highlighted 5 common characteristics of gifted children. Because gifted children represent a heterogeneous group, not all characteristics will be present to the same extent, but an observant teacher would begin to see these. They are

·      Overexcitabilities 
·      Perfectionism
·      Excessive Self-Criticism
·      Multipotentiality 

I am not in favour of telling a child they are gifted however, I recognise that for some children knowing this can help them come to terms with their ‘differentness’ . You can find more links to characteristics of gifted children here.

Responding to the Gifted Child
Gifted children have particular social and emotional needs however, as a teacher, your more immediate concern maybe how to facilitate a gifted child's learning in the classroom. I have heard for several years that teachers had a ‘fear’ of gifted children and often said they wouldn’t know what to do with one. I never believed this until I heard one primary school teacher actually say these words to me last year. There is no need for such a fear.  It is important to remember is that good teaching is good teaching regardless of a child’s ability.

It is difficult to manage additional tasks with increasing class sizes and other demands. Gifted children will finish work well ahead of most other students in their class, particularly so at primary level.  There is a temptation to give more worksheets for finishing early. Don’t. Gifted children simply learn that it is better to go slowly to avoid such ‘rewards’. Instead, try giving more detailed work. Enriching the work a student is doing, allowing them to explore a topic in more detail or in a different way can address their intrinsic motivation an love of a subject. This does take a little extra effort but over a period of time, you can build up a bank of resources that you can draw on as needed.

It is important to ensure that gifted children have covered the basics of the curriculum. For example, gifted children often ‘see’ the answer to math questions without necessarily knowing how they found the answer beyond “it was obvious”. Any opportunity to teach thinking skills would be rewarding. Mathematics lends itself well to differentiation. Differentiation tends to translate as ‘more work for teacher’. But small bits of differentiation over a period of time can lead to a much happier and engaged classroom. And fewer discipline issues. 

Every primary school classroom should have a ‘learning centre’. Gifted children will usually finish work early. If it suits, you can arrange that a child can go to a learning centre and choose work that they would like to do. A learning centre could be stocked with a variety of books, paper and art materials and, if possible, a computer.  Clearly you would need to lay down rules to how and when children can go to the centre (on satisfactory completion of work, for example). Giving gifted children the freedom to explore and engage in independent learning is a powerful motivator.

There is a growing awareness in Ireland of the needs of gifted children.  Primary teachers are the most important drivers of this becasue they first encounter gifted children in school.  It is the recognition a gifted child recieves in primary school that will make all the difference, not only to their schooling, but also to their life. A good place to follow up on giftedness is here. This is a fantastic website with links, resources and research.

You can join other educators at TEACH Ireland as it develops. 
You can find Gifted Advocacy Groups and parent support groups at Gifted and Talented Network Ireland and information for parents on Irish Gifted Education Blog.  

ICEPE are offering a 10% discount on their Gifted and Talented Children course for registrants during Gifted Education Awareness Week. The course is DOES-approved and counts for EPV days.

Information leaflet sent to schools click here

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Gifted Education Awareness Week 2012

2011 was a very successful year in terms of raising awareness about issues affecting the inclusion of gifted children in schools in Ireland.  Thanks to Brian Clavin of KPMG we were able to fund the distribution of a poster and information leaflet to every school in the country as part of Ireland’s first National Gifted Education Awareness Day. The combination of this event with the first EU Talent Day represented a new departure in bringing the needs of gifted children to the attention of teachers.
Several articles were published in the Irish Independent, the Sunday Business Post and importantly in the ASTIR, the ASTI  publication that reaches 17,000 teachers (page 28). An advertisement for the Awareness day in INTOUCH, the magazine of INTO reached every primary school teacher on the island – north and south.
Our chat on gifted issues in Ireland (and elsewhere) on Twitter on Sunday evenings at 9pm has drawn a steady interest. #gtie is now a recognisable hash-tag among many significant advocates.  Teach Ireland and Gifted and Talented Network Ireland are growing and 2012 should see further, positive developments on those fronts. The Network also has a presence on Facebook for people who want to connect, join discussions and share resources.
Last year also saw, for the first time, a reference to gifted students in a Programme for Government. Coupled with support from the Minister and the Department this really was the icing on the cake.
” I very much welcome the initiative to establish the first EU Talent Day on 9 April, together with the National Gifted Education Awareness Day in Ireland on 8 April. We must nurture and support talent and giftedness, if we are to meet the challenges which face today’s society. This is a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate talent in many disciplines, and to promote an inclusive education system which meets all our students’ needs.”
Ruairí Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills (courtesy of the Sunday Independent).
This year we decided to be a little more ambitious and promote Gifted Education Awareness Week.  We have invited and will invite several fellow bloggers to contribute with a post on their site. We have a new leaflet in the pipeline to distribute to schools. And hopefully the media presence will come through. The main site for the week is Gifted and Talented Network Ireland is a network of advocates and Gifted Advocacy Support (GAS) groups in Ireland.
Awareness is not something that will suddenly take hold over night. However, I know that teachers are very interested in the idea of gifted children and how to meet their needs. And every step we take is one step closer to greater inclusion in schools.
Gifted Education Awareness Week (GEAW2012) begins on Monday February 27th and culminates in the annual CTYI Conference in DCU on Saturday 3rd March.  The theme of the conference is ‘Gifted Children inside the classroom and out’. This is the theme we have adopted for the Awareness Week. It is fitting that the first event of the week will be a special #edchatie Twitter Chat at 8.30pm on Monday evening. Big thanks to Fred Boss of the NCTE who hosts #edchatie every Monday. #edchatie attracts a large number of teachers from all around Ireland and it is great to have the opportunity to chat directly with them.  The title of the chat is ‘Gifted children inside the classroom and out’.
ICEPE are offering 10% discount on their Gifted an Talented Children course for people registering during the week.
The logo (below) is the official Gifted Education Awareness Week logo. We think it’s pretty and speaks for itself.
Gifted Education Awareness Week Logo

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happy New Year!

2011 so far has been a fantastic year for gifted education matters in Ireland. We know that good teaching is good teaching no matter the ability of the child.  However, most teachers receive no formal training during their training course in gifted education. Without an awareness of gifted children, they can go unidentified in the classroom.

This year Gifted and Talented Ireland with Irish Gifted Education Blog organised Ireland's first National Gifted Education Awareness Day together with the first ever European Union Talent Day. For this event, a poster and information leaflet was distributed to every school in Ireland.  This was funded very kindly by Brian Clavin of KPMG.

The event was underscored by a fantastic message of support from the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn, who said

"I very much welcome the initiative to establish the first EU Talent Day on 9 April, together with the National Gifted Education Awareness Day in Ireland on 8 April. We must nurture and support talent and giftedness, if we are to meet the challenges which face today's society. This is a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate talent in many disciplines, and to promote an inclusive education system which meets all our students' needs."Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education, (Sunday Independent, April 2011). 

There is a growing realization and awareness in Ireland that being 'gifted' does not mean better than another, nor does it mean other children do not have their own talents. "Gifted' is simply a short hand term to describe a collection characteristics unique to the children who have them.

An article in the Sunday Business Post by Catherine O'Mahony underscored the extent to which gifted children are normal like every other child but that their unique abilities can see them sidelined and consequently miss out on opportunities - especially the opportunity to develop their ability to achieve their full potential.

There are more great developments in the pipeline and one of them is to develop TEACH Ireland into a resource and support association for teachers of exceptionally able children.  If you have already registered on the site TEACH Ireland will be in touch with you soon so you can be part of the exciting new developments for Gifted children in Ireland.