Ksenija R. Benaković, RITHA specialist in gifted education, vice president NGO “Wind at the back”, Email: email@example.com
We are NGO „Wind at the back“. We became European Talent Point in 2016. We are organizing workshops for gifted children from the age of 4 to 14. This year in our program, called Iskrice, there are almost 200 gifted children involved. They used to attend workshops once a week. Our aim is to give support to the whole personality of the gifted child, working on its cognitive and social-emotional development, creativity, tenacity and resilience. Of course, when the “Corona era” had started in Croatia and our schools and kindergartens closed, we also stopped our live workshops. But, our staff studied how to continue with our work. So, we offered to our little clients online workshops. Mostly we used Zoom application, then Edmodo and Discord. It was great news that almost 90% of the participants of our program accepted online workshops. We still meet once a week online. For the smaller children we offer scientific experiments for kids, working sheets with verbal, spacial and mathematic riddles, association games and creative activities. Children were inventing machines that could save us from Corona virus and earthquake (in Zagreb there was recently an earthquake, too).
With older children we do quizzes (sometimes over Kahoot platform or Zoom), logical and lateral puzzles, debates (about actual situation or some other interesting topics). We are developing critical thinking (learning about difference between myths, legends, facts and personal opinions) and creative problem solving. We even organized escape room online. Two of our groups worked together with gifted children in Israel and organized two meetings over Zoom application. We were all involved in the international project “The view of the fool moon from my window”. Of course, we are also offering psychological support for the children, talking about their fears, worries and problems. Now we are exploring how to offer webinars for parents and teachers. Before Corona, we started live seminars for 30 participants in Zagreb and Pula, so we would like to continue with it. This unfortunate situation made us learn many new things, act creatively and put our minds together to overcome it. The knowledge that we are gathering now will help us in future to offer our services to gifted children, their parents and teachers from some smaller, inaccessible places of Croatia.
Jean Paul Sartre once said, “There may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours.” In these weeks during which the corona virus may cost millions of lives, we are painfully aware of how quickly Sartre’s words can ring true.
In the Corona era, the phrase that dominates our daily lives is social distancing. At first glance it seems to be directed against everything our ETSN stands for. After all, our aim is to bring people together and encourage them to cooperate. We stand for levelling distances between people and connecting them. And just as we follow the precept of social distancing and move away from each other, we become aware of what we are losing. To that end, we have become painfully aware that the virus infects not just individuals, but whole societies in the ways we have to live with and around it. The term social distancing conceals the fact that only a joint effort – the joint consensual action of each and every person – is required to piece back together our social networks. In other words, individuals alone cannot defeat the virus; but the spirit of cooperation, the communal effort, the proverbial village certainly can.
Let us therefore regard this sad occasion as an opportunity to learn, so that together we can create hope for shaping the future. I have heard of Talent Points and Talent Centers that can no longer perform their normal activities. Talents cannot attend courses; counseling centers have closed; mentors cannot meet their mentees; some institutions are even temporarily closed. But at the same time, I also observe a resurgence. Several Talent Points and Talent Centers have succeeded in adapting at least some activities to the situation by offering digital learning formats to reach educators, teachers and talents. Mentors are continuing to provide guidance and support by switching to e-mentoring where possible.
Such positive examples inspired calls-to-action from the ETSN Council. As Jean Paul Sartre said “there may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours” and we have to deal with this situation now. Our first request: If you have managed to foster good practice strategies with your Talent Point or Talent Center that you would like to share with the network, we encourage you to submit a report, no-matter how long or short, for our newsletter. Our second request: we encourage you to familiarize yourselves with our ETSN Map: https://etsn.eu/map-of-etsn/. Browse through the list of European Talent Centers, Associated European Talent Centers, European Talent Points and Associated European Talent Points. Maybe you will find a partner for cooperation. What a wonderful occasion that, in these dark times, active cooperation could open the door to something new.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Albert Ziegler, Chairman of the ETSN
Internationally renowned Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (https://msubaroda.ac.in/) is one of the oldest educational centres of Western India; its Faculty of Education and Psychology and its Department of Education-CASE (https://msubaroda.ac.in/Academics/Department), organised an international conference for the second time in January 2020.The first conference, in 2019, focused on quality teacher training (Towards Developing Professional and Humane Teachers for Quality Education). The topic of that in January 2020 was inclusive education (Inclusive Education: Present Perspectives, Future Prospects).
Csilla Fuszek at the main entrance of the conference
The 218 participants of the scientific conference came mainly from various states of India, but thanks mainly to contacts established earlier by the organisers, it was attended also by international professionals. Two persons active in different segments of education came from the United States, and one from Australia, Italy, Hungary and Bangladesh each to give an insight into the concept of inclusion from different perspectives.
The conference including 143 presentations mainly on research projects was free of charge for the participants, thanks mainly to the support granted to CASE by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India (https://mhrd.gov.in/): in 2017, the Department acquired so-called Inter-University Centre for Teachers Education (IUCTE) status from the Ministry, implying also financial support for organising events of this kind. If the support continues, a third conference will also be organised in the year 2021.
Flower ornaments at the entrance to the plenary hall
The meaning of inclusion in education correlates to a large extent with the traditions, social structure and nature of inequalities in each country. This has made the content of the conference particularly interesting also for non-Indian participants.
The conference was deemed a success by one of the chief organisers, Ms Prof. Sujata Srivastava. What lay behind this success? Partly the richness of the topics represented at the conference. One of the priority subject matters was the inclusion of students from the LGBTQ community, considered a taboo for a long time in Indian society. Note that it was only in 2018 that the Indian Supreme Court de-criminalised homosexuality – this makes the innovative power required for putting this topic on the agenda even more obvious. It is also
important to know that today the transsexual community includes nearly 4.5 million; it is no accident that the researches included the specification of methodologies to create transgender-friendly schools. Significant emphasis was given to equal access to education for boys and girls, the special educational needs of children needing special treatment, i.e. those suffering from the consequences of polio, and also to talent support.
Talent support is a brand new topic in India: the relevant initiatives and researches are very few considering the size of the country. It was a special pleasure to see that talent support researches covered in several cases the examination of the inclusion of multiply exceptional
pupils (e.g. talented children suffering from some kind of disorder or handicap).
The other secret of the success of the conference was that the 5-strong organising committee expanded into an operative group of 50 Department faculties, researchers and M.Ed. students acted as one and did everything to make the conference a success and to ensure the smooth flow of the events, from section meetings to cultural programmes. Mr Prof. R. C Patel, Dean of the Faculty, and Ms Prof. Sujata Srivastava were present everywhere to coordinate these 50 persons.
Traditionally, all Indian conferences start by a so-called Candle/Lamp-lighting Ceremony : the candles symbolise the spread of the light of knowledge, and the ceremony is repeated at the closing event of the conference.
This conference,addressing also topics discussed less openly and frequently at scientific conferences previously, lit many gorgeous lamps throughout India.
I had had a memorable experience in Dubai, long before the Hamdan Foundation joined the ETSN as a Talent Center. It was after a long project day that the then director of the National Giftedness Center, Arif Yedaiwi, took me for a walk along the beach near the Burj al Arab, the famous hotel shaped like a sail. Suddenly, we were approached by two uniformed police officers who asked Arif to put on beach clothes for the occasion, and informed him that he could not wear traditional clothes – the Kandura – on the beach. Arif was shocked that he was forbidden to wear a Kandura like all his forefathers had before him, here on the beach. The rest of the story I know only from his accounts, and I will share it with you here, as I remember it.
In Dubai, the locals have the right to bring complaints to the king, His Highness Sheik Muhammed, personally, which Arif did do. The king promised to take care of it.
Two weeks later Arif was back with His Highness, and was informed that the order came from the Minister of Tourism. At the time and in the aftermath of September 11, tourists were still afraid of terrorists; and they had complained. Apart from this new information, however, the king did not offer any solution.
Arif left, but returned the following Sunday with some friends. He was no longer alone. Together, they told the king that they considered the Minister of Tourism’s decision very unfortunate. The friends asked the king to reconsider the Ministry of Tourism’s decision.
Weeks later, and still nothing had happened. Arif and his friends came back to the Sheik. But this time there were other friends with them, including members of powerful families. Now it was no longer so easy for the king to wait-and-see. His Highness promised a meeting with the Minister of Tourism.
Before the meeting with the Minister of Tourism had even taken place, Arif had the support of many friends. Most of our readers will not be surprised to find out that, nowadays, if you walk along the beach by the Burj al Arab, you will likely see locals in their traditional Kandura. What can we learn from this? Sure, Arif is a powerful person in Dubai, but he alone was not influential enough to change anything. Rather, when he created a network for his cause, even the king could not help but support him.
So, my appeal goes out to everyone: Let’s try to expand our network, too. To become even stronger and more influential. Each further Talent Point and each further Talent Center brings us one big step closer to our goals.
European Talent Centres (and Associated Talent Centres) invite
talent support organisations to submit their application to become a European
Talent Point (or an Associated European Talent Point in case of a
non-European talent support organization).
The notion of hubs (Talent Centres) and nodes (Talent
Points) of the forming European Talent Support Network does not mean a
hierarchical structure. European Talent Centres should be considered as
coordinating centres. European Talent Points are encouraged to develop contacts
with any other European Talent Points or Centres. Associated European Talent
Points are equal members of the Network – situated outside of Europe. Talent
Points will be registered by a Talent Centre or by the Network Council.
Applications for European (or Associated European) Talent
Point registration should be sent in two ways: by filling in the Online Application
Form on the ETSN website and by downloading, filling in and sending it to the
given contact e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is an ongoing application. The
application form will be forwarded automatically to the competent European
Talent Centre. The Talent Point application should be evaluated by the
competent Talent Centre in 4 weeks from the date of receiving the application.
In the registration process the competent European
Talent Centre will check the data submitted by the European Talent Point.
Registered European or Associated European Talent Points may participate in the
cooperation of the European Talent Support Network, and will be listed in
the Map of ETSN on the ETSN website.
The first 14 European Talent Centres started the work
of the European Talent Support Network on the 29th September
2015. Presently there are 25 Centres, of which 21 are European and 4 are
Associated European Talent Centres. You can see the list of the Centres and the
increasing number of registered European Talent Points on the maps on the ECHA
and on the ETSN website HERE. You can read about the short
story of the ETSN here.
European /Associated European Talent Point
organizations; they can be:
Organisations/institutions focusing mainly on talent
support: research, identification, development of highly able young (and/or
older) people (e. g: schools, university departments, talent centres,
excellence centres, art- or sport-organizations focusing to talent development,
talent-related policy maker organizations on national
or international level (ministries, local authorities);
business corporations with talent management
programmes (talent identification, corporate responsibility programmes,
organizations of young (and/or older) people
participating in talent support programmes;
organizations of parents of highly able children;
or an umbrella organization (network) of the
A European /An Associated European Talent Point:
has a strategy/action plan connected to talent (e.g.
identification, various forms of support including complex programmes,
enrichment, competitions, etc., research, education, training, curriculum
development, carrier planning, etc.) and a practice of this plan for minimum
is willing to share information on its talent support
practices and other talent-related matters with other European Talent Points
and European Talent Centres (by e.g. sharing programmes, the strategy/action
plan, needs of target groups, data supporting its minimum one year of practice,
best practices/research results on the web, organizing/attending joint
conferences, organizing/attending joint Talent Days, );
is willing to cooperate with other European Talent
Points including participation in joint programmes, promote related programmes
of other European Talent Points, being open to be visited by representatives,
experts, and/or talented young (and/or older) people of other European Talent
This Call of Applications can be published in the
mother tongue of the Centres on the Centres’ website, but applications can be
submitted only in English via the ETSN website AND in email.
European or Associated European Talent Points will be
re-evaluated in each third year as to whether they still fulfil the selection
Email addresses where further questions on the
application process can be sent:
Turkey: (applications from, countries of the Caucasian
region, as well as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan
and Uzbekistan will be forwarded to the Turkish Centre): email@example.com
The Qualification Committee invites European or in case of Associated Centres non-European talent support organisations to submit their application to become a European or Associated European Talent Centre.
A European / Associated European Talent Centre should be an organisation, or a distinct
part of a larger organisation, established for this role.
European Talent Centres might organise activities in the field of high ability in a region or a country (meaning that there might be more than one European Talent Centre per
European country, and
applications may cover more than one country).
You can read about the European Talent Support Network in its official Articles HERE.
You have to apply in 2 different ways:
Please complete the on-line Application Form by 31 January 2020 and
please you send the same Application Form (can be downloaded HERE) to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Scoring Sheet that accompanies the Application Form can be downloaded from HERE.
The Qualification Committee will evaluate your
application by aggregating the scores as a whole. Applications will not be
judged against each criteria separately. Successful proven past activity and
potential future engagements in the field would be of key importance in this process.
Existing European Talent Centres will be
re-evaluated every other year by the Qualification Committee of ETSN to ensure
that they still fulfil the criteria. If the criteria are no longer fulfilled,
the title of European Talent Centre may be suspended or withdrawn by the Network.
We are happy to announce that Prof. Joe Renzulli and his colleagues at the University of Connecticut have granted our network access to the results of their work of over four decades in the field of Talent Development and Pedagogy of Gifted Education. The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) is “both an enrichment program used with academically gifted and talented students and as a magnet theme/enrichment approach for all students. The theme of the SEM is to develop the strengths and talents of all students”. According to Joe Renzulli “schools should be the places for talent development”. This theoretically established program enriches the regular curricular work of schools, focusing on Creative and Productive Giftedness, but giving opportunities to all students through their Comprehensive Strength Assessment
As they developed their Enrichment Triad Model they created a comprehensive system for the education of talented students that covers a wide range of aspects and issues of the pedagogy of gifted education and in the meantime they also developed and made accessible an Easy Access Toolkit for educators.
There are seven videos to watch and seven articles to read on the topics mentioned in the videos. All the materials you can find on the SEM page are free to download and use. There are seven videos to watch available here:
There are several articles you can read on the topics mentioned in the videos. Lets see a short summary on them:
General Background: Renzulli, J.S. (2012): Reexamining the Role of Gifted Education and Talent Development for the 21 st Century: A Four-part Theoretical Approach (Gifted Child Quarterly, 56(3) 150-159.) The article sets the goals of gifted education as a pursuit “to maximize young people’s opportunities for self-fulfilment and increase society’s reservoir of creative problem solvers and producers of knowledge” and gives a general background to his findings exploring the sub-theories of the Three-Ring Conception of Giftedness, the Enrichment Triad Model, Operation Houndstooth, and Executive Functions.
Comprehensive Strength Assessment: Renzulli, J.S. (2016): The Three-Ring Conception of Giftedness: A Developmental Model for Promoting Creative Productivity. In S. M. Reis (Ed.). Reflections On Gifted Education (pp. 173-192). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press In the article the author draws our attention to two types of giftedness that need differentiated provisions: the high-achieving students and creative productive giftedness, and states that both these types have given mankind “people who have changed the world in both large and small ways”. It provides a description of the major theoretical issues underlying various conceptions of giftedness as well as a new dimension of the overall theory, followed by an identification plan for students to get access to special programs.
The Enrichment Triad Model: Chapter 8: The Enrichment Triad Model: A Guide for Developing Defensible Programs For The Gifted And Talented by Joseph S. Renzulli This chapter is an updated version of his original work on the Enrichment Triad Model, serving as an overview rather than a practical guide. The goals of the Triad model are to:
(1) expose students to various topics and areas of interest,
(2) teach them how to integrate advanced skills, content and problem solving methodology, and
(3) to provide students the opportunities to apply them. It is based on the ways of natural learning, and it is designed to promote the interaction among the enrichment types. It is the pedagogical core for the organizational structure of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model.
Curriculum Compacting: Reis, S. M. & Renzulli, J. S. (2005) Curriculum Compacting: A Systematic Procedure for Modifying the Curriculum for Above Average Ability Students. The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, The University of Connecticut. The article offers an easy-to-implement instructional technique for modifying the curriculum for above average ability students, giving the chance to teachers to differentiate in their mixed-ability classroom work in any curricular area and at any grade level. The procedure consists of defining the goals, documenting on the different outcomes of different students, and providing replacement strategies for a more challenging and productive use of a student’s time.
Enrichment Clusters: Reis, S. M. & Renzulli, J. S. (2005) Enrichment Clusters: A Practical Approach For Developing Investigative Learning Skills. The University of Connecticut. Enrichment clusters are one component of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) that is designed to create a time and a place within the school schedule when the application of knowledge and investigative learning strategies are the major focus of students’ work. It provides an example in which students investigate a real-life problem and work together on a specified topic which gives them opportunity to apply the knowledge they have gained thus enriching the curricular work through the school year.
An infusion-based approach Renzulli J. S. & Waicunas, N. (2016) An Infusion-Based Approach to Enriching the Standards-Driven Curriculum. In S. M. Reis (Ed.). Reflections On Gifted Education (pp. 173-192). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press The article provides an example of how enrichment works in practice in the form of highly engaging activities related to particular topics within a school project month. The article enlists Type I, II, and III enrichment activities demonstrating how the structure of enrichment clusters can be built up within the context of the required curriculum in a primary school. The goals of the teachers were to minimize boredom and to improve achievement and creative productivity by infusing the Three E-s (Enjoyment, Engagement and Enthusiasm for Learning) into the school context.
A technology based program Renzulli, J. S. & Reis, S. M. (2007). A Technology Based Program That Matches Enrichment Resources With Student Strengths. In International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, Vol. 2, No 3. The article introduces a comprehensive program called The Renzulli Learning System to promote advanced level learning, creative productivity and high levels of student engagement focusing the application of knowledge rather than the mere acquisition and information storage. It uses the Enrichment Triad Model and the Strength Based Learning Theory. This program uses the internet to help teachers and students find engaging enrichment activities matching the students’ strengths, interests and learning styles, and it also has a project management system to track and evaluate the achievement of the students.
If you are interested in more details, or want us to send the original article please contact email@example.com or directly Prof. Joseph Renzulli: firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be happy to send you the articles you are interested in.