Inclusive education – successful conference at Baroda, India

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.

Call for Application to be a European Talent Point or to be an Associated European Talent Point

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 2014 General Assembly of ECHA agreed that ECHA will support, regulate and guide the formation of a European Talent Support Network. Aims and details of the European Talent Support Network can be found in the document downloadable from: http://echa.info/images/documents/high-ability/European-Talent-Support-Network-ECHA-General-Assembly.pdfEuropean Talent Centres form the hubs while European Talent Points are the nodes of the European Talent Support Network (ETSN).

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: contactetsn@gmail.com

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, NGOs, etc.);
  • talent-related policy maker organizations on national or international level (ministries, local authorities);
  • business corporations with talent management programmes (talent identification, corporate responsibility programmes, creative climate);
  • 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 organizational types

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 one year;
  • 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 Points.

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 criteria.

Application form_2019

Email addresses where further questions on the application process can be sent:

Call for application to be a European Talent Centre or an Associated European Talent Centre in the European Talent Support Network

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:

  1. Please complete the on-line Application Form by 31 January 2020 and
  2. please you send the same Application Form (can be downloaded HERE) to the following address: contactestn@gmail.com

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.

Please email any queries to contactetsn@gmail.com

Wide range of materials on the Schoolwide Enrichment Model

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

Process.

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:

The articles:

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
fuszekcs@gmail.con or directly Prof. Joseph Renzulli: joseph.renzulli@uconn.edu and they will be happy to send you the articles you are interested in.

Mawhiba signs a letter of intent with UNESCO to foster scientific collaboration in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) as a fundamental engine to sustainable development

King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba) held a
symposium titled “High Impact STEM Programs: Success in measuring the global challenge” in
collaboration with UNESCO. The symposium was held on 28 th October 2019 at UNESCO’s headquarters
in Paris. A large panel of experts and professionals, as well as Mawhiba Alumni students from all
backgrounds, shared their views and experience about the benefits of STEM programs for general and
sustainable development. The expert panel shed light on the need to prioritize STEM education and
promoting critical and lateral thinking and present science in practical and creative means.
On the same day, Mawhiba foundation represented by General Secretary Dr. Saud Almthami and
UNESCO represented by Mr. Xing Qu, Deputy Director General signed a Letter of Intent. This agreement
aims at establishing a strong and long term partnership to foster scientific collaboration between both
parties in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education as a fundamental engine to
sustainable development. Echoing Saudi vision 2030, its goal to harness the potential of Gifted Youth and
to provide them with advanced skills to meet the challenges of the future. Both organizations are
expected to collaborate in enhancing STEM education globally and specially in Africa and Caribbean
islands.
Symposium Recommendations:
 Correct the misperception that a STEM career isn’t rewarding
 Give the child ownership and agency over its learning
o Make it experiential, allowing children to experiment
o Give the students freedom and flexibility – give them the opportunity to try their own
paths
o Give them the support to create their own clubs and competitions
o Make it fun and playful
o Take STEM teaching out of the classroom – organise weekend activities and
tournaments
 The ecosystem
o Use alumni to support and guide
o ‘on the Mawhiba programmes, they didn’t stop us when we failed’ – learning from
failing
o Enable exploration; enable access and let the child decide
o Stop rote learning!
o Not everybody learns the same way – explain and teach in different ways, based on the
child’s way of learning
o Making STEM subjects cool by bringing robotics into the learning experience/curriculum

o Build awareness within different parts of the population to build support within parents
– it’s not all about programmes. Also helps to achieve gender inclusion

Conclusion:
A lot can be achieved by continuous training of teachers – how they teach, identifying talent,
how to nurture talent.
Give the student agency and ownership, whilst supported

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