News

Mentors sought for a unique program: Become part of a vibrant international community at Global Talent Mentoring!

Global Talent Mentoring is an online mentoring program that fosters excellence in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical sciences (STEMM) worldwide for exceptionally talented youth through evidence-based, long-term, online mentoring. Global Talent Mentoring is the flagship offering of the World Giftedness Center by the UNESCO- recognized Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance in Dubai, UAE. The program has been developed by a research team led by Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger at the University of Regensburg in Germany.

The program combines mentoring with collaborative and interdisciplinary discussion of and work on STEMM topics in projects and challenges, and offers a singular opportunity for networking among like-minded talents and experts. The mentees are truly outstanding, hardworking, young talents in STEMM from around the world—and exceptionally motivated to pursue excellence in a specific STEMM domain. The mentors are scientists in STEMM as well as other practicing STEMM experts working in the private and public sectors. The program is free of charge for the participants and starts in late 2020.

What are the benefits of becoming a mentor volunteer for Global Talent Mentoring?

Mentors become part of an inspiring and intellectually stimulating global network of other STEMM experts and highly motivated, extraordinarily talented students. Many exceptionally talented young people live in countries that cannot provide them with the infrastructure to develop their talents to the fullest. The expert mentors in Global Talent Mentoring make the valuable contribution of equal access to knowledge by supporting these mentees with their excellence and experience in STEMM. Mentors experience firsthand how brilliant young personalities grow and develop their potential and talents in STEMM during the mentoring process.

How can you become a mentor volunteer?

Global Talent Mentoring is currently looking for mentor volunteers! If you are a STEMM expert and would like to mentor, please fill out our Mentor Volunteer Form at www.globaltalentmentoring.org/mentor For more information about Global Talent Mentoring’s background, goals, and operations, please visit www.globaltalentmentoring.org Mentor registrations for the next round of mentoring are currently being accepted through 31 July 2020.

Talent Center in Action: CTY Greece

Transforming problems and challenges into ideas and opportunities: New digital summer courses

CTY Greece at Anatolia College, 555 35 Thessaloniki, 2310398253, cty@anatolia.edu.gr

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
― Albert Einstein

The dismay and confusion stirred by the COVID-19 outbreak across Europe didn’t take long to reach our doorstep here at CTY Greece. In the last months, schools were closed down, social distancing was enforced and the country finally came to a complete lockdown in late March, to help control the spread of the virus.

And as scientists were racing to understand and contain this novel virus, CTY Greece began turning the coronavirus pandemic into an opportunity for change and improvement, adopting a mindset of progress through new ideas and ways of offering educational experiences to its students. It is not the first time that CTY Greece has been fast at adapting to real-world conditions (let us not forget the financial crisis Greece faced in 2015 with major economic consequences for its citizens and stakeholders). But being a talent center, CTY Greece’s people have always been geared toward flexibility, re-design, innovation and an unceasing drive to advance and improve every program and service they offer. After all, these are the kind of principles that are passed onto the talented students who join the CTY Greece community. They are encouraged to express their ideas and are empowered to believe that their contribution can (and will) make a change in the world they live in. So, it was actually quite natural for something new to emerge swiftly given the current worldwide situation. Thus, a new digital program – the CTY Greece Digital Summer Program – has been developed for the gifted and talented youth of Greece and Cyprus.

As educators, we are challenged in teaching face-to-face classes when the health and safety of students and teachers need to be guarded, as is the case in these extraordinary times. However, as pedagogues, we have the duty to serve the needs of our students regardless of impediments. Thus, the new digital program emerged as an addition to our existing online program. The program will be based on a combination of synchronous and asynchronous teaching. And of course, it will incorporate a fun activities program aimed at providing opportunities for students to play, have fun and bond with their peers. Already it is looking like an amazing program that will spark student enthusiasm and provide unique academic experiences to our students. Let us not forget that talented students, like all students, have different learning styles and we have seen from our existing online programs, that some students can really sparkle in an online learning environment – we are referring to those particular students who stress in brick-and-mortar schools and who unleash their talents when they feel they are not fully exposed. We need to provide blended learning experiences to all of our students, combining online, digital and face-to-face opportunities according to their needs and to the situations that they face.

But apart from an unparalleled experience for its students, CTY Greece views the new digital summer program as a superb training opportunity for its instructors to reach a higher level of professionalism. CTY Greece educators have already begun to be trained in the technology needed for their online courses and are becoming equipped with best practices and strategies that go hand in hand with effective online teaching. For CTY Greece the difference between status quo and reaching higher goals, for both students and educators, is based on a pro-active improvement attitude, on innovative thinking and on working hard as a team to turn problems into solutions and opportunities!

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” Stephen Hawking

Link: https://www.cty-greece.gr/en

Talent Centers in Action: EGIFT-European Gifted Education Training

Talent Centers in Action: EGIFT-European Gifted Education Training

Colm O’ Reilly, Director, Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland, Email: colm.oreilly@dcu.ie

A group of ETSN/ECHA members completed an EU funded Erasmus Plus Programme that designed a FREE online course for teachers of gifted students in regular classrooms which is available at www.highability.eu. You just need an email address to sign up for the programme.

The programme was developed in five strands with a partner taking responsibility for each strand.

The first strand was developed by Dublin City University and involved identification of gifted students. The categories in this strand included the relationship between intelligence and giftedness, formal identification, informal identification and identification in special populations. Finally this section covered identification of gifted children in special populations such as gifted students from lower socio-economic disadvantage, gifted students who may underachieve and gifted students who may also have a learning difficulty.

Ciaran Cannon, Minister for the Diaspora and International Development, Claire Nelson and Gillian Jones, Scottish Network for Able Pupils, Professor Daire Keogh President-Elect DCU, Colm O’ Reilly, Director, CTY Ireland

The second strand was developed by the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and involved lived experience of gifted students. The categories included some basic facts about the lived experience of gifted students which exposed some myths about stereotyping and mistaken beliefs. Using the Ziegler model of Educational and Learning Capital this strand looked at various learning resources available to gifted students in formal and informal educational settings. The strand looked at typical personality traits of gifted students and hownon the gifted can contribute to society. Finally the strand looked at the advantages of mentoring and positive uses of social networking to help gifted students.

The third strand was developed by the University of Ljubljana and involved social and emotional well being of gifted students. The categories in this strand included common beliefs about giftedness and gifted students, the psychological adjustment of gifted students into a school context and the promotion of mental health and resilience in gifted students. Within social and emotional well being there were sections on the social and emotional needs of gifted students and protective and risk factors in the mental health of gifted students. There was also a closer look at gifted students reactions to success and failure at school. Finally this strand covered the promotion of mental health in gifted students and paid particular attention to potential environments that caused the greatest risk to gifted students while also detailing the importance of counselling and social andemotional support.

The fourth strand was developed by the University of Glasgow, and covered teaching strategies for gifted students. The categories in this strand included the importance of creating a heterogeneous learning environment for the gifted student and of creating a positive classroom and whole school environment, encouraging teachers to support gifted students through best practice and for teachers to continually analyse and evaluate their lesson plans. Within heterogeneous environments there was closer analysis of the need for different learning, home and school environments for optimal learning conditions for the gifted student. Within analysis of practice teachers were given examples of how to develop their skills and ways to encourage more student voice.

Professor Daire Keogh President-Elect DCU

The fifth strand was developed by Matehetsz, the Association of Hungarian Talent Support Associations, and covered best practice for designing a programme for gifted students. The categories in this strand included the importance for a shared philosophy of giftedness for the stakeholders, a comprehensive needs assessment for each school, design principles of format and curriculum and the need for effective planning and evaluation. Within the shared philosophy of giftedness an effective policy for each school or organisation can be created. All stakeholders including teachers, parents, school leaders and especially the students themselves need to be represented in these consultations.

Talent Point in Action: “Wind at the back”

Ksenija R. Benaković, RITHA specialist in gifted education, vice president NGO “Wind at the back”, Email: kbenakovic@gmail.com

Preventing machine
The machine which prevents from Corona virus and earthquake
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).

A full moon
A site of full moon from my window
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.

Talentweb Newsletter Issue 6

WORDS FROM THE CHAIRMAN

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

 

In this issue:

Talent Point in Focus: Pfiffikus

Talent Point in Action: Rhetorical games

Inclusive Education: Succesfull Conference at Baroda, India

Talent Center in Action: The importance of Educational Policies

Talent Point in Focus: Friedrich-Schiller-Gymnasium

Talent Center in Focus: Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Giftedness and Creativity

Upcoming Event: 17th International ECHA Conference 2020, 9-12 September, Porto, Portugal

Research Echoes: A Piece of PISA

The ETSN Youth Platform and Youth Summit Guidelines

Talent Center in Action: The Newsletter of the Tribal Mensa Nurturing Program Associated Talent Center

Upcoming Event: “High Capacities and Giftedness: Shared Responsibilities”, New DATES: 3-5 December 2020, Braga, Portugal

Invitation for News and Talent Web contributions