Talent Centers in Action: EGIFT-European Gifted Education Training
Colm O’ Reilly, Director, Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.