I stumbled upon two articles this weekend and my thoughts have pondered over this crucial piece in gifted education. I am going to share my thoughts and reflections from the article. I do highly suggest that both be read as well! The first: September Secret is about a young student who wishes to express his secret (that he’s gifted) to his teacher. His hopes are that by sharing this, that he will be able to learn things he doesn’t already know. This is such a widely over looked aspect in gifted education or just in general education in today’s society. It is often assumed that students don’t truly “know” things until they are taught it. The boy in the letter describes his need for learning things and how he often teaches himself things on his own at home. Not all students are the same, and there for they cannot all be taught the same.
Going from this, not all students can be identified in the same manner. This is what makes having a truly effective talented and gifted program hard for most schools. Especially the rural schools where the students they encounter can be very diverse, and only one individual is available for services. How then does a district identify their highly able students and ensure the services they are receiving are above and beyond what they would receive from the traditional curriculum. Many more questions should then flow from this point. But the big looming one still comes back to how do you know who is gifted and who is not. That is where the second article comes into play (from ERIC Digests) Giftedness and the Gifted: What’s it all about?.
This article in summary discusses the complex ideas of giftedness and the various scholars who have devoted countless hours towards finding an acceptable understand of the idea. The article also discusses the various implications of the definition on children and how giftedness can evolve. The best understanding from the article compares giftedness to the wind–it can’t be physically seen or noticed, however, when the wind is present its impact is very noticeable, intelligence offers a similar impact. While it is very rare for a child to display all aspects of giftedness (according to your beliefs), many children can display many points that would lead to the child being considered exceptional. Thus, it is very important to have a broad understanding of what makes a child exceptional.
These two articles offer great reflective points for any individual involved in the field of gifted education. They are also written from two very different perspectives. Keeping that in mind, what it all needs to come down to is the child having all of his/her needs met in the most appropriate means possible. While this is just as different for every child as the definitions of giftedness are to those who research and publish in the field of education, a balanced approach is just as necessary. Compromise is key, and when individuals such as the gifted coordinator and willing to do their best to make what resources they have available work then success could be a possible outcome.