RESOURCES FOR PARENTS OF GIFTED AND TALENTED CHILDREN
GIFTED AND TALENTED
Giftedness refers to a high intelligence or
aptitude, while talented refers to a high level of performance in areas such as
music, art, craft, dance or sport. Giftedness is inherited but a gifted child
needs support to identify and develop their special abilities.
Both these definitions seem woolly but
somewhere, someone is apparently able to identify these children relatively
easily – and hopefully accurately – because the National Register of Gifted and
Talented Children has been launched and there is already a National Academy for
Gifted and Talented Youth.
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Link the characteristics to how they impact on
There have always been children with an
insatiable demand for knowledge, who always work far harder and for far longer
than anyone else and who seem to know a great deal more than most about all kinds
of subjects. It has never been easy to provide these gifted and talented
children with fully differentiated tasks that recognise their abilities, but
there has been a growing awareness in more recent times that their needs are
not being met sufficiently in many mainstream schools.
Large classes, insufficient support and even
less funding are part of the problem. Focusing on the key issues of raising
standards of achievement, establishing high expectations and promoting
effective teaching and learning has to be the way forward if the needs of all
children are to be catered for successfully.
Do gifted and talented pupils
need gifted and talented teachers? Some
experts agree that G&T students do need exceptional teachers, ones who
don't feel threatened by them, who are open to being challenged beyond the
usual and open to many things. Indeed a multi-subject specialist of some sort
would fit the bill. G&T students too often coast and we must push and
stretch them. It's also why an online global community would be something many
of them would enjoy.
Gifted and talented children who are starting
in primary school Reception classes need to be identified quickly and easily so
that their teaching and learning can be effectively monitored and their needs
met from as early an age as possible
What can we do to support them?
Gifted and talented children usually have a
great thirst for knowledge and, like all children; it is very easy to destroy
their self-confidence. Their experiences with their teachers and their peers in
the classroom are critical. I am taking it for granted that each teacher in
your school can plan effectively and is able to differentiate so that any
children who are gifted and talented are able to learn and develop their
skills. I suppose I am also assuming that you have a policy, a coordinator and
a named governor – haven’t we all? Or at least we will be introducing all these
important factors as soon as possible.
Often their willingness to continue to learn is
based on some simple teaching issues such as:
that are fun
that is varied and involves participation
involvement in group work and other collaborative approaches
that are seen as useful and are connected to the ‘real’ world.
However, we also need to widen the learning
environment of all children and especially those who have extra gifts and
talents by providing them with a wealth of extra-curricular activities
. Skilful teaching will help them to learn and
it will also minimise their frustrations and maintain their confidence and
self-esteem. For example, some children might need to be taught with older
children or perhaps remain with their peers but follow a very different and
There also needs be close links and effective
liaison between what happens in the classroom and what happens at clubs and
other gifted and talented activities and programmes. All the human differences
we see in our schools and classrooms are normal and the rich contribution that
diversity makes to how our schools and classrooms work needs to be welcomed.
If we are to have inclusive schools we need to
develop an approach to teaching and learning that will support children who are
gifted and talented so that we are able to say that we are truly achieving
excellence for all learners.
Technology opens up spaces for really smart
learners to explore: Technologies that include peer-education, learning through
discourse, learning (and forming a world-view) synthesised from multiple
discourses, rather than a single, authoritative narrative about any given
subject, open up spaces for really smart learners to explore.
"Gifted and talented
learners are those with exceptional abilities relative to most other people.
These individuals have certain learning characteristics that give them the
potential to achieve outstanding performance