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Key Issues in Gifted and Talented Education Omagh / Belfast February 2008 Dr Carrie Winstanley

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Presentation on theme: "Key Issues in Gifted and Talented Education Omagh / Belfast February 2008 Dr Carrie Winstanley"— Presentation transcript:

1 Key Issues in Gifted and Talented Education Omagh / Belfast February 2008 Dr Carrie Winstanley

2 Session Outline Who are we talking about? Key issues and questions Arguments for and against provision Implications for teachers and learners

3 Key Questions Questions raised by school managers and teachers: 1. Is it ethical to focus on more able pupils, or will this create an elite group? 2. Arent schools doing a good enough job already? 3. Able pupils will do well whatever the circumstances so schools should put their resources into learners with difficulties.

4 Who are we talking about? Children and young people with one or more abilities developed to a level significantly ahead of their year group (or with the potential to develop those abilities). DfES:2005; DCSF:2008

5 Key Questions 1- Psychological The nature of high ability: Does high ability exist at all? Can it be measured? What is dyssynchronous development? The behaviour of the able: Are they happy / unhappy? Are there specific behaviour patterns to discern? What is the cause of disaffection among the able and what might be the outcome?

6 Key Questions 2 - Policy Should society invest in able children since they are the experts and high achievers of the future? Is high ability merely a product of privilege? Should we fund any and all enrichment activities?

7 Key Questions 3 - Pedagogical Does high ability equate with high achievement? Which teaching methods and schooling structures are most appropriate for more able children? Is this just good practice? How should we group children of different abilities? How can we train and develop teachers to best meet the needs of the able?

8 Missing Questions - Philosophy What do we mean by intelligence, potential, achievement? What are we aiming for with education policy? What do we mean by social justice or equality?

9 Arguments against provision for the able (1) Elitism; Provision for the able will increase the gap between rich and poor;

10 Arguments against provision for the able (2) Provision for the able offends against equality.

11 Arguments for provision for the able (1) Academic excellence is both extrinsically and intrinsically valuable; Economic and social benefits accrue from ensuring the gifted achieve highly;

12 Arguments for provision for the able (2) Special provision for the able is valuable because it leads to a rise in general standards for all; All pupils are entitled to an education based on their needs.

13 Equality of Challenge Meeting childrens needs requires some equality, in terms of the quality of their experience in school.

14 Implications for Teaching and Learning More than the usual good practice? What constitutes good practice?

15 What is Challenge? demanding stimulating difficulty

16 Commonly used term… …rarely defined David Shrigley

17 Challenge is personal Challenge depends on: personal characteristics (strengths, fears and interests) field of endeavour of knowledge required skills

18 What are the ingredients of challenge [1]? 1.Vygotsky: Zone of Proximal Development / Piaget: cognitive dissonance; 2.Novelty and variety; 3.Independence and self-direction; 4.Risk of failure and chances to succeed;

19 What are the ingredients of challenge [2]? 5. Building on existing motivation / igniting passions; 6. Metacognition, reflection and review; 7. Like-minded peers … and age peers.

20 Affective / Social / Emotional Self-understanding Understanding others Coping with being gifted or talented Fostering a spirit of enquiry / love of learning Resilience Exploring safely

21 References Brighouse, H (1995) In Defence of Educational Equality in the Journal of Philosophy of Education Vol.29 No.3 pp Cooper, D (1980) Illusions of Equality London: Routledge Swift, A (2001) Political Philosophy: A beginners guide for students and politicians Cambridge: Polity Winstanley, C (2004) Too Clever by Half: a fair deal for gifted children Staffs: Trentham Books White, J.P. (1994) The Dishwashers Child: education and the end of egalitarianism in the Journal of Philosophy of Education Vol.28 No.2 pp


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