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Meaning of Giftedness and Talented Special Education

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Giftedness and Talented

     Meaning of Giftedness and Talented

10.1 Introduction

This is the last but very important chapter in the chapters dealing with individuals with special needs. This is because most of us don’t regard talented and gifted children as having special needs. However, by going through this lecturer you will discover why we put them in this category.

OBJECTIVES OF THE  LECTURE

At the end of the lecture students should be able to:

1. Define and describe gifted and talented children.

2.  Explain the causes of giftedness and talented in children.

3.  Describe identification processes of gifted and talented children.

4.  Discuss instructional strategies maximize learning for gifted and talented   children.

 10.2 Meaning of Giftedness and Talented

Hallahan and Kauffman, (1994) described gifted and talented children as  those children who give evidence of high performance capability in such areas as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity or specific academic field which require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to develop such capabilities fully.

According to Hallahan & Kauffman (1994), the group of these children are variously described because they show a discrepancy into areas where their giftedness and talents are manifested. The word talent has been used to indicate a special ability, aptitude or accomplishment

while giftedness refers to cognitive superiority, creativity, and motivation in combination and sufficient magnitude to set the child apart from the vast majority of age mates and make it possible for her/him to contribute something of particular value to a society.

However, gifted and talented children can go through life unrecognized because their families and communities place no particular value on their special abilities or not given the necessary opportunities or training.

Gifted and talented children therefore, are those children who give evidence of high performance capability in such areas as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity or specific academic field which require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to develop such capabilities fully.

10.3 Causes of Talented and Giftedness

Giftedness and talents can be contributed by genetic and biological factors that are not genetic. In this sense thus nutritional and neurological factors may determine how intellectually competent a child becomes.

The   environmental factors such as the families, schools, peer group and communities contribute to giftedness as studies show that the environment where the child was born and grow has a prominent influence on the development of the giftedness. Extraordinary talents may be inherited but nurtured by environment.

10.4 Identification and Assessment of Gifted and Talented Students

Before providing special education for gifted and talented students, we have to find them because most of the children pass through the school unidentified. It is expected that the school teacher may notice them but they do not always recognized them.

The identification of gifted and talented students requires an understanding of the requirement of the programme for which they are chosen. Identifying children who are gifted and talented in a school system should include both subjective and objective methods of evaluation.

Achievement tests are usually used to detect children who achieve well academically although some students who are emotional disturbed, with family problems, peer group pressure, poor study habits and other factors may affect child’s ability  academically.

Other children may perform achieve at a higher level because of family pressures, good study habits or intensive motivation. Moreover, the Scholastic Aptitude Test and other aptitude tests are used to screen students who are extraordinarily capable in mathematic.

Most special education programme for gifted students use a combination of aptitude tests, teacher ratings, nominations, portfolios, and scholastic records in identifying eligible students.

Additionally, scholars such as Renzuli and Reis (1991) suggest six steps that can be used in identification of gifted and talented children including nomination on the basis of test scores and teacher nominations whereby in this step teachers nominate any additional students who show particularly high levels of creativity, task commitment, interests, talent, performance or potential.

  1. Allow for alternative pathways to identification i.e. nomination by parents, peers or self, test of creativity, product evaluation etc
  2. A list of all nominated students is circulated to all teachers in the school and to past teacher who may know the student’s abilities that have gone unrecognized in steps one through three.
  3. Notification and orientation of parents whereby parents and students are not told that gifted students are identified but the nature of the programme is described.
  4. Provision of another safety valve by seeking nomination from teachers throughout the year.

Although no identification system is perfect, the method should be on the balancing concern for identifying only those students whose capabilities are markedly above average.

10.6 Service Provision for Gifted and Talented Children

Gifted and talented children need services like other special needs children though there are significant differences. The services include;

10.6.1 Flexible pacing

This is to allow students to move through material at their own pace. This strategy accelerates student to a level in a school programme that is higher than the level of his or her age mates.

10.6.2 Grouping

This is done by performance or aptitude to reduce the range of ability that the teacher faces in teaching subject matter. Having students with high performance ability in one group allows teacher to proceed much more easily and in great depth than otherwise might be possible. 

10.6.3 Student Acceleration

This is a process whereby students are passed through the educational system as quickly as possible. There are six ways in which students can be accelerated. These include:

10.6.4 Early School Admission

The intellectually and socially mature child is allowed to enter school at the younger age than normal.

10.6.5 Skipping Grades

 The child can be accelerated by eliminating a term or grade in school. However, this can lead a temporary adjustment problem for the student.

10.6.6 Telescoping Grades

In this strategy, the child is allowed to cover the programme in shorter time. For example a three year programme is taught over two years.

10.6.7 Advanced Placement

Student is allowed to take courses for college while still in high school therefore shortening college programme.

10.6.8 Dual Enrollment in High School and College

The student is enrolled in college while finishing high school.

10.6.9   Early College Admission

 Student may enter college at 14, 15, 16 years of age.

Note: The mentioned above strategies depend very much on educational policy of the country.

SUMMARY

The chapter defined the word talent as special ability a child has while giftedness indicates cognitive superiority,creativity and motivation in combination to set the child apart from the vast majority of age mate for him/her to contribute something of particular value to a society.

Talented and gifted children therefore are defined as those children  who give evidence of high performance in such areas as intellectual, creativity, artistic, leadership capacity or specific academic field which require services or activities that are not provided by the school to develop such capabilities.

Giftedness and talents was explained to be contributed by genetic and biological factors .The characteristics which are shown by gifted and talented children are categorized in different groups such as physical, academic, social and emotional characteristics. Further the identification of talented and gifted children should include both subjective and objective methods of evaluation.

The identification of gifted and talented children includes combination of aptitude tests, teacher ratings, nominations, portfolios, and scholastic records. Various ways have been suggested for schools to help gifted and talented children develop their potentials. These are flexible pacing, grouping, student acceleration, early school admission, skipping grades: telescoping grades:  advanced placement, dual enrollment in high school and college and early college admission.

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