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Dr Carrie Winstanley [email protected] Key Issues in Gifted and Talented Education. Omagh / Belfast February 2008. Session Outline. Who are we talking about? Key issues and questions Arguments for and against provision Implications for teachers and learners .

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Key issues in gifted and talented education l.jpg

Dr Carrie Winstanley

[email protected]

Key Issues in Gifted and Talented Education

Omagh / Belfast

February

2008


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Session Outline

  • Who are we talking about?

  • Key issues and questions

  • Arguments for and against provision

  • Implications for teachers and learners


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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. Aren’t 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.


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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


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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?


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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?


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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?


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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’?


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Arguments against provision for the able (1)

  • Elitism;

  • Provision for the able will increase the gap between rich and poor;


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Arguments against provision for the able (2)

  • Provision for the able offends against equality.


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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;


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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.


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Equality of Challenge

Meeting children’s needs requires some equality, in terms of the quality of their experience in school.


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Implications for Teaching and Learning

More than the usual

good practice?

What constitutes good practice?


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What is Challenge?

demanding

stimulating difficulty


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Commonlyused term…

…rarely defined

David Shrigley


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Challenge is personal

Challenge depends on:

  • personal characteristics (strengths, fears and interests)

  • field of endeavour of knowledge

  • required skills


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What are the ingredients of challenge [1]?

  • Vygotsky: Zone of Proximal Development / Piaget: cognitive dissonance;

  • Novelty and variety;

  • Independence and self-direction;

  • Risk of failure and chances to succeed;


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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.


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Affective / Social / Emotional

  • Self-understanding

  • Understanding others

  • Coping with being ‘gifted’ or ‘talented’

  • Fostering a spirit of enquiry / love of learning

  • Resilience

  • Exploring safely


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References

  • Brighouse, H (1995) ‘In Defence of Educational Equality’ in the Journal of Philosophy of Education Vol.29 No.3 pp416-420

  • Cooper, D (1980) Illusions of Equality London: Routledge

  • Swift, A (2001) Political Philosophy: A beginner’s 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 Dishwasher’s Child: education and the end of egalitarianism’ in the Journal of Philosophy of Education Vol.28 No.2 pp180-192


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