What do you think about gifted and talented programs?
My big concern with gifted and talented programs is the underlying belief that some young people possess gifts and others don’t, and that resources and opportunities are allocated based on narrow measures of giftedness SO early in students’ schooling experiences.
Not to mention, research shows that gifted programs disproportionately leave out low-income & students of color. Even students who are selected for gifted programs often receive standardized curriculum designed with the assumption that “gifted and talented” students are gifted in the same ways. There is rarely effective differentiation with regard to special talents inside GT programs!
And and and…don’t be fooled, our young people who are not admitted to these programs pick up on the messaging: “They are gifted, I am not!” Is that the subliminal message we want our 1st graders receiving? Heck no!
An article by John Feldhusen (Education Professor and Founding Director of the Gifted Education Resource Institute at Purdue University), speaks to the need for a new orientation toward gifted education, one that nurtures the unique gifts and talents of all students. He writes, “we need teachers who are attuned to talent development,” and provides six key strategies to educators:
1. Commit yourself to the role of talent scout
2. Create learning activities that give students opportunities to demonstrate their talent potential.
3. Recognize and reinforce signs of talent through praise.
4. Helps students set learning goals in their area of talent.
5. Locate resources to help support students’ talents
6. Enlist parents in the effort to develop student talent
As you may know, CREA is deeply rooted in the belief that every young person possesses unique gifts. Our curriculum is designed around these six strategies in order to support ALL young people in exploring and identifying the gifts that make them who they are.
We created our curriculum for ALL youth, but with a special interest in serving students whose talents too often go unseen in traditional learning spaces. I can’t tell you how many times school leaders say “this would be great for our GT kiddos.” Yes, it would…and our belief is that every child is GT.