While pondering my philosophy of gifted education I read Who is Currently Identified as Gifted in the United States? by Dr. Scott Koufman. I was surprised to see that yes, most states do use IQ and standardized achievement tests to identify giftedness, despite the obvious discrepancies with standard deviation. Gifted identification and assessment also lacked in leadership, creativity, motivation and performance art, but rather focused on cut-off scores for intelligence, achievement levels and ability. After writing my philosophy of gifted education I reviewed Virginia’s policy on GT programs at : http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/state_policy_virginia_10046.aspx .
Philosophy of Gifted Education
My philosophy of gifted education incorporates theories of Gardner, Gagné, and Renzulli. Such foundational ideals and theories go without influence when there is a lack of personal experience, so I look forward to encouraging each Gifted and Talented (GT) student to reach their highest potential. Teachers, administrators and school districts have a duty to identify students using a multiple criteria model, rather than adhering to one specific criterion. Instead of making judgments based on IQ scores and achievement data along, students will also be assessed by creativity and motivation, rather than solely on academic ability. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory provides a rationale for such assessments based upon the need for ecological validity. Furthermore, the identification of giftedness is non-discriminatory and goes beyond gender, ethnic and cultural diversity, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficiency, or individuals with disabilities.
GT students deserve a chance for their gifts and talents to be displayed, nurtured and developed no matter the area of giftedness. Gagne’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent exemplified the breadth of giftedness found within populations of students. I strive to identify GT students based upon superior performance or aptitude relative to above average performance or talents. A student who possesses superior abilities in aptitude domains will be identified in one or more areas of giftedness including: Intellectual, Creative, Socio-affective, or Sensorimotor. The area of giftedness can then be expressed and viewed in the form of academic, technical, artistic, interpersonal, or athletic talent. GT students will be identified by athletic, artistic or academic ability, but they will also have the opportunity to measure motivation, leadership and commitment. Similarly, Renzulli’s Three-Ring Conception of Giftedness delineates between general ability and specific ability, and incorporates task commitment and creativity. To measure giftedness, GT students have to express characteristics of all three factors.
Gifted students are recognized and valued by society as an asset to our community and proponents of human and social advancement. Schools and classrooms need to provide adequate instruction and differentiated curriculums, so the educational environment will be challenging, engaging and thought provoking. To do so, teachers should be open to a variety of programs including acceleration, cluster grouping and compacting. Equally important is facilitating opportunities for GT students to practice creativity and problem solving. Rather than label GT students, place then in A confounding box and propel stigmas, stereotypes and myths, allow students to be imaginative and make mistakes.