'Our school' is rural, situated in a low socio-economic area and has gained a reputation for personalising learning especially through the use of digital technologies. A significant number of identified ākonga have special needs which require curriculum adaptation. Human resources in the form of teacher aides help meet some of those needs. There is no recognition of giftedness as a 'special need' yet despite MOE policy shifts and the recent emphasis on additional resources for gifted education. The SENCO time allowance does not stretch to include a focus on identifying and meeting the needs of gifted learners.
I believe the theory and practice of gifted education will find relevance here. There seem to be a few children with behavioural issues that indicate giftedness. One has been identified informally as 2E. It would be great to develop systems and practices to identify and meet the needs of learners such as him. Gifted education is really just good practice with its focus on knowing the learner and differentiating the curriculum to meet their needs.
Students gifted in leadership have been identified and labelled.
Prefects. What are their strengths and needs? We need strong, young, moral leaders to navigate our murky future.
Gifted Māori have been identified within kapahaka. How can their gifts be valued and nurtured within the school and beyond? We need young people who can walk tall in Te Ao Māori and the Pakeha world. We need them to realise the vision of Titiriti and create a truly bi-cultural Aotearoa New Zealand.
CC photo by Avi on Flickr
I heard Sunni-Daze singing in the corridor recently and was enchanted. What are we doing to develop her talent? This is important. Because she is important.
Academically gifted learners are accelerated to NCEA courses from year 9 or 10. Students are often working at a level or more beyond their year level at the whim of teacher availability, the timetable and packing in enough credits to achieve NCEA and hit school targets. It seems a bit haphazard and disadvantages kids who might want to just slow down and smell the excellences!
Yes, there is work to do.
It is important.
Photo credit for image at top: Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Posted as part of the 2019 New Zealand Gifted Awareness Blog Tour, run by the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education.
Click here to see the other blogs in the tour