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Gifted and Talented in School*
Talent in school signals a student’s ability to understand and learn. Teachers appreciate talented students because their intellectual activities coincide with the planned curriculum. Sometimes there are students whose exceptional conditions create uncertainty and difficulties in teaching. Oftentimes, these gifted and talented students have not been identified as such and are classified as socially and emotionally immature.
We know that if education does not make an effort to adapt to personal conditions, it can promote disinterest in studies and a general lack of motivation because the pedagogical processes used in the classroom are generally not adequate to meet the reasoning and abstract thought of these students.
What do we mean by gifted and talented? Those who are “gifted” are considered to have an intellect that is significantly higher than average and “talented” are those who have a particular ability or skill in a specific cognitive area. Non intellectual factors are also taken into consideration, such as dedication, personal strength, and ability to sacrifice, as well as environmental factors such as positive family and school backgrounds.
These children’s potential can decline if they do not have the cultural and family support needed for their integral development. The cultural environment should support the development of each child’s abilities and the family environment should support their social and emotional development.
With this reality in mind, we should work towards building a different education, one that works to school flexibility and intervention of these children through:
a) enrichment, either curricular or extracurricular, through new activities
designed to expand and develop knowledge, understanding, processes, abilities,
interests, etc, beyond the programs offered by the school system;
b) acceleration, where the student can advance in one or several courses with a curriculum more appropriate to his or her stage of learning, with a view towards his or her mental, not chronological, age;
c) integration, which strives to meet the intellectual, social, physical and emotional needs in the regular classroom with appropriate support and other forms of intervention, such as grouping students together by ability and offering educational programs appropriate to his or her level; and
d) homeschooling, which is used by families to educate their children outside of the school.
In most countries, gifted and talented children move through the educational system without much attention. As a result, there is an urgent need to train educators in this area in order for them to be better equipped to identify, evaluate and intervene (i.e. more efficient cognitive and psycho-social procedures) and to provide the psycho-pedagogical advice that schools should offer families.?
Silvia Vaca Gallegos, Ms
Teacher Researcher at the Ibero-American University Institute
Development of Talent and Creativity
Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja
Coordinator of the Unit for the Development of Thought
*The ideas, thoughts, and opinions expressed are not necessarily of the OAS nor of its member states. The opinions expressed are the responsibility of the authors.