Rationale for gifted programs

Rationale for gifted programs

When children are young, schools begin to analyze the youngsters’ abilities and sort them into clusters based on their predicted success. The system labels the cream of the crop as gifted. Clark (2002) defines giftedness as “only a label that society gives to those who have actualized their ability to an unusually high degree or give evidence that such achievement is imminent”. So what exactly is this quality that schools are seeking out? The American government defines giftedness as “students, children or youth who give evidence of high performance capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop such capabilities” (Clark, 2002). Gifted students learn in a different manner and at an accelerated rate compared to their peers in the classroom and therefore require gifted programs to develop and apply their talents.
Gifted children need outside instruction and development opportunities to expand their minds and become most useful to society and themselves. In a list of reasons compiled in Fostering Academic Excellence, McLeod and Cropley (1989) describe the specific advantages to placing gifted children in adequate programs:
#“Gifted children are a resource”; here the need for inventive and intelligent minds who will improve the quality of life and advance in the new technological age is stated.
#“The gifted deserve special treatment corresponding to that received by the handicapped;” the gifted ought to have the same financial support that is given to other groups that are far from the “norm”.
#“Gifted children need adequate stimulation;” a debate is raised between the incentive that gifted children gain by being in an isolated class of the top five-percent and the argument that normal and slow children would benefit from being mixed in with giftedness.
#“Special provision for the gifted will prevent dropouts, underachievement and delinquency;” gifted children may lose their zest for school when kept back from learning at their own pace and may almost strive to achieve “normality” to “have a quiet life in school”. (McLeod & Cropley, 1989).

Not only is it important to give the gifted the extra push which is beneficial to society, those students’ minds also operate in a unique way and require a different style of teaching. “The intellectually adept think and learn differently from others…it is important to teach them appropriately” (Freeman et al., 1999). As Merenheimo is quoted in the Journal of Biological Education, “gifted pupils have an analytic strategy of perceiving information. The less gifted use either atomistic or serialistic strategies” (Freeman et al., 1999). Gifted children were also found to be more ambitious—both in the difficulty and effort put into the task—in their schoolwork than others their age. (Freeman et al, 1999). Schools should bear some responsibility to nurture the talents of the gifted students in their charge. “It is clear from the evidence that excellence does not emerge without appropriate help….To reach an exceptionally high standard in any area, potentially gifted children need the means to learn; this includes the material to work with and focused, challenging tuition, sometimes including tutoring or mentoring that is not provided in normal schools” (Freeman et al., 1999). Two methods mentioned by Freeman that schools use in the teaching of gifted children are: 1. Accelerating the learning of children, either by moving them up to an older age-group or compacting the material they have to learn, and 2. Enrichment, rounding out, and deepening the material to be learned (Freeman et al., 1999).

Classroom guidelines for teaching the gifted

* “To be at their most effective, pupils can be helped to identify their own ways of learning, which will include strategies of planning, monitoring, evaluation, and choice of what to learn. They should also be helped to be aware of their attitudes to the area to be learned, such as curiosity, persistence, and confidence.” (Freeman et al., 1999).

* “All the evidence indicates that specific provision within subject areas is by far the most effective in promoting talent, rather than general enrichment without identified goals.” (Freeman et al., 1999)

* “Meaningful curriculum experiences for gifted learners need to be carefully planned, written down, implemented, and evaluated in order to maximize potential effect.” (Van Tassel-Baska, 2000)

* Giftedness “can be furthered only by participation in learning experiences that challenge and extend from the point of the child’s talent, ability, and interest” (Clark, 2002).gifted students, the unique “resources” of society, are not likely to reach their full potential with the setbacks of regular class-work which progresses at a slowed rate. These exceptional thinkers receive the desired enrichment only when put among other high-achievers with accelerated coursework and left room to develop their own ideas and viewpoints. There is a definite need for gifted programs, both in and out of school, to accommodate to the needs of intelligent and creative children.


So now that the necessity of these gifted programs have been established, how then do schools and talent search programs identify who meet the criteria for being gifted? National Excellence: A Case for Developing America’s Talent suggests that the following guidelines be used (Clark, 2002):

#Look at a variety of disciplines for outstanding students.
#Use a variety of tests and other assessment measures to find and serve students who express high levels of ability in different ways and at different ages.
#Ensure that all students have equal access to challenging learning opportunities and unbiased assessment.
#Develop assessment procedures that allow varying rates of maturity and interests.
#Seek students whose potential evidences itself in diverse and less obvious ways.
#Consider motivational factors such as interest, drive, and passion in assessing accomplishment.

There are six areas of ability which are often evaluated in order to determine whether or not a child is gifted: generic, cognitive, academic, creative, leadership, and visual and performing arts. They are measured in combinations of standardized tests, peer and teacher evaluations and nominations, and observations of the particular child. As for the legitimacy of these methods, Olszewski-Kubilius assures us that “the available research evidence suggests that these practices are valid” (Olszewski-Kubilius et al., 1998).

ee also

* Gifted education
* Positive Disintegration


Coon, P. (2004). Trigram: A Gifted Program Model All Students Can Enjoy. "Rural Special Education Quarterly". Retrieved July 16, 2004, from Academic Search Elite database.

Clark, B. (2002). "Growing Up Gifted". Columbus, Ohio: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Freeman, J. (1999). Teaching Gifted Pupils. "Journal of Biological Education". Retrieved July 16, 2004, from EBSCOHOST database.

McLeod, J. & Cropley A. (1989). "Fostering Academic Excellence". New York: Pergamon.

Olszewski-Kubilius, P. (1998). The Validity and Effects of Talent Search Educational Programs. "Journal of Secondary Gifted Education". Retrieved July 16, 2004, from Academic Search Elite database.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gifted education — (also known as Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), Talented and Gifted (TAG), or G/T) is a broad term for special practices, procedures and theories used in the education of children who have been identified as gifted or talented. There is no… …   Wikipedia

  • education — /ej oo kay sheuhn/, n. 1. the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life. 2. the act or process of… …   Universalium

  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, country in N. America. This article is arranged according to the following outline: introduction Colonial Era, 1654–1776 Early National Period, 1776–1820 German Jewish Period, 1820–1880 East European Jewish Period,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • United States — a republic in the N Western Hemisphere comprising 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the N Pacific. 267,954,767; conterminous United States, 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with… …   Universalium

  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

  • United Kingdom — a kingdom in NW Europe, consisting of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: formerly comprising Great Britain and Ireland 1801 1922. 58,610,182; 94,242 sq. mi. (244,100 sq. km). Cap.: London. Abbr.: U.K. Official name, United Kingdom of Great… …   Universalium

  • Judaism — /jooh dee iz euhm, day , deuh /, n. 1. the monotheistic religion of the Jews, having its ethical, ceremonial, and legal foundation in the precepts of the Old Testament and in the teachings and commentaries of the rabbis as found chiefly in the… …   Universalium

  • eugenics — /yooh jen iks/, n. (used with a sing. v.) the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, esp. by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or… …   Universalium

  • Germany — /jerr meuh nee/, n. a republic in central Europe: after World War II divided into four zones, British, French, U.S., and Soviet, and in 1949 into East Germany and West Germany; East and West Germany were reunited in 1990. 84,068,216; 137,852 sq.… …   Universalium

  • Christianity — /kris chee an i tee/, n., pl. Christianities. 1. the Christian religion, including the Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox churches. 2. Christian beliefs or practices; Christian quality or character: Christianity mixed with pagan elements; …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.