Gifted and Talented
It is generally agreed that there is no universally accepted definition of ‘giftedness’.
The Department for Education defines ‘most able’ pupils in the following way: Gifted and Talented is the term applied to those pupils who are achieving, or have the potential to achieve, at levels substantially beyond the rest of their year group.
According to Renzulli (1986) giftedness not only involves above average ability but also involves task commitment and creativity.
SUGGESTIONS FOR PARENTS/CARERS OF ABLE CHILDREN
Parents/carers should be seen as partners in their child’s learning and support should be offered to them in terms of what it means to have a ‘more able’ child in the family.
The following are suggestions for supporting able children at home:
- Read with them, even if they are good readers
- Read for pleasure, including demanding/challenging books
- Able children enjoy learning new words – have a new word of the week at home.
- Utilise the local library and the internet as learning and research resources
- Visit museums, science centres, nature reserves and art galleries
- Watch educational and current affairs programmes such as the news, wildlife/nature programmes and documentaries, and discuss them
- Read a quality national newspaper
- Discuss and debate topics, such as politics, the environment and the media
- Take an active part in family decision-making
- Listen to different types of music
- Socialise and relax in between work and learn to ‘switch off’.
- Extend their general knowledge with a fact of the week.
- Encourage physical activity to develop co-ordination and general fitness.
- Do not always focus on your child’s obvious skills – encourage them to sample new activities.
- Puzzles, crosswords, logic games, word games, card games, board games all help to develop the thinking skills and social interaction.
- Learning a new language together.
- Use of adult language.
- Give children a broad range of experiences. Organise day trips and visits to places of cultural, historical and educational interest
- Build cultural experiences, trips and excursions into family holidays.
- Encourage children to ask questions and answer them as fully and honestly as possible but admit it when you do not have a full answer.
- Sometimes the most effective support that a parent can provide may be actually to limit the number of engagements and formal activities that their child is exposed to, in order to ensure that the child has the space and ‘free time’ in which to play, experiment and develop hobbies and interests of his/her own.
- Above all – learning should be fun and enjoyable.
- All children, including the most able need to develop self-esteem and confidence, to be given praise and encouragement.
- Talking with, and listening to a child is one of the most important factors in the development of language. Language develops the learning pathways of the brain.
- Children need to know that parents are proud of who they are and not what they achieve. Their ability should not become the centre of the relationship between parent and child.
- Children need to be allowed ‘failures’ and mistakes – they are a necessary part of growing up and learning. Indeed, parents should never be afraid to say they do not understand something or that they made a mistake – it can be reassuring for the most able!
- Able children can be self-absorbed and need to be encouraged by parents to appreciate and listen to the views of others and learn to interact with others.
- It is important to be aware of the needs and talents of the other children in the family.
It is important to complement what is done at school and not replicate what goes on in school.