IAGC
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Underserved Gifted Populations - Introduction

Underrepresented Gifted Populations

Underrepresented gifted populations are living in a world of educational reform and high stakes testing unlike any other.  At this juncture, we cannot predict what the full impact of the Common Core Standards and its accompanying testing regimen will be. What we do know is that in classrooms struggling to make the grade, high-stakes tests often become the standard, particularly in districts that have less human and material resources.  What impact does this have for underrepresented gifted students?  They often spend their days in an atmosphere of tension, often losing whatever exposure they had to the broad, culture-rich, and creative content they need. 

Some teachers and parents already feel a narrowing effect on the curriculum with less emphasis on the humanities and the arts. Talented learners with unrecognized abilities and special learning needs struggle to cope with the pressures of increasing tests and the academic demand that restricts creative or imaginative thinking.  Those without adults who understand and support them often slip through the cracks. E. Paul Torrance once wrote about a highly gifted first grader from the projects, Tammy Debbins, who had an IQ of 177.  By third grade, her performance slipped to average and in high school, she became frustrated that she wasn’t “very smart” (1980, p. 152).  This was in the 1980s.  Here we are in 2014 and we have to ask, will the new era of reform and testing make a difference for children like Tammy or the student populations discussed in this Journal?

The articles in this Journal offer a refreshing and wholesome counterbalance to the sense of constriction, tension, and pressure that pervades many districts today. With years of experience working with underserved gifted students, the authors explore a wide range of needs and behaviors among different groups of gifted learners. Articles discuss common misconceptions and raise serious questions related to identification, social/emotional needs, and appropriate instruction and resources (including hands-on, creative) for vulnerable gifted students. 

The authors encourage readers to look deeply and broadly at their students, rather than relying on narrow assessments that cannot measure real growth and learning, or unveil underlying problems.  What do these students really need?  How can we best support their resilience?  What teaching strategies and materials will draw on their strengths and help them address their weaknesses?  They offer the kind of expertise and creative and practical ideas that can guide teachers, parents, and administrators to make a real difference in the lives of these highly able learners.  

Torrance, E.P. (1980).  Growing up creatively gifted: A 22-year longitudinal study.  Creative Child and Adult Quarterly, 5(3)m 148-158, 170. 

Founder and Director of the Center for Gifted and Midwest Torrance Center for Creativity, Joan Franklin Smutny has designed and implemented programs for thousands of gifted children from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. She has authored, co-authored, and edited many books on gifted education for teachers and parents, including Stand Up for Your Gifted Child (2001), Igniting Creativity in Gifted Learners, K-6 (2009), Differentiating for the Young Child: Teaching Strategies Across the Content Areas, Pre-K-3 (2nd edition, 2010), Teaching Advanced Learners in the General Education Classroom (2011), and Discovering and Developing Talents in Spanish-Speaking Students (2012), and Great Women Leaders and You (2014).    

 

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Diverse Gifted Populations: Who might they be?

Diverse Gifted Populations: Who might they be?

 Rosina M. Gallagher

Exploring the Illinois State Board of Education Gifted Education Seminar (GES) with educators across the state has been most gratifying. This experience has afforded me the opportunity to review and update a wealth of information with colleagues, experienced teachers and inquiring neophytes in the field of gifted education. Their dedication, creativity, enthusiasm and respect for students are inspiring. A particular theme of the GES that is particularly relevant to my 30 years in the field, is how to include high-potential, atypical learners in appropriately challenging programming. “Who might they be?” is a question that stirs varied responses at each session. While students from poverty and diverse cultural and linguistic background are generally mentioned, other groups to be discussed subsequently are increasingly included.

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The State of Illinois and Gifted Education (A population of Diverse Learners)

The State of Illinois and Gifted Education

       (A population of Diverse Learners)

by Sally Walker

Do you realize that there is no law in the state of Illinois that guarantees or safeguards gifted education? Do you know that gifted students are a diverse group?  They come in all sizes, shapes, ages, colors and interest levels. Do you realize that school districts all around the state are slowly, quietly dismantling their gifted programs, a little at a time, as there is no state funding to support gifted education?  In 2003, the gifted categorical grant was eliminated and the funds were rolled into the general education fund.  This meant that districts were no longer required to fill out the gifted grant and that the gifted funds could now be utilized in any way they saw fit. The money could be used to patch the roof or fix a pothole in the playground. The legislators also eliminated the gifted language in the school code simultaneously with the gifted funding in 2003. This was devastating. 

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Is Hugo Cabret Gifted?

Is Hugo Cabret Gifted?

By Jerry Flack

Preface

In the early 1980s, one of the truly great pioneers in gifted education, Dr. John Feldhusen of Purdue University, utilized a unique simulation in both graduate classes and teacher in-services concerned with the identification of gifted and talented students. The Radar (or Rader) Simulation featured essential background information in profiles of ten students who were candidates for a brand new gifted program. One of the critical rules of the simulation activity was that only three of the ten nominated students could be selected for the school or community's new program. The simulation groups were made up of three or four participants. The activity was designed to replicate typical identification committees made up of teachers, administrators, and community members.

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Seedling Beyonders Need Champions….From Birth Through Adulthood

Seedling Beyonders Need Champions….From Birth Through Adulthood

By Kathryn P. Haydon

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.  We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

- Einstein

Introduction: Beyonders and Natural Beyonders

            William is a profoundly gifted, highly creative adult.  He is a successful industrial designer and inventor who is driven by a deeply ingrained mission to help creative people thrive.  Through coaching individuals and working with organizations, he opens up pathways and develops environments that support creative thinking and innovation.  William is happiest when he is giving to others by supporting their individual growth and creativity.  To talk with him, you realize he is a voracious learner who has explored vast numbers of theories and subjects in great depth, has a keen sense of observation, high sensitivity to others, and the ability to make unique and important connections.  He speaks proficiently on any subject that arises, laughs easily, and if you ask him for ideas on any topic, a brainstorm will flow out like a waterfall.  He is always open to trying something new, isn’t afraid to make mistakes and learn from them, and is supportive of others doing the same.  

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