Monthly Archives: March 2022

Saving Gifted Education: The Importance of Advocacy

This week marked the 10th Anniversary of support from the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented for Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT on Twitter. We are grateful for all of their support over the last 10 years, and look forward to many more.

Gifted education done correctly is integral to equitable opportunities based on individual needs allowing GT students to progress at their own speed and not languish in classes where they know most of material going into the school year. Providing quality gifted programming benefits the local community’s economy by providing an educated workforce and enhancing neighborhood schools with high quality education. As Dr. James Delisle so aptly explains, “gifted kids have the same needs for understanding, love, equity, and advocacy as any other child with a learning difference.” (TEMPO, September 2020)

How has the Pandemic affected gifted advocacy? Despite early predictions, a NC study found a negative impact of COVID-19 on gifted students too; especially for in 6th, 7th & 8 grade reading, & 8th grade math. It’s a mistake to think advocacy isn’t still needed. Even prior to Covid, GT students were often the least likely to make AYP. Lack of access to gifted programs and association with intellectual peers has inevitably taken a toll on these students. Advocacy efforts have been hampered by lack of access to decision makers, re-allotment of funding away from gifted programs, and fewer opportunities for advocates to meet in person.

Who advocates for the twice-exceptional child? The question is not only who advocates for 2E kids, but also who ‘should’ be advocating for these kids. Twice-exceptional students have both academic and talent potential while also experiencing learning differences and challenges. Parents are usually the first to advocate for their 2E child, but astute classroom teachers also have the opportunity to recognize their abilities and needs. Advocates for gifted education have long known about #2E kids and the need to seek interventions addressing their strengths first and foremost. Participation in gifted programs can be supplemented by special education support teachers.

There are several factors affecting gifted advocacy due to a school district’s lack of economic resources or its affluence and whether it is located in an urban or rural area. Schools in high poverty and rural areas often lack necessary funding. Schools in affluent areas often see a relatively greater divide in opportunity for GT students between public and private school options. Urban school districts seem in a constant struggle to equitably identify students for gifted programs. An unfortunate reality is the existence of bias among decision makers regarding who can and cannot be considered for gifted programs. Reducing opportunity widens economic disparity and promotes myths about talent and ability.

What should be done when districts simply eliminate gifted programs? Gifted programming is often the first to be cut when school districts seek to trim budgets. Smart tactics to counter the cuts should first promote options which involve little to no cost. This involves raising awareness of the need for gifted education. Advocates need to organize and seek buy-in from parents and educators of GT students. The local community should be educated through public forums on the benefits of a strong gifted program. Advocacy should be based on data and well research-based information regarding the needs of GT students at the local level which can be shared with all stakeholders.

How can parents best make their voices heard? Parents often don’t realize just how important their voices are in education. Involvement such as attending school board meetings, educating themselves about state laws governing gifted education, and persistence are key. They can start an advocacy group with the help of their state gifted organization and demand greater transparency from their local schools regarding gifted education programs.

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Eliminating Gifted Programs Won’t Make Education Fair

Every American School has Talented Students. It’s Time to Start Acting like We Believe That.

NYC: Parents in Top District Forced Into Admissions Roller-Coaster

WI: Altoona Student Speaks at State Capitol in Support of Gifted and Talented Programs Bill

NJ: Changes to Montclair’s Gifted and Talented Program Air for Equity

Reimagining Gifted Education and Special Education | Psychology Today

The Impact of ‘lost instructional time’ on Students during COVID-19

New Study of NC Test Scores Shows more Remote Learning Translated to Bigger Academic Loss

House Bill would Establish Gifted Programs in Missouri Schools that Lack Them

NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks Outlines Fixes for ‘broken’ Education Department

‘We’ve Broken the Trust:’ NYC Chancellor Drops Bombshell on Public School Exodus, Shares Vision

Advocate for Gifted Children | NAGC

Establish a Parent Support Group | TAGT

Parent Support Group: Quick Start Guide (pdf) | TAGT

#whyGT: Read Their Stories | TAGT

Gifted Education Advocacy, Networking, & Professional Development … 21st Century Style (pdf)

Stop Eliminating Gifted Programs and Calling It ‘Equity’ | Teach for America

Advocating for your Gifted Child: Advice from NAGC President Jonathan Plucker

Gifted Advocacy is an Education

Resources to Help with Advocating for Your Gifted Learner

Neurodiversity Podcast: A Guide to Self-Advocacy (YouTube 31:59)

It’s Time to Speak Up for Gifted Education: How to Advocate for our Kids (YouTube 7:46)

Gifted Support Group: Education Rights Advocacy for 2E Students (YouTube 25:31) | IEA

Resources for Twice-Exceptionality | PAGE

Potential Plus UK: Gifted Advocacy

Empowering Underrepresented Gifted Students (book)

Gifted and Talented Programs: What Parents Should Know

Les Links – Gifted Advocacy (Live Binder)

Gifted Advocacy | Hoagies Gifted

The War on Gifted Education https://bit.ly/3iKp25a

Achieving Equity in Gifted Programming: Dismantling Barriers and Tapping Potential 1st Edition (book)

Sprite’s Site: Asking for Help – A Guest Expert Panel Q & A Session

Power in Numbers: How Gifted Advocacy Parent Groups can Help You and Your Kids

Image courtesy of Pixabay   Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Gifted Education Program Options

Often overlooked, teacher training can affect the availability and quality of gifted program options. Lack of knowledge about special populations in the classroom often leads to lack of understanding of their needs. When teachers and administrators become aware of their gifted and 2e students, they often are their greatest advocates. Teacher training in gifted education needs to begin at the undergraduate level and continue throughout their careers. State mandated PD can go a long way in making this a reality. This can lead to the availability of high quality programs. Extending PD to all faculty and staff can increase the number of options available as well as educate the wider community of the benefits of meeting the needs of GT and 2E students. This can result in increased funding and opportunities.

COVID-19 and the Pandemic had a profound effect on gifted education – both positive and negative. Already existing anti-intellectualism gained ground as education in general was affected by uneven school closures & political influences. Far too often, the Pandemic was used as an excuse to shut down gifted programs in schools where districts had a negative view of providing it at all. However, when parents and supportive educators pushed back, it was a different scenario. Positive implications include the availability of tech, increased distance learning opportunities and a vision of what is possible. Also, greater awareness of educational needs of GT and 2E by parents and caregivers thrusted into homeschooling.

What are the best delivery options available in gifted education? Delivery options have evolved over the past several decades. Pull-out elementary programs are still the most common. Self-contained gifted classrooms offer exceptional opportunities for GT students to learn with intellectual peers. Out of school options include after-school programs, academic competitions, weekend programs, summer classes, and distance learning. Delivery options differ at the secondary level and involve accelerated options such as dual enrollment, early out options, magnet schools, AP/IB, and credit by examination. Alternatives to public education include private schools, micro schools, and homeschooling. Each family needs to determine which is best for their student and family finances.

What curriculum and instructional modifications best benefit gifted students? Curriculum and instruction involve content, process, product & learning environment. The NAGC’s Pre-K to 12 Programming Standards provide a comprehensive outline of evidence-based options. Differentiation is a widely used option when servicing GT students in the regular classroom. Curriculum compacting and tiered assignments have historically also been used. More recent options include Genius Hour, design thinking, VR and experiential learning opportunities.

Online learning is a program option which can be used in gifted education. It can be used in a variety of ways for GT students including in-class enrichment, extensions to outside opportunities (mentoring, linking to experts) or for distance learning (rural ed, dual enrollment). Issues which need to be addressed in online learning for gifted students include student accountability, etiquette, collaboration, and communicating with parents (Phelps, 2020).

Homeschooling has long been a viable option for students whose needs aren’t being at their local school due to lack of programs or for #2ekids or PG students whose needs may be better met in a home setting. It requires dedication, financial resources, provision of appropriate educational resources and learning environment, and someone to teach (parent/caregiver/other).

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Twelve Cost Effective Educational Options for Serving Gifted Students | Davidson Gifted

Gifted Services | Hempfield School District (PA)

Gifted Education: School Work Make-Up Guidelines | North Allegheny School District (PA)

K-12 Gifted Education Handbook 2021-2022 (pdf) | Bexley City Schools (OH)

Gifted Education 5 Year Comprehensive Program Plan (CPP) (pdf) | Colorado Department of Education

What Makes for a “Gifted” Education? Exploring How Participation in Gifted Programs Affects Students’ Learning Environments (pdf) | National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research

Six Ways Schools can Serve Gifted Students after the Pandemic

Applying the Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards: Guiding Questions (pdf) | NAGC

Five Ways to Support Gifted Students in Your Classroom

Best Practices in Gifted Programming (pdf) | Arlington VA Public Schools

Standard 5: Ensuring Student Outcomes for Programming with Evidence-based Practices | NAGC

Introduction to Gifted Education (book)

Gifted Education and Support Options | Davidson Gifted

Educational Options for Gifted Learners | Davidson Gifted

Considering Homeschooling: A Guidebook for Investigating an Alternative Path to Education (pdf) | Davidson Gifted

Basic Educational Options for Gifted Students in Schools (pdf) | Center for Gifted Education College of William and Mary

Accelerated Programs and Gifted Education

4 Ways You Can Encourage Your Gifted Child’s Progress Outside of School

Successful Online Learning with Gifted Students: Designing Online and Blended Lessons for Gifted and Advanced Learners in Grades 5–8

Image courtesy of Pixabay   Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Motivating Gifted Adolescents through the Power of PIE: Preparedness, Innovation, and Effort

Our guest this week was Dr. Vicki Phelps. She is an Assistant Professor of Education at Milligan University where she teaches both undergraduate and graduate level courses. She has been involved in gifted education for over 20 years, including collaboratively developing and opening a gifted magnet school, leading professional learning, and writing gifted curricula. Her co-authored work, Collaboration, Coteaching, and Coaching in Gifted Education (with Emily Mofield) was the recipient of the 2021 NAGC Book of the Year Award. In addition to her new release, Successful Online Learning with Gifted Students, her current projects include Coaching in Gifted Education (with Emily Mofield) and Strength-Based Goal Setting in Gifted Education (with Karah Lewis).

Why is the gifted adolescent’s perspective important to motivating them? Anyone – adult or adolescent – must have a positive perspective of what they are being asked to do in order to be motivated to do it. Motivation is a pre-requisite for student engagement. Lack of motivation has been and will continue to be a continuing concern in this population. Considering a student’s perspective concerning their learning provides educators an opportunity to address individual needs.

Preparedness, innovation and effort are important in both the student AND teacher. Gifted students have expectations of those who teach them beyond what their age-peers may expect. This includes an enthusiasm for teaching, inhibiting condescension toward students, and engaging in mutual respect with students. It’s important educators are prepared regarding mastery of the content they teach and prepared to be able to provide meaningful feedback. This requires teachers to connect with their students on a personal level. Innovative teaching rejects reliance on worksheets or daily lectures as the sole way to impart knowledge. Rather, responsive techniques like Socratic seminars and problem/project based learning is used.

Teacher traits are very impactful when considering student motivation. This is why advocacy always includes improving teacher preparedness to enhance competence both at the under-grad level and required PD in gifted education. These traits include being able to present acceptable challenge for GT students and to align content, materials, expectations, and tasks (Phelps, 2022). Educators need to be cognizant of their students’ need to be inspired, motivated, and engaged. They are then able to respond to these needs in a meaningful way.

Gifted adolescents need to see value in what they are learning to be motivated in the classroom. They want to know how what they’re learning has meaning in their own life. Sensing value in their learning can happen when gifted adolescents are allowed to pursue their own interests and given time and opportunity to do so. Value in learning results when students are shown respect by valuing their concerns and opinions, given time for self-reflection, and opportunity for real-world application of what they are learning.

What is active learning and how can it be incorporated into overall student learning? It is the opposite of what for years was considered the crux of education – passive, rote memorizing of content. When incorporated into overall learning, it embodies an inquiry-based curriculum with hands-on activities such as debates, simulations, labs, and constructions. Active learning is also being realized through the highly interactive and immersive world of virtual learning which has only begun to be utilized in a meaningful way in the past several years during the pandemic.

Where do we go from here? What recommendations are needed to advance gifted education? In order to advance gifted education, raising awareness of the need for specialized gifted curriculum and interventions is paramount. This can be aided by continued professional development. It’s incumbent upon states to require greater levels of pre-service training in gifted education and differentiation (including enrichment, pacing, grouping, acceleration) for gifted students.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

An Exploration of Gifted Adolescent Motivation in Academic Learning Experiences (pdf – Dissertation) | Dr. Vicki Phelps

Motivation and Gifted Students: Implications of Theory and Research | Psychology in the Schools

Secondary Student Perceptions of their Class Activities Regarding Meaninglessness, Challenge, Choice, and Appeal (pdf) | Journal of Secondary Gifted Education

The Use of Independent Study as a Viable Differentiation Technique for Gifted Learners in the Regular Classroom (pdf) | Gifted Child Today

The Effects of Choice in the Classroom: Is There Too Little of Too Much Choice? | Support for Learning

A Pedagogical Study of Intrinsic Motivation in the Classroom through Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose | Contemporary Issues in Education Research

Student Motivation – Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose | Discovery Lab

Help Students Build Intrinsic Motivation | Edutopia

Investigating Pre-service Gifted Education Teachers’ Self-efficacy toward Science Teaching and Scientific Attitudes (pdf) | Eurasian Journal of Educational Research

To Learn from Teachers at School, Ideal Teacher, or E-Learning Applications from the Perspective of Gifted Students (pdf) | Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education

A Study of Gifted High, Moderate, and Low Achievers in their Personal Characteristics and Attitudes Toward School and Teachers (pdf) | International Journal of Special Education

A Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (Gagné – pdf)

Building Gifts into Talents: Detailed Overview of the DMGT 2.0 (Gagné -pdf)

Teacher and Peer Support for Young Adolescents’ Motivation, Engagement, and School Belonging | Research in Middle Level Education Online

Curriculum as Motivation for Gifted Students | Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development

Gifted Kids Curriculum: What do the Students Say? (pdf) | Kairaranga

How Motivation Influences Student Engagement: A Qualitative Case Study | Journal of Education and Learning

The Moral Sensitivity of Gifted Children and the Evolution of Society

Motivating Gifted Adolescents Through the Power of PIE: Preparedness, Innovation, and Effort | Roeper Review

A Path Through OER to Active Learning

Image courtesy of Pixabay   Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Empowering GT Student Autonomy

Autonomous learning – the ability to be independent, self-aware, self-directed, and motivated – is enormously important for GT students. It enables them to become creative and responsible adults. Autonomous learners are adept at meeting complex challenges, assessing how they learn, balancing content and critical thinking with practical applications, and looking beyond prescribed roles. GT students who become autonomous learners learn to set goals which support personal values and are beneficial to their chosen career path. They become responsible for what, how, and when they learn.

It is important to understand exactly what autonomous learning entails. It is not solely self-instruction, but rather learning controlled by the student. Autonomous learning does not take place in a vacuum. Teachers act as facilitators guiding the learning process by creating the conditions for learning to happen. Recent research has focused on using autonomous learning only for second-language education. But the work of Dr. George Betts and associates clearly defined its role for GT students.

Although well researched, autonomous learning advocates and educators have faced challenges to implementing it in the classroom. Pressure from administrators to demonstrate accountability often frustrate attempts to foster autonomous learners. Challenges begin with lack of flexibility in curriculum and instruction, a rigid focus on test results, and lack of resources for students and teachers. Lack of teacher autonomy and professional development can also stymie the development of autonomous learning.

Teachers play a vital role in autonomous learning. They serve to manage and organize the learning process relevant to their students’ needs. Teachers of GT students have long realized the importance of facilitating the learning of their students. This includes providing tech support, facilities conducive to learning, resources, encouragement, and assessing the learning taking place. In supporting their students’ social-emotional needs, teachers also act as counsellors providing guidance for efficient learning, fostering meta-cognition, and serving as a role model.

There are many tools in the teacher’s toolbox to facilitate autonomous learning including self-evaluation tools, PBL, portfolios, checklists and open-ended discussions. Teachers can differentiate content and instruction, seek out student voice and allow for choice, provide extension opportunities and time for students to pursue interests, and teach metacognitive learning strategies. Further strategies include allowing students to create their own learning activities; activate what they’ve learned outside the classroom; and become involved in planning, monitoring, and evaluating their own learning.

Parents can empower their GT child’s autonomous learning at home by carefully documenting their child’s experiences and successes and sharing with their teachers. Autonomous learning can be nurtured by engaging in meaningful dialog, providing out of school personalized learning opportunities and time with like-minded academic peers.

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2PM NZDT/Noon AEDT/1AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Autonomous Learner Model Resource Book

Everyone Designs: Learner Autonomy through Creative, Reflective, and Iterative Practice Mindsets | Journal of Formative Design in Learning

What is Learner Autonomy?

The Challenges Faced by Teachers in Promoting Autonomous Learning Models

How Teachers can Better Support Student Autonomy | USC Rossier School of Education

Autonomous Learner Model | Presently Gifted

Autonomy-Supportive Teaching

WKU Students to Present Research at 2022 Posters-at-the-Capitol

6 Strategies for Promoting Student Autonomy | Edutopia

Developing Responsible and Autonomous Learners: A Key to Motivating Students | APA

Student Autonomy and Empowerment | CDC

How Learner Autonomy Helps Students Become More Capable Adults

How to Use Microtracking to Promote Student Autonomy | Edutopia

Student Autonomy and Academic Performance

What Research Tells Us about Improving Learner Autonomy (YouTube 27:40) | Cambridge University

Fostering Learning Autonomy & Creating Autonomous Learners | Global Metacognition

Designing and Validating the Learner Autonomy Perception Questionnaire | Science Direct

Conceptualising Gifted Student (Dis) Engagement through the Lens of Learner (Re) Engagement | Education Sciences

Engagement in Learning Physics Through Project Based Learning: A Case Study of Gifted Finnish Upper Secondary-Level Students (pdf) | Journal of Advanced Academics

Growing Capacity in Gifted and Talented Education Through Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) (pdf) | Kentucky Teacher Education Journal

The Autonomous Learning Model for High School Programming (pdf)

Autonomous Learning for GT Students

Why Autonomy in Education Should Be Schools’ Primary Goal

Image Courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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