Creativity in the School Setting:
Challenges, Pathways and Strategies of Assessment
Dr. Eunice Alencar
Creativity is a key resource for individuals and societies. It enables the individuals to take greater benefit from opportunities, and to cope better with challenges and difficulties in their personal and professional lives. Creativity is also a vital element for societies’ progress and culture. For this reason the promotion of conditions for the development of students’ creative abilities should be a prime objective of schools,and initiatives should be taken to implement educational policies in this direction. However, the encouragement of creativity in the school setting is a challenge. Although there is agreement that students should be creative, most teachers are not familiar with characteristics of learning and teaching environments that promote creativity. A school culture characterized by conformism pressure, resistance to change and the introduction of innovation is also very frequent, as well as misconceptions about creativity, such as its view as a natural talent, present only in some individuals. An overview of the main challenges to the flourishing of creativity in school will be addressed, followed by a description of strategies to infuse the school environment with elements conducive to creativity. Recent instruments designed to assess factors associated with the promotion or inhibition of creativity in educational settings will be also
Gifted brains: Studies of gender differences
Prof. Ching-Chih Kuo
This talk will introduce the findings in neuroscience with mathematically and scientifically talented students (MST) in Taiwan. The speaker has chaired a series of research studies from 2006 to 2014, including comparing brain structural differences, brain activation differences on numerical, figural, working memory, and emotional tasks between MST students and their typically developing (TD) peers. Sex differences were found in brain structural and functional tasks. Since the gifted females in this study demonstrated similar levels of math and science achievement as the gifted males, it is essential that the teacher exhibits positive expectations towards all gifted females to develop their mathematical and scientific skills, and understanding such expectations can contribute to increases in student achievement. Knowledge generated by the research mentioned above on mathematically and scientifically talented students has significantly advanced the understanding of their social and neuropsychological characteristics.
Planting a garden
Dr. Shirley Kokot
The title of the talk is taken from a quote by Ray Bradbury. In his book, Fahrenheit 451, he wrote that it is important that what you do changes something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.
This talk will share Shirley’s experiences with those in WCGTC and the broader field of gifted education who, through their legacies, helped her create the only school for gifted children in South Africa – how that happened, the unique approach at the school and the lessons she learned along the way that has led to the continued success of the school. This will hopefully be her legacy to others that follow.
Teaching the Teachers to Teach the Gifted:
What have I learned and what do teachers need to know?
Dr. Leonie Kronborg
Effectively educating gifted students is an issue of social justice. Using research to underpin the study of gifted education, creativity and talent development, I have felt a responsibility to inform teachers and psychologists I teach to understand the relevant theories of giftedness and talent development.
To raise teachers’ awareness, knowledge and understanding of the individual differences of gifted students we need teachers to think about developing gifted students from a creative individual paradigm, so that students with gifted potential are intrinsically motivated to advance their intellectual and emotional development and transform their abilities and competencies in supportive social contexts with intellectual peers.
IF students with gifted potential and high abilities are in nurturing educational learning environments, with enthusiastic teachers who have positive attitudes towards them and who facilitate challenging differentiated curriculum opportunities across domains, gifted and creative students will reveal their high abilities and engage in developing their diverse talents!
Critical Issues and Practices in Gifted Education: What the Research Says
Prof. Jonathan Plucker
Gifted education has a rich history and a solid if uneven research base. As policymakers and educators around the globe increasingly turn their attention to advanced students and educational excellence, the time is ripe for a dispassionate analysis of the field’s conceptual and empirical strengths and weaknesses. The purpose of this session is to share the results of two recent reviews of both basic and applied scholarship on giftedness, gifted education, and talent development. Specifically, Prof. Plucker will highlight advances in theories and research, note several promising areas for additional research, and propose next steps for improving the quality and utility of conceptual and empirical work in these important areas.
From Underachievement to Wondrous Achievement:
Practical Strategies for Motivating Gifted Students
Dr. Sylvia Rimm
Underachievement Syndrome has become an educational epidemic. Many gifted children who sit in our classrooms do not work up to their ability. Patterns which cause underachievement take place at home and in the classroom. Parents and teachers may overlook or misinterpret the symptoms and may be manipulated by children in ways that accidentally maintain the problems.
This presentation will focus on ways that parents, teachers, counselors, and psychologists can identify the patterns of underachievement at home and at school and on practical strategies they can help these children in the prevention and cure of underachievement syndrome.
The TRIFOCAL Model for reversing underachievement will be introduced. Related materials include the AIM-TO test instrument for identification, the book Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades and What You Can Do About It, and the Guidebook, Underachievement Syndrome: Causes and Cures.
What Makes a Practice “Best”?
Evidence-based Recommendations in Gifted Education
Dr. Ann Robinson
Committed educators want to do what is best for our advanced learners. From every direction we are bombarded with advice about the upbringing and education of talented children and youth. How do we sort through the exhortations to find the practices that stand the test of time, the acceptance of skilled practitioners, and the scrutiny of research? Once we have applied these multiple criteria, what are key examples of practices that remain in our best practice toolbox?
A collaborative approach to building the bridges between research and practice
Dr. Margaret Sutherland
Academic theories and research findings sometimes have a poor reputation with practitioners who can view academics and researchers as being too removed from practice and out of touch with reality. Conversely researchers and academics can hold stereotypical views of practitioners as generalists lacking in expert specialist knowledge or worse can regard schools and children as merely a source of data for academic publications.
Such stereotypes can be destructive as they can lead to mistrust and the valuable contribution that each partner can offer for the advancement of education can be lost. In recognition of these issues there is a growing awareness that practitioner knowledge has a significant role in research but it is acknowledged that mining practitioner knowledge from its social and cultural context can be problematic. Acknowledging each others’ value and committing to a desire to work together is the easy part of collaboration, agreeing on how to best move forward together is where both the challenges and possibilities lie. Real and meaningful collaboration can be easy to say but hard to do.
This presentation will explore the possibilities that exist where practitioners and researchers work together. It will examine how early years practitioners might work collaboratively with researchers in a meaningful way to develop and better understand the needs of highly able young children.
This approach offers a realistic but an optimistic outlook as dialogue starts from the familiar – the individual’s frame of reference – and moves towards collective, communal meaning making.