Educating Gifted and Talented Children – Turning Research Into Practice
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Pre-conference

Monday 10 August 2015

Participants may attend one morning and one afternoon workshop. To register go to registration and select the workshop(s) in the drop down box.

Morning session 8.30 – 11.30 am: (restated according to the program 1 May 2015)

  • Creating a school concept with clear academic and educational guidelines for Gifted Children
    School Founder Pernille Buch-Rømer (Denmark)
    In the public school system in Denmark it has never been a tradition to deal with the identification of gifted students. This group of children has always been overlooked and. in addition, the Danish teacher training has never focused on this student group’s characteristics and specific needs. For many students, the teachers’ lack of knowledge and subsequently, lack of stimulation, has had a negative impact on their academic and social development, and thus their self-image. After tutorials, extensive research, personal experience with a highly gifted son, and debate in magazines and television, I felt obliged to act and I developed and created a school concept with clear academic and educational guidelines with children’s well-being as the top priority. In this workshop, I want to share my experience with the whole process of the establishment of a school for gifted children and the importance of the composition of subjects, teaching materials, and selection of both teachers and students based on practical experience from over 10 years of work and four school openings. Let us discuss alternative models and solutions, and last but not least, how gifted students are met and mentally stimulated individually, in order to get a meaningful education.
  • Over-excitabilities: How do they predict school learning and social adjustment?
    Dr. Ching-Chih Kuo (Taiwan)
    Over plus excitabilities meant that the reaction on personal interaction or some event last significantly longer, occur with greater frequency, and express stronger than average. Dabrowski named the consistent and over-reacted performance over-excitabilites including psychomotor, sensual, intellectual, imaginational, and emotional dimensions. Since Dr. Dabrowski (1938) raised his theory of positive disintegration of gifted individuals, several instruments for rating OE’s have been invented. Prof. Kuo has chaired a series of OE studies at National Taiwan Normal University using the OE’s related scales, including The Me Scale, The Me Scale II, and The Emotion Scale since 2001. During this workshop there will be an introduction to these scales and analysis of the effect of OE’s on learning and social adjustment; there will also be some suggestions for guidance and counseling services among gifted students suffering from high sensitivity and intensity psychologically and physically.
  • Unravelling the causes of learning difficulties in the twice-exceptional child
    Dr. Shirley Kokot (South Africa)
    In many, but not all, countries it is accepted that gifted children can and quite frequently do experience learning difficulties. Labels such as ADHD, Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Problems and so on, may be misleading because they seldom explain the reasons for the difficulties. Labelling children usually results in professionals becoming blinded as to the real underlying causes in their attempts to treat the labels – usually with medication. This workshop explains the principles of a neurodevelopmental approach that is eco-systemic in nature. This means that the child’s sensory motor systems interact with many and varied systems in the environment. By studying the various systems that support the child’s ability to learn and the possible negative influences on those from the environment (including the impact of, amongst others, poor diet and pollutants) it becomes possible to understand the real reasons for the child’s underperformance. Once the underlying causes are recognised, it is possible to offer really effective help. Integrated Learning Therapy (ILT) recognises the role of movement in brain structure and function. Particular movement activities are used to regulate the functioning of the child’s systems and reorganise neural networks that are needed for learning. In addition, this  workshop will demonstrate some of these movements and how they relate to healthy neurodevelopment as well as looking at ways of possibly preventing the onset of difficulties before school age.
  • The “State of the Art” in the Science of Creativity: Theory, Research, Education, and Assessment 
    Dr. Jonathan Plucker (USA)
    Creativity is often mentioned as a key “21st century skill,” but the conventional wisdom is that creativity can’t be defined, no one knows how to enhance it, and it can’t be measured. Fortunately, reality far outpaces this conventional wisdom. The goal of this workshop is to provide an update on the rich theory, research, and intervention work that has emerged over the past 20 years, which has truly been a golden age of the study of creativity. As a result of this workshop, participants will be able to define creativity and contrast it to related but distinct constructs such as intelligence and giftedness, identify potential interventions for increasing creativity, and describe strategies for assessing creativity in a variety of
  • Gifted and Talented in Early Years – Practical Activities for Children Aged 3 to 6
    Dr. Margaret Sutherland / Dr. Niamh Stack (Scotland)
    The early years setting offers a wonderful opportunity to build on the many experiences that gifted and talented children may have encountered in the first few years of their lives. Their learning journeys start in the home and this is where the foundations of their learning identities are put in place.  Early years educators play an integral role in helping children to continue developing their personal narratives and learning identities.  Based on our previous successful experiences using children’s literature with early years educators and inspired by being in the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, this practical workshop will focus on the narratives that gifted and talented young learners bring to the early years settings and how educators in these contexts can play their role in these on-going narratives.  Using a range of international examples from children’s literature we will demonstrate practical strategies and activities showing how these texts can be used to challenge, inspire and ignite a passion in our future storytellers.
  • Developing Future Thinking in Innovative Blended Learning Environments: The Multidimensional Curriculum Model
    Dr. Hava Vidergor (Israel)
    Developing future thinking is essential for gifted and able learners, as well as incorporating self-regulated and personalized learning using blended learning. The multidimensional Curriculum Model (MdCM) helps teachers to better prepare gifted and able students for our changing world, acquiring much needed skills. It is influenced by general learning theory of constructivism, notions of preparing students for 21st century, Teaching the Future Model, and current comprehensive curriculum models for teaching gifted and able students integrating ICM, PCM and FPSP. The Uniqueness of the proposed model is expressed in the three key dimensions or perspectives portraying how experts think. These key perspectives focus on the personal, global and time dimensions, inter-connected among themselves, and with basic content, process and product dimensions. Special attention will be given to hands-on practice and ideas of incorporating the model in blended learning environments.

Afternoon session 12.30 – 3.30 pm: (restated according to the program 1 May 2015)

  • How to foster students’ creativity in the classroom: Techniques and strategies
    Dr. Eunice Alencar/ Dr. Denise Fleith (Brasil)
    There is no doubt that the improvement of students’ creativity is a viable educational goal. As a consequence, numerous studies have suggested ways to cultivate creativity in the educational setting. Several cognitive and affective strategies for helping teachers to foster students’ creativity will be presented in this workshop, including developing creative abilities such as fluency, flexibility, and originality; applying creativity strategies to content areas; exploring ways to deal with common blocks to creativity. Specific teaching procedures will be presented as well as a number of techniques and practical activities which can be used in the school environment to enhance creativity. Furthermore, how to establish a creative climate in the classroom will be discussed.
  • Providing Optimal Learning Environments to Motivate Teachers and Gifted Students
    Dr. Leonie Kronborg (Australia)
    Teachers are often keen to develop their teacher expertise, but need relevant educational opportunities and encouragement to extend their own learning. The school leadership has a responsibility to provide intellectual, social, emotional and physical support to teachers, to increase their knowledge and understanding of gifted students’ cognitive and affective learning needs through professional learning opportunities. Teachers and school leaders can structure effective educational opportunities by implementing a range of educational strategies, such as high ability grouping within comprehensive and selective secondary schools, mixed-ability grouping and curriculum differentiation, cluster grouping, extending and accelerating learning opportunities for gifted and talented students. Findings from research I have been involved in related to effective strategies, and specific educational Australian examples will be discussed and explored in this workshop.
  • Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades: An Educational Epidemic
    Dr. Sylvia Rimm (USA)
    Underachievement Syndrome has become an educational epidemic. Many gifted children who sit in our classrooms do not work up to their ability in school. This workshop will focus on ways that parents, teachers, counselors, and psychologists can identify the patterns of underachievement at home and at school and on ways they can help these children in the prevention and cure of underachievement syndrome. The TRIFOCAL Model for reversing underachievement will be introduced. The workshop will involve educators in identifying and planning for an underachieving student. Participants are encouraged to bring a case study of a gifted underachiever to work through during the session.
  • Exploring Creative Lives: International Coaching for Creative Adolescents
    Dr. Barbara Kerr (USA)
    Creative adolescents throughout the world receive little help in understanding the invisible pathways toward creative careers in arts, technology, design, and entrepreneurship. Would you like to become a coach for creative young people who are struggling to find their way to their future? Creative Lives: Exploring Your own Story is a web-based, comprehensive advising and coaching program for future innovators. Creative students learn how to identify their “flow” and make life decisions based on their flow. CLEOS provides online, research-based, personality and creativity assessment; individual coaching through video conferencing; and information about creative careers, educational opportunities, and internships throughout the world.  Coaches are educational consultants and masters level counselors who know how to work with imaginative, nonconforming teens to find their flow, create a career goal, choose advanced training, and find the mentoring they need. This workshop introduces the concepts and skills necessary for providing academic and career support for creative adolescents.  Participants will learn to skillfully explore the activities in which the students experience flow consciousness states.  They will then integrate information about abilities, personality, and values; to interpret online assessments; to provide crucial and hard to find information about creative colleges, internships, and apprenticeships; and to help students set and stay true to their goals.
  • Differentiating with biography: Talent development through non-fiction reading
    Dr. Ann Robinson (USA)
    A great biography in the hands of a child will accomplish what no other genre can. Biographies provide gifted children with important role models and ignite their imaginations. They provide a pathway for understanding the talent development of creative and innovative individuals from every part of the world.  During this workshop, participants will learn the benefits of using biographies to teach non-fiction reading strategies and to meet the affective needs of talented learners. Examine curriculum guides created especially for teaching biography in the classroom, and leave with an instructional template for any biography you choose. Explore the nature of talent development through the study of biography, and learn creative strategies for inspiring the 21st century’s Van Goghs, Marian Andersons, Marie Curies, Nelson Mandelas, Albert Einsteins, and Hans Christian Andersons. Workshop materials include new tools for analyzing portraiture and for teaching with the primary-source documents that bring eminent people to life.
    Contents will follow soon
  • Nurturing and Developing Spiritual Intelligence
    ‘A practical guide in helping gifted students find meaning in their lives and education’
    Dr. Dorothy Sisk (USA)
    This pre-conference will focus on the importance of addressing Spiritual Intelligence as a natural fit for gifted students who want to make a difference. We will examine the traits of Spiritual Intelligence (SI) as defined by Sisk and Torrance in their book Spiritual Intelligence: Developing Higher Consciousness. Seven specific ways teachers and parents can use to develop Spiritual Intelligence will be demonstrated. The importance of addressing Spiritual Intelligence will be discussed as a means of meeting one of the strongest intellectual and emotional needs of gifted students, that of finding meaning in their lives and in their education.