Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gifted Children


BY Jehangir Shah

1. Introduction.

The term gifted has been used traditionally to refer to people with intellectual gifts. Each culture defines giftedness in its own context. Ancient Greece honored the orators; Romans value the engineers and soldiers. In the united stated the early definition of giftedness was related to performance on the Stanford bidet intelligence scale. It was developed shortly after world war-I by Terman. According to him gifted children are those who are I.Q are 130 or 140. They would represent 2 or 3 % of the age group population. Stanford and other intelligence test showed that gifted children were developing more rapidly than their age mates.
A child playing chess in not important but his playing chess seriously at age 5 is the matter of importance. Early rapid development is one of the clear indicators of high intellectual ability.
One popular definition was proposed by the former U.S commissioner of education Sidney Marland in 1972, gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally qualified person who by virtues of out standing abilities, are capable of high performance and services beyond those normally provided by the regular programmer in order to realize their contribution of self and society.
Children capable of high performance include those with demonstrated achievement in any of the following areas.
General intellectual abilities.
Specific academic aptitude.
Creative or productive thieving.
Leadership ability.
Visual and performing arts.
Children who are highly creative consistently generate innovative solution to problems or create unique products on their own institutive. When this creation is verbal, we expect performance in the intellectual field. When creativity is a non verbal area (art, mastic) we expect similar excellence with in the symbol system (musical notes, scale).
CHARACTERISTICS
It is very difficult to draw a demarcation line for gifted children, so they will be identified on the basis of their certain characteristic given under. These characteristics are divided in to two main groups.
I. POSITIVE. ii. NEGATIVE.
2. Positive characteristics.
LEARNING CHARACHTERISTICS
(a) They learn new ideas easily and quickly.
(b) They remember the things they learn without
Difficulty, hard work and exercise.
(c) They have advance vocabulary for age or grade level, use different terms in meaningful way.

CREATIVITY. Characteristics.
(a) They display a great deal of curiosity about many things. They want to know if a thing is so why it is so.
(b) They want to know the actual cause of the happenings.
(c) The aspects of reality are very obvious in their thinking.
(d) They have the ability to give many answers to a given question.(fluency)
(e) They give different responses or to shift from one response to another.(Flexibility)
(f) They give unique yet appropriate answer to a question.(originality)
(g) They have good sense of humor in situations that may not appear to be humorous to others.
(h) They draw common results from the happenings

LEADERSHIP CHARACTERSITICS
(a) They are self confident with children of their age and also with adults.
(b) They make friendship with old than themselves.
(c) They have greatest desire to exceed others.
(d) They tend to dominate others when they are around.

MOTIVATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS
(a) They are keen and alert observer, usually sees more or gets more out of a story, poem etc than others.
(b) They try their level best towards perfection, self critical and do not satisfied easily with their own speed or product.
(c) Such children are quite concerned with right or wrong, good or bad often evaluate and pass judgment on events, people and things.

VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS CHARACTERISTICS

(a) They are adept in role playing, show acting out of different situations on the spot (dramatic).
(b) Observe fine differences in musical tone pitch, loudness, duration.

(NEGATIVE CHARACTERISTICS)

1. The have anxiety in their nature.
2. They ignore others and do not pay attention towards them.
3. They are in the habit of making others worried.
4. They are weak in spelling.
5. Such children are careless in writing.
6. They show poor performance in the arithmetic and accounts.
7. They have no command on rot memorization.
8. They take interest in uninterested activities of the class room.
9. They are very critical about themselves and others.
There are no hard and fast rules for the identification of gifted children. However the teacher tries to identify them on the basis of the above mentioned positive and negative activities. In fact it is the power of identification of the teacher who points out them quickly. Apart from these they are being observed during work with other students in the class room. Different kinds of intelligence test make their identification easy for such children.
Some modern techniques are much helpful for the identification of such children such as noticing mature view point, logical thinking, cheating power and creative thinking.

3. EDUCATION

Gifted children are different from other common children. Therefore they need special educational approach. It should be remembered that gifted children are the invaluable asset of a nation. In future such children are becoming scientists, engineers and experts and take the nation to the paragon of success.

It is the responsibility of the administrator to arrange for their special education after their identification. In the past wise people were always searching the gifted children.200 years back in the old Greece, Plato pleaded for the due attention to be paid for the education of the gifted children. According to him such children must be identified in the field of science, philosophy and physics. Plato felt that the existence of the democracy of Greece is by dent of such people in the society. Such people have the quality of leadership and have the caliber to occupy responsible positions of leadership. In sixteen century in Turkey Sultan Suliman had tried his level best to search out such children and train them in Islamic belief, in the art of fighting, science and philosophy. So he came out with flying colours by educating and training a big group of gifted children and that is why, after one generation Sultanat-e-Usmania emerged as the biggest power in Art, Science and Culture and in the skills of fighting and occupied most of the Europe.

The direction in which gifts and talents emerged, depend on several factors: such as experience, motivation, interest, parental urging and even chance. Many intellectual gifted individual might also have been successful in other areas if their interests and training had been focused on that direction.

Special changes needed to be brought for the education of gifted children, in the educational programme of the school. Such changes must be in harmony with the needs of the gifted students. For such a change the spirit and qualification of the teaching count a lot. The management of such a programme will be easy if the number of gifted students is enough for such programme. This will be effective enough if certain changes were brought in the curriculum.

The following measures are of the great concern in this connection.
1.Gifted students will be provided an opportunity to interact with one another, to learn and be stimulated by their intellectual peers.
2.Relevant material will be provided to the teacher to make his job of instruction easy.
3.Place gifted students with an instructor who has special expertise in working with gifted students.
4.Changes in the learning environment for gifted students are necessary to meet the instructional goals of special skills.
5.Gallagher, Weiss, Oglesby and Thomas (1983) describe seven methods for changing the learning environment.

Enrichment class room

The classroom teacher conducts a differentiated programme of the study without the help of outside personnel.
* Consultant Teacher:

A programme of differentiated instruction is conducted in the regular class room with the assistance of a specially trained consultant.

* Resource room:
Gifted students leave the class room for short period of time to receive instruction from a specially trained teacher.
* Community mentor:
Gifted students interact with an adult from the community who has special knowledge in the area of interest.
* Independent study:
Students select projects and work on them independently under the supervision of a qualified teacher.
* Special class:
Gifted students are grouped together during most of the class time and are instructed by a specially trained teacher.
* Special school:
Gifted students receive differentiated instruction at special school with trained staff.

STUDENTS ACCELERATION

The process of acceleration means passing students through education system as quickly as possible (1979).

Stanley suggests many different ways by which acceleration can be accomplished.

1. Early School Admission:
As soon as the child detected to be intellectually and socially mature, he/she should be admitted in kindergarten at an early than normal age.
If the normal age for admission is 6 years, gifted children may be admitted at the age of 5 years so that they may start take interest in constructive and educational activities from the very beginning. If such children had to wait for six years then their attention and interest diverts from educational towards other unimportant and useless activities for the society.

2. Double Promotion:
Another way of acceleration of a child is double promotion for the rapid development of gifted children. It is not popular as it creates temporary adjustment problems for the gifted students.

3. Class Grade:
Sometimes instead of double promotion triple promotion is also advisable. According to Terman and other researchers such gifted children who have got triple promotion had been proved excellent than the students of that new class.

4. Telescoping Grade:
The child covers standard material in less time: such as a junior grade three years programme will be taught in two years.

5. Advance Placement:
During school time students take college course, shortening college programme.

6. Early College Admission:
An outstanding child may enter college at 13, 14 or 15 years of age. Stanely (1979) found that acceleration, particularly early admission to college is most effective for the students who are outstanding in mathematics.
Teacher should pay more attention and should also hand over more study work to the gifted children.

7. Special Teacher:
Special teachers may be assigned the task of gifted children. Such teachers have to shoulder the responsibilities of:

1. Identification of gifted children
2. The collection of educational courses for the children.
3. Counseling of gifted children.
4. Arrangement of special classes or seminar for gifted students.

8. Productive Skills:
All educators, who work with gifted students, would agree that the productive skill would be increased by giving a task of problem solving.

9. Creativity:
More attention has been paid to creativity in the education of gifted students. They are being expected to produce better solution for problems that no one has been able to solve.
So, one strategy for instruction is to polish intellectual capabilities that seem particularly important to creative production. Creative production depends on emotional climate so favorable emotional climate may be improved. Performance of such activities will be easier with a homogenous group of gifted children.

10. Brain Storming:
It is another “Pranes (1996)” practice for enhancing intellectual fluency. In this activity the whole class discussion a particular problem, for example, how to overcome the price hike at present .Telling they try to suggest as many answers as possible.
We can stimulate creativity by providing such a class room situation which encourages self-confidence, self expression. For such the following suggestions will be fruitful.

11. Provision of non threatening atmosphere:
The class room environment may be constituted in such a way that student's ideas and opinion are respected and questions are encouraged.

12. Do not judge the product in the class room:
Non judgmental attitude of the teacher provides freedom for divergent thinking and the students can think more freely.
13. Provision of Stimuli:
In the presence of a variety of stimuli encourage students to view a problem from different perspective.

14. Psychological Freedom:
It is another important factor responsible for creativity for gifted children.

15. Content Acceleration:
It means to go through the traditional curriculum at faster rate. It allows the students to get more complex sets of ideas. For example if a student learns calculus in ninth grade, he has to start physics and chemistry as calculus has provided foundation for it.

16. Content Enrichment:
By expanding the material understudy a student has the opportunity to explore more by using scientific illustration for example, a student reads the diaries of civil war soldiers on both the sides enrich his perspective on the war.

17. Content Sophistication:
t compels the gifted students for higher level of thinking to understand the idea which is different for the average students to understand important abstractions, scientific law or general principles to be applied in many circumstances.

18. Content Novelty:
There may be the introduction of material which is not found in the general curriculum because of time constrain and abstract nature. Its purpose is to help gifted students to master important ideas. A teacher could create one or two examples of abstract nature and students have to workup others for example the impact of technological advancement (auto mobiles, television) on society. The students may be taken into account that has some positive results on the society. Such things have greater effect on the gifted students. It is possible that in future, when they are grown up, they made new discoveries.

SUMMARY
1. Gifted children show outstanding performance in different area; such as: intellect, academic, aptitude, creative thinking, and leadership qualities.
2. They show excellent performance in social and personality characteristics.
3. Girls reflects social attitude which is acceptable for them. They show less aptitude in maths and science.
4. The under achievers gifted can be modified by careful educational program.
5. Those gifted children who are coming from culturally different sub group are ignored or undiscovered which a great loss to the society.
6. Some of the handicaps children are gifted but the educators do not expect them to be gifted and their talents remain undiscovered.
7. Although heredity plays important role in intellectual giftedness yet environment determines the level to which the ability is developed.
8. The gifted children have been usually identified through different intelligence tests, review of school record, from peer and teacher evaluation.
9. For the education of gifted children procedures like resource room-pullout programme, are suggested by the educators for elementary schools and advanced placement classes in specific content are favoured for secondary level.
10. The educators also put stress on stimulating productive thinking skills as part of special education for gifted children. These programmes focus on improving problem-solving, problem finding, and creative skills.

References:
1. Educating Exceptional children .Fifth Edition, Kirk Gallagher
2. General Educational Psychology. Second Edition, E.GARRETT
3. Allied Material of Educational Psychology Course code 840,Dr Muhammad Rashid
4. Educational Psychology & Curriculum. Code 518
5. Advanced Educational Psychology. Fifth Revised Edition, S.S.Chauhan. Ex. Prof Dean Faculty of Education University Of Himmachal Pradesh Shimla 5.

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