How well could you tell?
In the next issue of Rattler+Broadside Magazine, CELA’s print and digital journal, Dr Mimi Wellisch brings together her own research and established international evidence that every educator is likely to see at least one moderately gifted child each year in a typical centre-based service.
The question, Mimi’s article tells us, is not just whether the child is ‘gifted’ but whether you can ‘see’ their giftedness and support them as you would any child with special needs. Her most recent research looked at early childhood teachers and ECE degree courses in NSW and found most teachers commence their careers with little or no knowledge of what giftedness is.
The topic is not commonly covered in teacher training and if offered, it may be elective. It is rare to find an Australian university that makes it mandatory. Yet evidence shows that one in 100 children can be described as ‘moderately gifted’ and one in 1000 is ‘highly gifted’ (see the descriptor chart below). With numbers like that, there is every chance that you have a gifted child in your service right now, or that you did last year or will next year.
In fact, if you think you’ve never taught a ‘truly gifted child’, you may need to review your understanding of the definition.
Support for families
Are you professionally prepared to identify gifted children, to support their education and to advise their parents? Are you prepared to recognise that they are described on page 197 of the 2017 Guide to the National Quality Standards, under additional needs? Do you keep records of any special programming considerations to satisfy Regulation 160(3)(h)?
There are also elements in QA 6 that relate to parents of gifted children (6.2.2, 6.31 and 6.3.3), yet a recent study of educator attitudes to giftedness found that many didn’t know how to advise parents, and only 27 per cent had some training in giftedness.
Mimi, who runs Clever Kids Consultancy, is an advocate for the special needs of gifted children and in her Rattler article shares cases you might recognise in hindsight as being similar to children in your own service.
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Giftedness Descriptor Chart
Hold them back; bias against gifted children