Opening Educational Opportunities for Gifted and Talented Students
26 August 2014
Being gifted or talented can be exciting, confusing or frustrating for the young person – and for parents and teachers.
There are questions about identifying and defining ‘gifted’, providing emotional support and the right educational opportunities. But a shift in thinking is creating greater understanding.
During the last three years 30 Independent schools in Victoria have been undertaking programs to develop policy documents covering identification of gifted students, providing educational opportunities and other support, and meeting their emotional and social needs. This year two workshops are being held.
The Victorian Parliament’s Education and Training Committee held an inquiry into the education of gifted and talented students. Its 2012 report said gifted students have a natural ability or potential, but their gifts need to be nourished to become a talent. A gifted student might have exceptional abilities in some areas but be average, or even below average, in others.
Gifted students come from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. They might not be easy to identify because they are not necessarily high achievers, have disengaged from education or might deliberately mask their abilities in order to fit in with their peers.
The committee asked how these students’ special educational needs should be met so they are able to realise their full potential. It also asked how Victoria’s teachers and schools could gain skills, knowledge and support to effectively cater for these students. It said gifted education must be available in every Victorian school, government and non-government, and called for a coordinated and evidence-based approach to gifted education.