Teacher Cate's blog
Cate Stilwell is a primary school teacher and a parent. She writes on issues parents and teachers of gifted children face and invites your comments and questions...
Sunday, 14 August 2011 15:19
I've been sharing my journey through the Certificate of Gifted Education (COGE) with the University of NSW. I've just completed the final assignment, and it has been a very worthwhile undertaking. I've been able to add a strong theoretical base to my extensive experience, and have become familiar with the latest research.
The last assignment asked how we could make the gifted child feel emotionally safe in the regular classroom. As many gifted students do not join OC classes or go to selective high schools, this is an important consideration. Along with appropriate differentiation and grouping gifted students together whenever possible, it is so important just to be understanding of their difference. Making allowances for their faster learning and adjusting tasks and expectations can go a long way to helping them feel accepted by the teacher. A good sense of. humour really helps, too.
Above all, teachers should avail themselves of the options for professional development, such as the CD Rom/on-line modules developed by GERRIC (members click here). It really helps a teacher to understand the needs of gifted children.
Saturday, 27 November 2010 18:19
I've just finished a 3000 word essay and presentation on differentiating the curriculum. The good news is that I can use it for my next presentation at my school on development day. The bad news is that I've realised why many teachers don't differentiate effectively - it is not that easy to do. Although you are working from the same unit the rest of the class is doing, you do need to spend extra time on your programming; you also need to be a creative thinker, abreast of world issues and able to adjust the task on the hop if it is not working out how you had hoped. Despite this, it is the best thing you can do for your gifted and talented students. Watching them grapple with a real-world issue, arguing philosophically and presenting a real product to an appropriate audience is magic. As I like to say about teaching - some days are diamonds.
Monday, 04 October 2010 10:49
I've been reading a lot of research lately as I prepare for assignments, and have come across more on that old bugbear, homework. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a fan, not as a parent and not as a teacher. So I was very interested in John Hattie's latest meta-analyses. For elementary students, the correlation between time spent on homework and achievement is very low. I read this shortly after looking at a University of Queensland PhD study by Dr John Worthington about parents perceptions of their child's abilities - highly accurate and reliable, you'll be pleased to know. The part that stood out for me was this:
Reading at home with mum and dad was almost universal at pre-school age but dropped away by the middle of year two with "homework" replacing much of the time available for informal reading and early writing at home.
I know that teachers could say that not every parent reads to their children, so these children need homework, but in my experience these are among the students who do not do the homework anyway. Frustrating when you've spent time preparing, differentiating and marking it. I'd like to spend that time on the lessons they do when I am there to guide them. Contentious issue, I know - what do you think?
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 18:54
Teachers often see gifted children as belonging to one, homogenous group. As any parent will know, they are in fact different in many ways. One of the lectures in my on-line study (Certificate of Gifted Education, UNSW) this week looked at the work of George T.Betts and Maureen Neihart. I first read the article some years ago, and found it very helpful, especially when talking to parents about underachievement. Re-visiting it via a presentation by Professor Miraca Gross has helped me to think about it in more depth. Betts and Neihart provide a framework for educators and parents that helps to explain the emotional, cognitive and social needs of gifted and talented children. They also provide a table setting out the feelings, behaviours, needs, perceptions, identification and home and school support. The profiles are a starting point, not a definition: Successful, Challenging, Underground, Dropout, Double labelled and Autonomous. Sadly, the "Successful" are actually underachieving - we all know the child who achieves and learns well but is really very bored and does not take risks. Have a look at the article for yourself - especially if you know a child that you think may be underachieving.
Saturday, 24 July 2010 17:31
I've just listened to a lecture by Professor Ann Robinson about identifying giftedness and talent. She asks us why we want to identify gifted children, and reminds us that it is to meet an educational need. This led me to think about underachieving gifted students. Perhaps if they were identified earlier in school, we could prevent them "disengaging" from what is going on in the classroom; obviously we should be using multiple criteria in our identification procedures. The challenge for schools is to have strategies in place for students once they are identified, remembering that different levels of giftedness require different interventions. We need to remember that the gifted are not a homogeneous group - one size definitely does not fit all! What has been your experience? Leave a comment, lets get a discussion going.
Saturday, 17 July 2010 13:37
I am excited to be studying for the Certificate of Gifted Education, online with GERRIC. Although a lot of the concepts are not new to me, the chance to really think about them, relate them to my current practice and share the thoughts of other students is invaluable. I've decided to share this journey with you and post about issues that arise in the lectures and readings.We have had a lot of discussion about mental age - not used in I/Q testing now, but a good way to think about the way gifted children think. A 10 year old child with an I/Q of 130, for example, would have a mental age more akin to a 13 year old. Bearing this in mind would help both teachers and parents when dealing with social and emotional issues. Maybe that explains the almost adolescent attitudes you sometimes get from your gifted ten year old!
Friday, 14 August 2009 18:43
On Monday, I attended the first in a professional network course for teachers interested in gifted education. Parents will be pleased to know that there is a lot of interest out there; schools are making a real effort to identify and cater for gifted and talented students.
Saturday, 20 June 2009 08:47
As we reach the end of term 2, teachers have been busier than usual as we finalise your child's report and prepare for parent interviews. I've actually enjoyed the process this year as I've seen such growth and improvement in my students.
Thursday, 26 February 2009 19:23They say that teachers may not know the date, but they know what week it is....and teachers all over NSW are probably saying "week 5 already!" We are getting to know our new class - your child, in other words - assessing, observing, planning. The students have to get used to a different teaching style, and we teachers have to get used to a new class.
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Did you know?
was just great! Thankyou for organising it. These sessions are definitely
fuelling my curiosity and increasing my knowledge on G&T.” An attendee at a NSWAGTC seminar
The blogs appearing on the NSWAGTC site are designed to provide colour, news and subjective views about the many issues and concerns facing gifted children and their parents, care-givers and educators.
Some of the blogs are associated with formal roles of the NSWAGTC, such as the President and the Webmaster. These allow the persons filling these roles to note to members any current news and changes.
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