Gifted - and a Gift!

Katie has an exceptional memory and started reading at a very young age – she seemed to teach herself! She has strong curiosity, asks lots of shrewd questions and grasps new ideas quickly. She’s also quite a lonely child because her interests differ from those of her peers. She sometimes misbehaves at school because she feels bored, and she’s in danger of playing down her capabilities to fit in with other kids.

Sound like anyone you know? Katie shows various signs of giftedness, described by the New Zealand Association for Gifted Children as ‘involuntary - a natural gift. It gives no cause for claims of elitism.’ However, there are plenty of myths and misconceptions around giftedness.

Interestingly, though, “Gifted children require just as much attention and educational resources to thrive in school as do other students whose physical, behavioral, emotional or learning needs require special accommodations,” according to professor Steven I. Pfeiffer.

It’s Gifted Awareness Week 13 – 19 June so we thought it was a great opportunity to share some ways that parents and teachers can identify gifted children and support them in their learning and development. PLUS there's a free place on a differentiation workshop on offer - read on for more!

Auckland’s Gifted Education Centre is coordinating a host of great events nationwide to celebrate Awareness Week, including open days, parents’ forums and even quiz nights for those brave enough to pit their wits against Team Gifted!

For parents, I liked this article by Viv Molsom in Family Times; she dispels some commonly held myths about gifted children and offers practical advice for parents.

There are some fabulous resources out there for parents and teachers of gifted and talented kids. LNNZ friend Rosemary Cathcart’s book Differentiation Made Practical: Lessons to Satisfy Gifted Learners has recently received glowing reviews in both the Times Educational Supplement in the UK, and from Apex (the online journal of Gifted Education). Apex reviewer Lynda Garrett says, “The title of this book promises plenty and delivers it all! For those teachers who believe that differentiation means ‘extra work’, and feel unable to cater effectively for their gifted learners within the ‘regular classroom’ setting, Differentiation Made Practical is a must. As an expert facilitator, Rosemary’s enthusiasm is infectious, as she sets out to put a sparkle and energy into your teaching, in a book that is essentially a ‘workshop between two covers.’” All of Rosemary’s great resources are available from us at Learning Network NZ.

And for those of you keen to explore differentiated learning in a wider context, we’re delighted to welcome US expert Jane Kise to New Zealand for two workshops this month – Waikato (28 June) and Auckland (30 June). Jane says, “The most successful teachers are often those who understand how to adjust their educational techniques to meet the needs of students of all intelligences, learning styles and backgrounds.”

We're giving away a FREE place on Jane's Auckland course so to enter the draw, just email me, Sue, on with the name of one of Rosemary Cathcart's other books in the subject line.

Happy Gifted Awareness Week - and we'd love to hear your thoughts, ideas and suggestions on this topic.

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