Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Gifted learners’ needs fall under the radar

Gifted learners’ needs fall under the radar

A new study has revealed New Zealand’s smartest kids may not be getting the specialist support and programmes they need to reach their full potential.

Under-achievers receive the bulk of resources, leaving gifted learners in some schools at risk of stagnating, says Massey University gifted education specialist Associate Professor Tracy Riley.

She co-wrote Gifted and Talented Education in New Zealand Schools: A Decade Later with Waikato University’s Dr Brenda Bicknell, published this week in the New Zealand Journal of Gifted Education. They surveyed primary and secondary schools to find out whether gifted learners are getting a better deal from the education system since the Ministry of Education investigated ten years ago.

They found that while a number of new iniatives developed by the ministry had been adopted with positive results, “the support for gifted and talented education by the Ministry of Education has declined, with cuts to funding and support since 2009.

“Gifted and talented education has seen its advisory group disbanded, targeted funding for innovative programmes lost when the Talent Development Initiatives were abandoned, and no Minister with responsibilities, and a revolving door approach within the Ministry of Education resulting in continuous changes in personnel explicitly responsible for identification and provision for these learners,” the report More recent ministry initiatives – including a revised curriculum; the implementation of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement, including New Zealand Scholarship for secondary students; the introduction of National Standards for primary and intermediate students; development of Ka Hikitia, the Maori Education Strategy, and the Pasifika Plan; and the release of Success for All: Every School, Every Child – were relevant to gifted and talented learners. Yet none explicitly addressed their needs, the report said.

The researchers invited all New Zealand schools to take part in an online survey, resulting in 327 responses (13 per cent of schools).

Just over three quarters were from high decile 6-10 schools, with just under a third from lower decile schools where there is “an increased focus on priority learners (Maori, Pasifika, and special needs), perhaps with a detrimental effect on gifted and talented students,” the report says.

Dr Riley says just over 90 per cent of respondents reported having a person responsible for coordinating gifted education policies and plans – up from 72 per cent ten years ago. But a decreasing number of schools had a team to support the coordinator, down to 37 per cent from 42 per cent a decade ago.

The study found confusion persists in some schools in regard to how to define and identify gifted learners, particularly students from minority cultures where giftedness may be expressed collectively, says Dr Riley, who is chair of the New Zealand Association for Gifted Children.

As part of Gifted Awareness Week this week, a 10-year-old gifted learner articlated her frustration in a blog saying; “A problem about being gifted is that you think school would be great if it were like most people describe it: a challenge and a place to learn. But then, after attending your average class in
your age-co-ordinated grade, you think ‘why didn’t I get the one thing I wanted out of this hour? New knowledge!’”

The authors say new national guidelines introduced in 2005 for gifted education have increased awareness. But their research led them to question whether we are closer to fulfilling the ministry’s vision that: “Gifted and talented learners are recognized, valued, and empowered to develop their exceptional abilities and qualities through equitable access to differentiated and culturally responsive provisions.”

The study echoes concerns voiced in a joint statement this week from the Professional Association for Gifted Education, the New Zealand Association for Gifted Children, and the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education calling on the government and the Ministry of Education to prioritise recognition and funding for gifted learners.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Sheep: Shearing Record Smashed In Hawke’s Bay

Three shearers gathered from around New Zealand have smashed a World record by 264 sheep despite the heat, the pumiced sheep of inland Hawke’s Bay and a year’s wool weighing an average of over 3.5kg a sheep. More>>

ALSO:

Carrie Fisher: Hollywood In-Breeding & The Velocity Of Being - Binoy Kampmark

There was always going to be a good deal of thick drama around Carrie Fisher, by her own confession, a product of Hollywood in-breeding. Her parents, Debbie Reynolds and the crooner Eddie Fisher, provided ample material for the gossip columns in a marriage breakup after Eddie sped away with Elizabeth Taylor. More>>

  • Image: Tracey Nearmy / EPA
  • Gordon Campbell: On The Best Albums Of 2016

    OK, I’m not even going to try and rationalise this surrender to a ‘best of’ listicle. Still…maybe there is an argument for making some semblance of narrative order out of a year that brought us Trump, Brexit and the deaths of Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and Alan Vega, who I missed just as much as the Big Three. So without further ado….oh, but first a word from the sponsor More>>

    Emojis: World’s First Māori Emoji App Launched

    It’s here - the world’s first Māori emoji app Emotiki has landed just in time for summer roadtrips and santa stockings, with 200 Māori and Kiwi cultural icons for people to share their kiwiana moments with each other and the world. More>>

    ALSO:

    Howard Davis: Album Of The Year - Van Morrison's 'Keep Me Singing'

    2016 was a grand year for Van The Man - The Belfast Cowboy turned 71, received a knighthood, and reissued an expanded set of soul-fired live recordings from 1973 ('It's Too Late to Stop Now'). In the game for 53 years now, Morrison's albums consistently open new windows into the heart and soul of one of the most enigmatic figures in modern music. More>>

    Review: The NZSO Performs Handel's Messiah

    Max Rashbrooke: Saturday night's performance took the piece back to something like the way it would have originally been performed when premiered in 1742, with an orchestra of 20-30 players and only a few more singers. More>>

    Culture: Rare Hundertwasser Conservation Posters Found After 40 Years

    When Jan and Arnold Heine put a roll of conservation posters into storage in 1974 they had no idea that 42 years later they would be collectors items. More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Education
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news