The early years educator: A key contributor to effective practice for highly able young children

Author

Margaret Sutherland

 

There is little agreement within the literature as to what constitutes high ability. In an early years context this lack of agreement contributes to the difficulty in identifying and providing for young children with high ability. One aspect that may affect this search and subsequent provision is the early years educators’ understandings of high ability and the correlation between this understanding and practice. This paper seeks to explore the symbiotic relationship between understandings of high ability and their impact on early years practice and identification. Forty-five participants working in early years settings and with no prior formal engagement with the concept of high ability completed a questionnaire. The results of the open-ended questions are presented here. Findings show that educators’ understandings of high ability are crucial to the identification of highly able children and to the creation of appropriately challenging learning opportunities for children.

 

DOWNLOAD THE ARTICLE

Vol27_1_Margaret_Sutherland (289 downloads)

 

Keywords: high ability, young children, educators

Read More

Parents’ perceptions of academic issues in composite classes

Author

Linley Cornish

 

In a mixed-methods study, parents of children in a large regional Australian primary school were surveyed to ascertain their perceptions of and concerns about composite classes. Factor analysis revealed five factors perceived as relevant by the parents: Knowledge-experience of composite classes, their child’s holistic Development (academic and social), grade Identity, and being in either the Younger or Older grade of the class. Path analysis identified three significant relationships between the factors. Descriptive and qualitative analyses shed light on how and why parents perceived these relationships as significant. In this article, I concentrate primarily on one conclusion from the literature review: Parents have a holistic concern for their child’s development in a composite class; that is, they have both academic and social concerns which are at least in part related to age and grade. Specifically, I discuss parents’ perceptions and concerns related to academic progress in a composite class. While they were not directly asked about the suitability of such classes for gifted students, in their written comments parents expressed definite views about composite classes, appropriate curriculum and the effect on academic progress of being in the younger or older grade of a composite class.

DOWNLOAD THE ARTICLE

Vol27_2_Linley_Cornish (155 downloads)

 

Keywords: composite classes, parent perceptions, academic concerns, social concerns

Read More

Privileged gifted girls and underachievement – does it really exist and why should we care?

Author

Amanda O’Neil

 

Gifted girls in private education would be considered the double-elite by many, as their endowment of giftedness coupled with the good fortune of being born into a life of financial privilege presents two chance-factor advantages. Their female gender, which has been described as a ‘protective factor’ for underachievement (Seeley, 2003), may be considered a third chance-factor advantage, catapulting them to the status of triple-elite before their journey has even begun. With so much opportunity landing at the feet of these girls, is falling victim to underachievement really a possibility, should we care, and if so, what can we do about it?

DOWNLOAD THE ARTICLE

Vol27_3_Amanda_ONeil (114 downloads)

 

Keywords: gifted girls, underachievement

Read More

In search of the optimal learning experience: Flow theory and its implications for talent development

Author

Janet Thomas

 

The act of writing justifies poetry. Climbing is the same: recognising that you are a flow. The purpose of the flow is to keep on flowing, not looking for a peak or utopia but staying in the flow. It is not a moving up but a continuous flowing; you move up only to keep the flow going. There is no possible reason for climbing except climbing itself; it is a selfcommunication (cited in Csikszentmihalyi, 1975, pp.47–8).

DOWNLOAD THE ARTICLE

Vol27_4_Janet_Thomas (177 downloads)

 

Keywords: flow, talent development

Read More

Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration and its use with gifted children

Authors

Anke Jennaway & Peter Merrotsy

 

Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration is a theory about personality development. It has been hailed by some, including Mendaglio (2008), as a ‘theory for the 21st century’. In the past thirty years, its use has gained popularity, particularly in the fields of education and counselling of gifted students. The fundamental basis of this theory, however, has rarely been questioned. This article analyses the nature of the research supporting the theory, and highlights some of the issues in the origins and validation of the theory, advising that, as a framework for identifying, understanding and counselling the gifted, it should be used with caution.

DOWNLOAD THE ARTICLE

Vol27_5_Jennaway_and_Merrotsy (247 downloads)

 

Keywords: Dabrowski, positive disintegration, gifted

Read More