Gifted and Talented
A Whole School Approach
Aranda Primary School approaches gifted and talented education from within an inclusive and stimulating learning environment. The term gifted refers to a child's natural ability and the term talented to the attainment of superior skills through systematic development such as study or practice. Miraca Gross, Director of Gifted Education, Resource and Information Centre at UNSW indicates that about 10% of children will fall into the gifted and talented categories. The Aranda Primary School Gifted and Talented policy is guided by ACT Education Directorate's Gifted and Talented Students Policy 2014.
Canadian academic François Gagné identifies four areas in which gifted personalities may excel: intellectual, creative, socioeffective and sensorimotor (1993, 2004). He emphasises the importance of the schooling enviroment in the development of gifted children. In his 1993 discussion he states “one’s gifts or aptitudes need rich environments or intrapersonal catalysts to be nurtured into talents.” The challenges us to build up a whole school environment that values the abilities of everyone, while rewarding those who excel.
At Aranda, we strive to give our students opportunities to show what they can do. Aranda students bring a wide range of cultural, academic and sporting experiences from outside school into the classroom. Our school curriculum aims to provide avenues for all our students to extend their skills through classroom and targeted extracurricular activities.
Teachers at Aranda are aware that, in common with other children, gifted and talented children exhibit a range of behaviours and learning styles and may develop at different rates. They can be gifted in one or several areas. Also, some students with gifts and talents may have specific learning disabilities and can find accessing traditional school programs and/or structures difficult. Directed classroom emphasis on resilience, Multiple Intelligences and higher order thinking are key to our curriculum in the area of gifted and talented education.
The Aranda Primary School approach values and implements:
- Best teaching practice that embeds higher order thinking across all learning areas. This incorporates student reflection, problem solving strategies, higher order questioning, a risk-taking climate where students can make mistakes and differentiated assessment as part of everyday teaching and learning.
- Rich and challenging curriculum which draws heavily on the skills of all teachers in the school, visiting performances, guest teachers and lectures, artists and clinics and accesses the wealth of historical, artistic and natural resources available in the ACT to stimulate and expand student development, learning and interests.
- Teacher expertise in identifying strengths, talents and interests of students without predetermining or limiting future development. Observations in varying situations, formal testing, parent feedback, self and peer reflection, counsellor observations and testing all contribute to the identification of the developing gifted and talented child.
- Extension and differentiation across year levels. These structures provide opportunities for targeted extension for identified students. Programs include: Maths and Literacy specialist teachers, Gateways, the Instrumental Music Program and access to a wide variety of relevant competitions both for individuals and groups, such as University of NSW, French, Rostrum, public speaking, participation in selective sporting teams and individual sports.
- Opportunities for students to develop a vast repertoire of skills through experiences in Assemblies, Student Representative Council, across age level buddy program, Aranda Sports Leaders, school and vice captains and sports captains, peer tutoring, the G-Force and Media Team.
- Partnerships with parents that acknowledge and value that specific talents and interests of students need to be fostered and pursued out of school hours as education and individual development stretches beyond the hours and resources of the school day.
- Professional Learning opportunities that ensure teachers are kept current with research and best practice locally, nationally and internationally for the development of gifts and talents in all students.
- Rich and varied material resources which cater for the varied learning styles of students and assist in developing the talents of students. These include extensive fiction and non-fiction collections, big books, magazines, audio sets, Internet access, software, games and hands on materials.
- Acknowledgment of student talents and achievements across all learning areas as a vital element in valuing and encouraging students. This is done in a variety of ways, as Aranda endeavours to consolidate a school structure, which supports skill and achievements. Mechanisms include displays of student work, newsletter reports, acknowledgments in class and assemblies, certificates, opportunities to share and present work within the school and wider community, evidence in student portfolios.