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Introduction - Current Status of Gifted Education in Early Childhood (Birth-8) Australia
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Wellisch, M. (2020). Parenting with eyes wide open: Young gifted children, early entry and social isolation. Gifted Education International, 37(1), 3-21. https://doi.org/10.1177/0261429419899946
The author of this article examines the problems of 8 Australian mothers who have academically gifted children. This article proposed different ways of nurturing as well as promoting the giftedness of such children as well as the role of their parents in early identification as well as the influence of motherly gloominess and the possible connectedness with the twice-exceptionality which is the giftedness and personality disorder. It has been found in this article that there is an urgent requirement for the Australian schools to include the compulsory early childhood giftedness courses in their curriculum and they also need to develop the differentiated curriculum along with the ability grouping to nurture the talent of these gifted children (Wellisch, 2020). There is also identified an urgent requirement for the professional development course for the educators who are existing workers in the services associated with early childhood for the purpose of understanding the needs and requirements and the learning abilities of the gifted children.
Wellisch, M. (2019). Ceilinged Out: Gifted Preschoolers in Early Childhood Services. Journal of Advanced Academics, 30(3), 326-354.
In this journal paper, the author states that there is a relatively enveloping “silence” subsists in relation to the giftedness among the children in the early childhood educational courses. In the existing research, there is a lack of study about the attitudes of the educators towards giftedness as well as the programming in the services related to early childhood in Australia. In this paper, primary data collection techniques have been used such as interviews and surveys in order to fill this research gap. There have been taken 184 early childhood educators for the purpose of the survey and out of the 10 respondents have also been interviewed regarding their knowledge and attitude towards the giftedness among the children (Wellisch, 2019). The findings of this study include that these educators in the early childhood education setting are at loss in regards to the gifted student’s social, emotional as well as educational needs which are not being fulfilled. These are not even being understood by their teachers as well as their parents.
Grubb, K. E. (2009). An Examination of the experiences of gifted preschool and primary age children (Ph.D. Thesis, RMIT University). https://researchrepository.rmit.edu.au/esploro/outputs/doctoral/Examination-of-the-experiences-of-gifted-preschool-and-primary-age-children/9921861528001341
In this article, the author has illustrated the case study of the experiences of the 2 diversified clusters of gifted people which included 2 preschoolers, 3 primary age children as well as their families in Victoria. There has been utilized the multi-faceted approach in order to select these children as per their ages and the stages of development and growth. The study was focused majorly on the educational as well as personal practices of such students with putting the pressure on taping the voice of such people who have been acknowledged as talented and gifted. It has been identified through this research that such children have some specific personal as well as educational needs and their experience has also been influenced by the degree of intelligence in the gifted education of others who are responsible for their education, classification as well as support. It has also been identified that these children are facing challenges and troubles due to the misconception as well as the existence of the common myths regarding giftedness (Grubb, 2009).
NSW Government. (n.d.). High potential and gifted education policy. https://www.researchpapr.com/MRP_projects_files/NAH_AU/file_attech/reading3394795.pdf
This articles or paper involves different policies and statements associated with the high potential and the gifted education. This policy promotes the challenge as well as engagement for all the gifted students, regardless of their family backgrounds. This policy helps the students in achieving their actual potential and also offers the talent development opportunities for them to ensure that their learning as well as wellbeing requirements are met. This paper involves the policy statement, audience and applicability, context, responsibilities and delegations as well as monitoring and review. The aim of this paper is encourage the differentiated curriculum and support for gifted and talented students.
Critique evaluating the current status of Gifted Education in early childhood (birth-8) Australia
According to Walsh & Jolly (2018), there is clear evidence of sustained growth of the understanding as well as knowledge of the diversified educational requirements of the gifted and intelligent students. The gifted students possess some of the specific characteristics such as the capability to learn at a faster rate, to find as well as address problems quickly, and to build connections as well as manipulate abstract ideas. These talented scholars have some explicit learning requirements that may need modifications to the classroom environment, place, content as well as type of the curriculum. These differentiated qualification chances are helpful in fulfilling the requirements of these gifted students.
As per the research performed by Slater (2018), the current national advocacy association for gifted education is the Australian Association for Education of the Gifted and Talented (AAEGT) and each state currently has an association for the same which is allied with the AAEGT. These organizations are intended institutes that provide the required materials, resources as well as information for the gifted children, their families as well as their teachers. On the other hand, Gomez et al. (2020) argued that there is lack of a nationally-funded program specifically for gifted children with the absence of federal money allocation in Australia.
At the time of 1990s, there were some states having the Gifted Education departments but they have been now subsumed into the larger units or divisions due to which, now no state has a dedicated gifted unit. As per the opinion of Peters & Jolly (2018), there is the involvement of different politicians from both parties, still, the conclusions have been undisputed regarding the lack of appropriate provisions for the gifted students in Australia. On the other hand, Parr & Stevens (2019) argued that each state, as well as the territory of Australia, has the education departments in which the policy for the qualification of the talented and gifted education have been included. These policies are in reference to Gagne's Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent.
The policies used by all the states in Australia acknowledge that there might be underachievement by the gifted children or there might be concurrent learning disabilities or they might also come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The independent schools in Australia are capable to create their own procedures and strategies for the early qualification of gifted children and they also often compete with the procedures made by the government to attract maximum numbers of musically as well as academically talented students through the scholarships. However, Morris et al. (2019) argued and stated in the research that talented and gifted students and their parents are facing a lot of trouble and problems in finding out the right place for them to study where their potential can be met. Moreover, the talented and gifted children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds are not promoted or able to get admission in the specific programs designed for these gifted students.
As identified by Walsh & Jolly (2018) in the research, the Australian society is also acknowledged for an event called Tall Poppy Syndrome according to which the high achievers are generally avoided if their colleagues or peers suppose that they are standing out from the group. As per the recent research, the Australian teachers having the training in the gifted and talented qualification tend to have a positive attitude towards these gifted children, and that there is very minimal help for the ability grouping as well as acceleration for the tutors who have not got any training in this particular field. On the other hand, Kronborg & Cornejo-Araya (2018) contradicted that within the primary school in Australia, it is the common belief that these gifted and talented students have these characteristics for a limited time or this giftedness is temporary and they tend to regress as so as they are being promoted to the next level. It has been identified that due to lack of public funding and sufficient financing support to the schools, there are fewer teachers who are receiving such training in this field. As per the opinion of Slater Burton, & McKillop (2020), as the introduction to the National Curriculum has been done, most of the professional learning has concentrated on equipping the tutors and professionals to deliver the new curriculum.
Considering the current situation of gifted and talented children and education in Australia, there are various supports and services available in different states. The children, their families, and their teachers can enroll themselves in such programs and courses in order to meet the learning needs of such gifted children. As per the research performed by Gomez et al. (2020), some of the major supports and services include the Born to Soar, AAEGT, Australian Mensa, Gifted NSW as well as Australian Gifted Support Centre which provides the platforms for these students to get proper education as per their differentiated curriculum. These institutes also offer the families of gifted children the opportunity to share their experiences as well as stories without any fear of judgment. These institutes provide a social environment to the gifted children by connecting them with like minds and also offer the opportunity to meet their learning needs. However, Walsh, Bowes & Sweller, (2017) argue that admission or enrolment to these institutes is not an easy task. They have a very heavy fee structure which can only be afforded by socio-economically strong families and their children. The gifted children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds are not able to get access to this support as well as services. These are the main reasons behind the underachievement, boredom as well as frustration among these children.
Currently, there are various policies in place in different parts and states of Australia for the early education of these gifted children. The policy in NSW places the responsibility on the schools for meeting the requirements of the gifted students and also offers such schools with a range of possible resources and interventions that can be used. According to Peters & Jolly (2018), these interventions and policies include ability grouping, classroom differentiation as well as accelerated progression. On the other side, Parr & Stevens (2019) argued that the acceleration to the next level of education can prove to be ineffective and harmful for the children as they might miss out on certain things and concepts that are essential for their growth and knowledge development.
On the other hand, the Victorian policy creates the responsibility on the individual school to meet the requirements of such gifted and talented children. According to Morris et al. (2019), the suggested approaches by this policy include the differentiated curriculum, personalized learning as well as subject acceleration. There have also been produced online resources for the teachers of the young gifted children concentrating on prior-to-schools year. In order to identify the gifted and talented children in their early childhood, there are various IQ tests as well as assessments to be conducted in the prior school setting. In the Queensland educational departments, there are curriculum provisions for the gifted as well as talented students that the schools should have the collaborative management of curriculum provision in order to identify the gifted students. As per the opinion of Walsh, Bowes & Sweller, (2017), these identification procedures include the utilization of information from school-based as well as external testing, IQ testing, and above-level testing.
In the opinion of Kronborg & Cornejo-Araya (2018), as per the current policy for the early education of gifted and talented students, there are mainly three types of provisions which include the school-based, supplementary, and selective schools. The policy in WA suggests the extension, enrichment, acceleration, extension as well as a differentiated curriculum as per the requirements of different gifted and talented students. In such systems, the principal of each school is held responsible for these school policies while the central and regional levels monitor and control the implementation of such policy. In the opinion of Slater, Burton & McKillop (2020), the policy of the Australian Capital Territory directs the parents of such gifted and talented children to consult with their school principals regarding the implementation of the policy within the school. There is a requirement to nominate and designate a Gifted and Talented Liaison Officer. There is also a requirement of using the Individual Learning Plan for the effective education of these gifted children. These policies are quite supportive and helpful in achieving the actual potential of these children in their early childhood (Slater, 2018).
Despite these policies and procedures in place, there is still a lot of improvement required in the facilitation of the qualification and education of these gifted children. In order to support such strategies, there is a need to promote an inclusive environment, and some public funding is also needed for the effective management and operations of such institutes registered for the support of talented and gifted children.
- Gomez, R., Stavropoulos, V., Vance, A., & Griffiths, M. D. (2020). Gifted children with ADHD: how are they different from non-gifted children with ADHD?. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 18(6), 1467-1481.
- Kronborg, L., & Cornejo-Araya, C. A. (2018). Gifted educational provisions for gifted and highly able students in Victorian schools, Australia. Universitas Psychologica, 17(5), 1-14.
- Morris, J., Slater, E., Fitzgerald, M. T., Lummis, G. W., & van Etten, E. (2019). Using local rural knowledge to enhance STEM learning for gifted and talented students in Australia. Research in Science Education, 1-19.
- Parr, J., & Stevens, T. (2019). Challenges of Equity and Discrimination in the Education of Gifted Children. e. Leal Filho (Ed.), Quality Education, 13.
- Peters, S. J., & Jolly, J. L. (2018). The influence of professional development in gifted education on the frequency of instructional practices. The Australian Educational Researcher, 45(4), 473-491.
- Slater, E. (2018). The identification of gifted children in Australia: The importance of policy. TalentEd, 30(2018), 1-16.
- Slater, E. V., Burton, K., & McKillop, D. (2020). Reasons for home educating in Australia: who and why?. Educational Review, 1-18.
- Walsh, R. L., & Jolly, J. L. (2018). Gifted education in the Australian context. Gifted Child Today, 41(2), 81-88.
- Walsh, R., Bowes, J., & Sweller, N. (2017). Why would you say goodnight to the moon? Response of young intellectually gifted children to lower and higher order questions during storybook reading. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 40(3), 220-246.