In general terms, up to about 10% of our school cohort is to be viewed as being Able, Gifted or Talented and as such will benefit from activities that enrich, extend and accelerate their learning.
There is a range of outstanding ability:
Linguistic (facility with language)
Mathematical/Logical (reasoning, organisation, calculation, abstract and structured thinking)
Visual/Spatial (ability to think in pictures/mental images, use movement to assist learning)
Musical/Auditory (skill with rhythm, pitch and musical patterns)
Kinaesthetic (physical skills, hand-eye co-ordination)
Interpersonal (skill in communicating, leadership, sensitivity to others)
Intrapersonal (self-awareness, self-motivation, self-directing)
Natural (skill in the natural sciences).
In practical classroom terms, Able, Gifted or Talented children are likely to present themselves to teachers in one of these ways:
· be a good reader
· be very articulate or verbally fluent for their age
· give quick verbal responses (which can appear cheeky)
· have a wide general knowledge
· learn quickly
· be interested in topics which one might associate with an older child
· communicate well with adults – often better than with their peer group
· have a range of interests, some of which are almost obsessions
· show unusual and original responses to problem-solving activities
· prefer verbal to written activities
· be logical
· be self taught in their own interest areas
· have an ability to work things out in their head very quickly
· have a good memory that they can access easily
· be artistic
· be musical
· excel at sport
· have strong views and opinions
· have a lively and original imagination / sense of humour
· be very sensitive and aware
· focus on their own interests rather than on what is being taught
· be socially adept
· appear arrogant or socially inept
· be easily bored by what they perceive as routine tasks
· show a strong sense of leadership
· not necessarily be well-behaved or well-liked by others
Identifying & supporting Gifted and Talented children
Discussions with children
Teachers will create opportunities to talk with pupils individually or in small groups to form an intuitive awareness of those who think perceptively, reflectively and evaluatively about their experience.
Teachers who are most successful with Gifted and Talented:
· Look for opportunities to widen the scope of learning activities beyond the school and the classroom.
· Encourage pupils to take risks, to play with ideas and to see failure as an inherent part of problem solving.
· Are sensitive to the particular difficulties some Gifted and Talented pupils face in relationships with their peers and the stress that can be caused by teacher and parental expectation.
· Invite pupils to plan their own work from time to time.
· Help pupils articulate and set their own goals and targets for their work, including how they will evaluate the outcome.
· Provide rigorous and constructive commentary on pupils’ work.
The Learning Environment
Self-direction with independence of thought and action
This will mean training in self-confidence and skills for independent research.
The use of “Mind Maps” can be a useful strategy.
Opportunities to be involved in group work.
Pupils need to work with others of similar abilities.
Experience of failure or difficulty
Risking failure is an important process in development of any pupil. Some Gifted and Talented pupils do not experience failure until very late in their educational lives. It is helpful if pupils are taught strategies for coping with failure.
Imaginative and creative work
This is characterised by high teacher expectations and appropriate challenge.
All lessons are appropriately differentiated to meet the needs of all pupils; this includes providing more challenging materials for gifted and talented pupils and teachers targeting pupils with higher order questioning. Thinking skills lessons (circle time, smart thinking and philosophy) are embedded in our curriculum at WJS which provide opportunities for all pupils to develop their thinking skills.
It will sometimes be necessary to look outside the National Curriculum framework for opportunities for gifted & talented pupils. The school also offers additional provision in a range of areas such as literacy, art and music to develop the skills of our gifted pupils.