‘Gifted children also need nurturing and support’

January 17th, 2009 - 4:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 17 (IANS) “Oh, they’re smart, they’ll do fine on their own”, is what is often said about gifted children, but according to experts they require just as much attention and support as other students with physical, behavioural and emotional needs to thrive at school.Steven I. Pfeiffer, a professor at the Florida State University department of educational psychology, works with gifted children and their families in counselling and has been recognised as a leading authority on the subject.

“There is a view occasionally expressed by those outside of the gifted field that we don’t need programmes devoted specifically to gifted students,” Pfeiffer said.

Because of this attitude that gifted children will manage fine, it’s often difficult to get funding for programmes and services that help us to develop some of our brightest, most advanced kids - America’s most valuable resource.

“Giftedness is still not well understood, and children with advanced intellectual and academic abilities can perplex and challenge both educators and parents,” Pfeiffer said.

A key problem in working with gifted children is one of definition. What exactly does it mean to be “gifted”? “Even within the gifted field, there is considerable controversy regarding definitional, conceptual and diagnostic issues,” Pfeiffer said.

“However, as a generally agreed-upon definition, gifted children are those who are in the upper three percent to five percent compared to their peers in one or more of the following domains: general intellectual ability, specific academic competence, the visual or performing arts, leadership and creativity.”

A key area of Pfeiffer’s research has been finding ways to best identify children who are gifted. To that end, he led a group that developed a diagnostic test which complements the widely used intelligence test in identifying children who might be gifted.

Pfeiffer’s test is now being used in more than 600 school districts across the nation and has been translated for use in a number of other countries.

“For almost a hundred years, schools used one measure, the IQ test,” Pfeiffer said. “Our own research indicates that the IQ test, although it works fairly well, is not without limitations in identifying giftedness.”

“We launched a project to develop a test that would be a companion to the IQ test in helping educators better identify those children who have potential but perhaps are missed on IQ tests,” he said, according to Florida State release.

A diagnostic test developed by Pfeifer, the Gifted Rating Scales, measures students’ aptitude in six areas, namely, intellectual and academic ability, creativity, artistic talent, leadership and motivation.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |