Wednesday 20th April, 7.30pm-9.30pm
Topic: Anxiety and the Gifted
This is an issue which affects all ages, young and old, so the discussion should prove helpful for many. Details of the group can be found here. Everyone is welcome, but we would be grateful if you could let us know by email if you intend to come so that we have an idea of numbers.
Mr Marcello Staricoff (England), Headteacher Balfour Primary School, Brighton and Associate Lecturer in Education, University of Brighton.
The Joy of Not Knowing (JONK) – It’s great not to know
- Csilla Fuszek (Hungary), Director European Talent
- Dr Mojca Jurisevic (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia), Education Professor
- Dr Anna Maria Roncoroni (Italy), Psychologist
- Dr Niamh Stack (University of Glasgow), Psychologist
Professor Tracy Cross (College of William & Mary) Psychologist and Fulbright Scholar to DCU
– 30 Years of Research on the Lived Experience of Being Gifted
Associate Professor Tracy Riley PhD, specialist in gifted education at Massey University in New Zealand, was passing through Ireland last week and we met her for coffee and a chat. Tracy hails originally from Mississippi but has been living and teaching in New Zealand for almost 20 years. It was a pleasure to meet her and very interesting to hear first hand, about the situation for gifted students in New Zealand.
Firstly, gifted and talented students are officially recognised under National Administration Guidelines. In 2004/5, the Ministry of Education Gifted and Talented Policy Advisory Group actively contributed to policy, funding, and initiatives established to provide for the identification and support of gifted learners in schools. There was professional learning and development for teachers, networking for schools, talent development programmes and all sorts. Unfortunately, since then things seem to have stagnated. Funding has been cut, the G&T Policy Advisory Group disbanded and, in the move to inclusion, it seems that the gifted and talented are no longer recognised as a group requiring particular provision. Until recently, Tracy taught dedicated gifted education modules to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Although these were some of the most popular electives amongst students, they are no longer offered. Giftedness, as all other special educational needs, is now simply covered as part of the general syllabus rather than as a distinct entity.
So, although in theory things in New Zealand are certainly further along than in Ireland, in practice we share some common problems. For an interesting account of the state of gifted education in New Zealand, here is a paper co-authored by Tracy Riley in 2013. It is somewhat disheartening to know that, despite having a Professor of Gifted Education of the calibre of Tracy Riley, and despite such promise back in 2005, gaining recognition and support for gifted students is still an uphill battle. Nonetheless, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to meet such an important person in the international field of gifted education and to benefit from her experience. We would like to thank her sincerely for giving us so much of her time.
If you would like to hear Tracy talk about her experience as a gifted student herself, and her journey to New Zealand, here’s a nice video.
The Festival of Curiosity 2015 begins next week, on Thursday 23rd July. Ireland was the European Capital of Science in 2012 and the Festival of Curiosity has become an annual legacy event to celebrate science, technology, art and design. The aim is to make science appealing and accessible to everyone.
“From the free day time family programme to lively and curated curious nights, expect a programme full of surprise and delight as you experience the city come alive in an energetic fusion of science, arts, culture & curious technology at The Festival of Curiosity, Dublin from July 23 – 26, 2015.”
Many events are free but require advance registration. Some are ticket only. What is guaranteed is that you will find something exciting for yourself and your family. The full programme can be found here.
On Saturday 24th, the Dublin Maker will be held on the Physics Lawn at Trinity College Dublin between 10am and 6pm. Several of us went last year and had a wonderful time visiting all the show and tell stands and getting hands-on experience. So, we plan to go again. If you’d like to join us, drop us a line or watch out for the Gifted Ireland bubble on the day and introduce yourself.