Within the NSW public and Catholic education sectors, as well as in a number of independent schools, the generally accepted model of giftedness and talent is that devised by Professor Françoys Gagné, the Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT) (we have linked the model at the end of this article.) The current model highlights the diversity of giftedness across 6 domains of natural abilities: intellectual, creative, social, perceptual, muscular and motor control. Usually, however, in the school context, ‘gifted’ is used to refer largely to the intellectual domain.

Melinda emphasises that gifted and talented programs throughout the various sectors within the states and territories differ greatly in their structure. “Ultimately,” highlights Melinda, “the focus of these programs is to bring together like minds, whilst providing opportunities for gifted children to learn at a more appropriate level and pace than their age peers.”

Avoiding unnecessary repetition is vital, Melinda describes the programs as a means to engage the student in profound learning. “Some programs may involve students being pulled out of their regular mixed-ability classes on a weekly or even daily basis, to participate in extension and/or special interest classes,” say Melinda.

Building partnership with other schools can be a significant evolution of a gifted and talented program. “Schools from across an area may hold enrichment days on which participating students from across a number of schools in the community gather together to create and be challenged,” suggests Melinda.

Many parents will be familiar with how some schools incorporate extension classes. Melinda sees this as a good way to enhance literacy and numeracy skills and avoid unnecessary repetition. “Some schools incorporate extension streams into their daily programing,” says Melinda, “in which case some gifted students may regularly participate in general classroom work that is better catered to their needs. This type of format occurs most commonly in the streams of literacy and numeracy.”

Melinda believes that quality gifted and talented programs combine a variety of the methods discussed here. “Excellent gifted and talented programs hold the uniqueness of the child at the forefront and contain a combination of these methods as well as perhaps other approaches such as single subject and/or full-grade acceleration,” recommends Melinda. “They work in collaboration with the student and their family, delivering an engaging program for the unique learning needs of the child.

We kindly thank Melinda for her time and expertise in developing these articles.

Please find the DMGT article here.

Also, Melinda has provided our readers with a detailed paper focusing on gifted and talented education.

About Melinda

Melinda is a high school music teacher (B.Arts (mus), Grad. Dip. Ed (sec. mus), and is currently completing postgraduate studies in gifted education. She has directed and taught in a private music school from 2001. Melinda is the co-founder of Gifted Families Support Group Inc. (GFSG Inc.) which is the NSW State gifted association represented on the Australian Association for Education of the Gifted and Talented (AAEGT). She represents NSW on the AAEGT, as well as serving as the national associations’ Vice-President. Melinda’s most recent experience involved the instigation and development of Australia’s first National Gifted Awareness Week, an annual event to be promoted and held in March each year. Melinda has 3 children, all who have been identified as highly to exceptionally gifted, two of which also have learning disabilities.

 

www.gfsg.org.auNSW State Association: GFSG Inc. Gifted Families Support Group Inc.

http://www.aaegt.net.au

National Association: AAEGT - Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented