Effective early childhood development is supported by high-quality early childhood care and education, encouraging parents’ and caregivers’ participation in the workforce. Informal or formal child care is available. The formalized early childhood education and childcare sector include preschool and center-based child care. An increasing body of research shows that high-quality early childhood care and education enhances children’s preparedness for school and provides developmental opportunities. Children who are “ready” for school have a greater chance to succeed in subsequent years. A favorable correlation between preschool experiences and children’s development at school was shown in linked statistics from the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), particularly for learning-related developmental areas. This essay will look at early childhood education for gifted children in Australia. Effective curriculum and models for gifted
Australia has conducted two federal Senate Inquiries concerning Gifted Education, the first in 1988 and the second in 2001 (Phillipson & Ziegler, 2020). Despite the participation of representatives from both major political parties, the conclusions have all condemned Australia’s failure to provide for bright students. Unfortunately, only a small portion of either inquiry’s findings have substantially modified laws or instructions. Every state and territory’s education department has a policy or argument in favor of gifted pupils’ education. Gagné’s Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent is the standard definition of giftedness in all these regulations (Rasmussen & Lingard, 2018). Australia’s system for identifying brilliant students might be random, with no consistency throughout states, educational sectors, or particular schools. If any similarities can be drawn, they include the usage of IQ tests such as the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-III, teacher nominations, and academic achievement assessments (Renzulli, 2021). Additionally, state policies support using some types of acceleration, ability grouping, and curricular differentiation. However, the school is typically given free rein to decide how to implement these rules.
All state laws consider the possibility of underachievement, coexisting learning difficulties, or poor circumstances among talented children. Independent schools can create programs for the education of exceptional children and frequently compete with government initiatives to offer scholarships to draw in pupils with intellectual and artistic talent (Kronborg& Cornejo-Araya, 2018). The guidelines established in each archdiocese serve as a guide for Catholic schools. Even though all states require special needs education training for teacher registration, there are no prerequisites for Australian educators to receive training in gifted education. A typical hour of information on the education of gifted students will be included in this special education seminar (Jolly & Robins, 2021). As of 2016, just three universities—the University of New England, the University of New South Wales, and the University of Wollongong—all in New South Wales—offer a required, independent undergraduate course in gifted education.
There is enough flexibility built into the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework, which offers a framework for enhancing the learning and growth of all Victorian children from birth to age eight to meet the needs of talented students. Overall, nonetheless, the research showed that early childhood education does not effectively support gifted students. Most of those who spoke on this matter emphasized that there is now zero support for gifted youngsters. Education in primary and secondary schools in Australia is also the government’s responsibility to see that all its young children go to school. De Abreu Malpique et al. (2022) noted that about 9414 schools in Australia cater to primary and secondary education. Children of age six years must commence learning—this shows how the Australian education system is advancing to accommodate all students from all backgrounds.
Furthermore, other studies found that children in Australia attend primary schools until they reach between 11 to 12 years. The Australian primary system offers primary education for children up to 6 or 7 years (de Abreu Malpique et al., 2022). Australia has government and nongovernment primary school programs enrolling pupils all over the states. The number of students enrolling in primary and secondary schools is increasing yearly (de Abreu Malpique et al., 2022). This show that the Australian government is doing what it can to create more primary and secondary schools to accommodate the growing demand for education for its children.
Different states in Australia have various policies that promote early childhood and primary education for gifted children. Some of the state policies are discussed. According to Victorian regulations, that is, the Victoria State Administration, Education, and Training of 2015, each school is responsible for addressing the requirements of gifted pupils (Jolly & Robins, 2021). The suggested methods include subject acceleration, a diversified curriculum, and individualized learning. A website with information for teachers of early gifted children that focuses on the years before school has also been created.
To identify gifted kids, schools must use “collaborative management of curriculum provision,” according to the Education Queensland approach document for curriculum provisions of gifted and talented students (Jolly & Robins, 2021). Data from external and school-based testing, testing above grade level, and IQ testing are all used in the identification process. All pupils are entitled to “a sufficiently interesting, challenging, and gratifying education,” according to the Tasmanian Department of Education. Comprehensive standards and processes and information about opportunities for extended study and early enrollment in school are provided. The state’s initiatives and rules are implemented by a full-time curriculum officer, with the department making proactive contact with any schools that might be hosting a student who has been classified as gifted (Slater, 2018). As such, an established body manages and monitors education in Australia to enhance quality.
The policy in New South Wales assigns schools the duty of addressing the demands of gifted students and provides schools with various potential interventions and tactics that might be used, including rapid progression, ability grouping, and classroom differentiation (Slater, 2018). For pupils whose requirements cannot be met in the traditional classroom, the SA policy, per the Department for Education and Child Development policy of 2016, advises that learning plans can be created. The state offers nine units of online professional development for instructors in higher-order thinking and gifted education.
Effective Curriculum Models and Approaches for Gifted Children
The topic of education for the gifted has drawn much attention from people since they believe it to be uncharted ground. It is true that until recently, the curriculum was not a primary concern in the profession. However, it would be incorrect to conclude that new models and techniques are required to offer suitably diversified learning experiences for talented learners (Swanson et al., 2021). There must be a consideration for the effective translation of solid models for education and instruction into active research settings where efficacy can be continuously verified to develop an appropriate curriculum for talented students (VanTassel-Baska, 2021). Extension courses allow students to work together on difficult learning or skills enhancement that may not be available elsewhere. Extension programs increase students’ knowledge, understanding, and skills, which is why it is an effective way to teach gifted children in Australia. When schools construct extension groupings, they want to design learning spaces that are appropriate for the situation. The design and selection processes should be guided by the guiding principles outlined in the policy. There will be a diversity of skills even among the extension grouping; therefore, flexible groupings and curricular differentiation should be considered.
Enrichment and extracurricular programs are crucial for talent development for high-potential and exceptional pupils. Effective extracurricular and enrichment programs aim to broaden and challenge learning. The enrichment and extracurricular programs do not need to be tailored expressly for highly promising and talented students but provide wonderful opportunities for talent development (Kronborg, 2018). There must be enough room for kids to be challenged for this to happen. Schools must provide students access to extracurricular and enrichment activities that cater to their unique learning requirements. These initiatives ought to be ongoing, demanding, and directed.
Students who are engaged in and striving toward achievements exceeding their age across potential domains are said to be on an advanced learning track called acceleration. Acceleration is a highly effective method for talented and extremely gifted children, according to research, which also consistently demonstrates beneficial social consequences for all types of acceleration (Kronborg, 2018). Acceleration needs to be in the best interests of the student’s education, the student must desire to engage, and the school and family should support the student for it to be successful. Various acceleration techniques can be applied singly or in combination to satisfy a student’s academic and social needs.
The content model frequently emphasizes the necessity of learning concepts and abilities within a defined field of study. Gifted students are urged to progress through the subject matter as quickly as possible. Hence subject acceleration in some form tends to predominate in the practical implementation of this strategy. Learners are pre-tested and provided the proper materials to master the particular subject segments once the diagnostic-prescriptive (D-P) instructional strategy is used. Although the D-P educational strategy has demonstrated effectiveness in controlled environments, it is not frequently used in ordinary classrooms for gifted students (VanTassel-Baska, 2021). Whereas many content-based initiatives for the gifted focus on lecture and discussion, teachers and teaching staff work as facilitators of instruction instead of didactic lecturers in the D-P method. Because the curriculum is structured according to the discipline’s intellectual content and is very progressive and additive, a proficiency-based approach for accomplishment outcomes is remarkably possible.
The epistemological model emphasizes gifted students’ comprehension and awe of knowledge systems more than it does specific parts of those systems. It demonstrates care for exposing learners to essential concepts, themes, and principles inside and beyond knowledge domains so that schemata are assimilated for future amplification by fresh examples (Sengul et al., 2020). In this paradigm, the teacher is an interrogator, posing interpretive problems for discussion and debate (VanTassel-Baska, 2021). Students put much of their effort into reading, thinking, and writing. This approach’s critical result is the aesthetic enjoyment of solid ideas in many representational forms.
There are various reasons why the strategy works so well with gifted students. First, intellectually gifted children have exceptionally high abilities to notice and grasp connections. Therefore, conceptual curricula are helpful because they are built around continually connecting form and content. A concept curriculum is an enhancement tool in the most accurate meaning of the word since it exposes talented students to a wide range of topics that are not included in conventional curricula, giving them access to an intellectual framework they would not otherwise have (Ford et al., 2021). Additionally, it gives pupils a foundation for comprehending the creative and the intellectual approach through actively participating in the creative work and critically examining innovative products.
Re-evaluating Pedagogical Approaches for Diverse Cultural Backgrounds
Students with unique skills and abilities come from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. It is possible to characterize gifted students as having a profusion of particular skills that are highly prized within a given society or culture. Unfortunately, these pupils are frequently overlooked as gifted and exceptional even though so many minority language students have unique talents appreciated in their communities (Cohen, 1988). Most methods used to identify talented and gifted students were created for use with middle-class, native English-speaking kids (Ayyad, 2022). Due to these practices, minority language students are underrepresented in special education programs, which prohibits our schools from using the skills and talents of this unique community. The suggestions below may improve the evaluation and educational programs for gifted and talented minority language pupils.
More exceptional and gifted minority language pupils can be found, and resources can be provided. The identification/assessment procedure can be investigated to learn why these pupils have not been discovered if there is a smaller percentage of minority language students designated as talented (Cohen, 1988). To solve the issue of how to uncover talented and gifted minority language pupils using non-traditional means, educational institutions may need to come up with inventive solutions. Numerous factors can be used to identify kids who are learning a minority language pertinent to the population’s requirements. A more accurate image of the minority language learner can be obtained using many instruments because they provide data on pupils from various angles. Additionally, a mix of assessment tools can help guarantee that a student’s participation in a talented and gifted program can adequately be evaluated.
Teaching Strategies for 2E Gifted Students
The term “twice-exceptional” (2e) refers to students who simultaneously exhibit both giftedness and exceptional. Students must be determined to have both an exception as defined by their state of residency and high aptitude to receive the 2e label. Despite an increase in the study of 2E students over the past three decades, their needs may not always be met in classrooms. When assisting and educating 2E students in the primary, middle, and secondary grades, teachers should consider a variety of evidence-based tactics (Makil, 2022). It is acknowledged that there is a wide variety of tactics available to instructors of 2E kids, but here those that may be used in classrooms the quickest are discussed. To see the success of gifted students from culturally diverse backgrounds, it is essential to consider the following;
- Put the 2e pupils’ advantages first- Provide students options and give them various ways to respond to new material.
- Consider the needs of 2E pupils – Connect new information to what they have already learned and impart organizing skills.
- Address the immediate needs of 2E students by giving them extra time to complete tasks to reduce anxiety, encouraging them to speak up for themselves, and teaching stress-reduction strategies (Makel, 2022).
- Be able to tell 2e students apart from talented underachievers- Consider if the student is a 2e or a gifted underachiever after gathering evaluation information and additional evidence; Provide the necessary support(s), such as counseling, learning, and expert help.
- Work together and communicate to best help 2e pupils. – Invite support staff who are gifted and support staff who are from disadvantaged backgrounds to meetings; design a balance of tasks that will both challenge and correct.
According to a hierarchy, Bloom’s Taxonomy supports the notion that education is built on previously acquired knowledge and abilities, like many other theories (Cavilla, 2019). The pyramid shows how every learning objective must be met before progressing to the next stage. Teachers can create exercises covering the entire spectrum of mental abilities for all sorts of knowledge to distinguish the program from mixed-ability courses. For kids with specific learning requirements, the smaller stages in the learning sequence are necessary to enhance their conceptual understanding. These smaller steps can be provided via work that involves knowledge with low intellectual demands, such as remembering and comprehending (Cavilla, 2019). Gifted and gifted students should focus on trickier information analysis, evaluation, and synthesis tasks. Gifted and talented children ought to understand their problem-solving methods and learn how to think about the learning process.
Early childhood education for gifted children is an essential aspect of education. It determines students’ learning and development progress from the moment they join the school as they grow to become adults. In Australia, policies are enacted in each state to ensure that gifted students receive the tailored education they need. Various strategies can be employed to teach gifted students effectively. They involve extension, acceleration, and the use of enrichment programs. In redefining the pedagogical approach to teaching gifted students in Australia, students from disadvantaged backgrounds must be considered.
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