Today the Centre for Talented Youth Ireland launched a seminal report on the educator beliefs and practices of teachers in Ireland with regard to gifted children. The report – Gifted Education in Ireland: Educators Beliefs and Practices – by Jennifer Riedl Cross and Tracy Cross of the College of William and Mary, Virginia is the first of its kind in Ireland and marks an important first step in building a public research base on gifted children and their needs in Ireland. Other authors of the report include Dr. Colm O’Reilly of CTYI and Sakhavat Mammadov of the College of William and Mary.
At the launch, Jennifer Reidl Cross summarised some key findings of this qualitative research based on self-reported survey instruments including Gagné and Nadeau’s Attitudes Survey. The reports findings include:
- Primary teachers cater better for gifted children than secondary
- School principals think their teachers differentiate better than teachers actually differentiate
- There is little by way of training for teachers in the area of gifted education.
These findings coincide with my own 20 year-long experience of gifted education. It is very welcoming to see this backed up by a formal survey here in Ireland.
Dr. Colm O’Reilly spoke very passionately at the launch about what’s wrong with an education system that denies gifted children and appropriate education. Schools, teacher training and the government have all failed to take the necessary action to address this issue.
Ciaran Cannon TD also spoke about the importance of addressing the needs of gifted children, particularly in the context of 21st century education.
Achieving education justice for gifted children is not something that will happen overnight. But it will happen. Hopefully not too many more gifted students will have to trudge through their ‘schooling’ before being able to get an education.