The most important resource our country possesses is its children. It is important to develop to their fullest potential the talents, skills, and minds of all children. All students should have opportunities for new learning. Gifted students enter school eager to learn, but they may have specific academic, social, and emotional needs that will be unmet in the regular classroom or curriculum.
Gifted and talented students should be given opportunities to expand their knowledge base and to develop their special talents. True learning is not easy. It requires effort and transformation of the individual. Opportunities are created for individuals to be creative and become problem solvers. Students need to develop the skills, attitudes, and the motivation that will help them become self-directed and independent learners.
Gifted and talented students need opportunities to interact with other children who have similar skills and talents. They need to challenge each other's capabilities and motivate each other to become involved in new areas of study.
The teacher's role ranges from being a dispenser of knowledge to that of a facilitator. A rich learning environment is provided that allows students to pursue their own interests. Counseling is important to provide guidance in self-development, peer relations, and career exploration.
The philosophy of gifted education in Bixby Public Schools speaks specifically to the needs of "every child." Therefore, the school determines to provide for the development of the capabilities of those students who possess a high level of cognitive, affective, or creative capacities. The contribution these students make to society will be directly related to the extent they realize their potential by being challenged. These children require differentiated educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program. Unless giftedness is identified early and nurtured, it will be suppressed as the child attempts to "fit in" with his peers and the child will not learn to utilize the giftedness to its maximum potential.
Rationale for Gifted and Talented Programs and Services
When people say that a gifted child will get along by themselves they perhaps are thinking that creative boys and girls will survive in the classroom, grow to maturity, recede into society, and function as average adults. If that is all that is desired from them and for them, yes, they can get along; but, if it is intended that they live on a productively creative level for the future and serve as catalysts for the world's population in general, decisions must be made about how best to educate and motivate them. Beyond their immediate needs, they must be motivated and inspired to learn the creative joys of not only producing, but of giving and sharing their talents as well.
The decisions now being made on educating the gifted will influence everyone's future. It is crucial to identify these boys and girls as early as possible and help them function comfortably. They need to recognize their gifts and talents, perceive their potential, and make it blossom for themselves.
In-depth studies of the writing of highly creative people show the ultra sensitivity and complexity of their lives and suggest they suffered in trying to come to grips with their talents. Today's gifted and talented people face these same problems and the schools and teachers must be ready to help. Having identified our gifted and talented students, classroom teachers must provide for them in the classroom, planning daily activities that are challenging and mind-stretching and helpful in developing positive attitudes for the future.
While most people aren't gifted, it must be recognized and understood that we all have a tremendous stake in educating those who are. If given the help needed to develop wholesomely and the opportunities to share their talents, it can be anticipated that more productive problem solving will result in the face of the challenges of this great nation.