Preconference Workshops

Preconference workshops will be held on July 24. Abstracts for the workshops may be found below. Each workshop will be limited to 40 participants. You may register for one morning and one afternoon workshop. The cost for each is $50 USD. Lunch will be provided for participants attending both a morning and an afternoon workshop.

Morning Preconference Workshops

Developing a Community of Researchers in Gifted Education: Preconference Workshop for Doctoral Students and Early Career Researchers

Tracy Riley, Massey University

This preconference workshop will facilitate researcher development activities aimed at strengthening the gifted education research community through learning with, from and about each other. During the workshop, we will discuss transferable skills development, sharing opportunities and resources for enhancing communication and collaboration, personal development, research skills, and leadership. Doctoral students and early career researchers will also have the opportunity to share their research amongst a community of peers, network with other early career researchers, and meet with internationally renowned senior researchers in gifted education. In preparation for the conference, we will explore what you can do before, during and after an international event, so as to take maximum advantage of the networking and learning opportunities, including using social media and being socially active. The aim of this pre-conference workshop is to create a researcher community of people who will mutually benefit from maintaining regular contact, supporting and understanding one another’s research, and engaging in peer mentoring. It is hoped that this community will play a critical role in developing a research agenda for gifted education, by getting to know one another, and identifying research trends and needs in the field, as an ongoing special interest group of the World Council.

(Student members can attend this preconference workshop free of charge. Please email headquarters@world-gifted.org for information about registering.)

Engaging Gifted Minds: The Impact of Innovative Curriculum on Young Learners

Christine Deitz and Kristy Kidd, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

What could be better than innovative engineering challenges to engage young learners?  Curriculum that combines those challenges with captivating children’s biographies of inventors whose lives illustrate creative problem-solving and critical thought in action!  This session showcases three engaging engineering challenges paired with award-winning children’s biographies.  Participants will experience effective approaches to teaching literacy such as point-of-view analysis, persuasive writing prompts, and portrait study in addition to delving into the use of the engineering design process to promote problem-solving and critical thinking while engaging talented learners.  Participants will leave with curated links to downloadable curriculum materials and resources.

Mindfulness as a Pathway to Well-being for Gifted Students and their Teachers: Using Mindfulness to Cope with Stress and Anxiety

Dorothy Sisk, Lamar University

Mindfulness is both an ancient and contemporary practice that has support as an evidence-based practice that serves as a coping mechanism for reducing stress and anxiety. Incorporating mindfulness in the classroom has the added benefit of strengthening executive function, enhancing self-awareness and self-regulation, and promoting a sense of self-control and well-being for gifted students. Teachers who use mindfulness practices find that the daily stresses and challenges diminish as they use mindfulness practices to develop a caring and responsive classroom environment. This session will provide specific mindfulness practices combined with practical suggestions for home and school to develop inner awareness and to meet the affective needs of gifted students. This interactive presentation will give participants an opportunity to experience mindfulness practices, share resources, and discuss the results of a research study using mindfulness practices with gifted secondary students.

Motivated to Teach Gifted Students for Talent development: Teacher Motivations, Perceptions, and Pedagogies in Focus

Leonie Kronborg, Monash University

Teachers who teach and support gifted students across talent domains, from a range of schools across the state of Victoria, were given the opportunity to participate in a formal university learning experience. They were taught in cohorts with other experienced teachers, and given the opportunity to discuss and reflect on their knowledge and understandings of teaching gifted students. The Professional Learning unit was adapted to teachers’ needs and was taught in five consecutive years as part of research with experienced teachers of the gifted. These teachers were predominantly from selective learning environments where students had been identified as having high levels of verbal and numeric aptitude, in addition to high academic achievement in verbal and/or mathematical domains. However, some teachers taught individual gifted students identified by psychologists in mixed-ability learning environments, and some students were twice-exceptional. Furthermore, many of the teachers who participated in the Professional Learning were exposed to evidence-based teaching in relation to gifted, creative and talent development research literature for the first time. Research which was conducted each year with the different cohorts of teachers provided opportunities to investigate experienced teacher beliefs, motivations, pedagogy, perceptions, and understandings on various topics, which have implications for future gifted education programs. In this session teachers will have the opportunity to work in pairs or groups and to discuss and reflect on their motivations, pedagogy, and perceptions on diverse topics and to compare their responses to experienced teachers of gifted students found in the students.

Afternoon Preconference Workshops

Addressing the Needs of Twice-Exceptional Students in the Regular Classroom

Eleonoor van Gerven, Slim! Educatief

Twice-exceptional students are gifted and also hindered by a learning and/or a developmental disability. As a result of this, their developmental process is not only influenced by their exceptional abilities, but also by specific inabilities concurrent with them. They show an intrapersonal discrepancy between their IQ and their achievement levels in the disability domain. Although one can focus on a formal classification for being both gifted and having a learning and/or a developmental disability as a primary condition for intervening, we choose to take on a solution-focused and change-oriented approach. This approach means that we do not proceed from a formal classification as a starting point for interventions. Instead, we take the “the Big Bang” as the starting point for interventions. “The Big Bang” is the clash between natural abilities and natural inabilities. This clash limits chances for educational success and necessitates the seeing, acknowledging, and understanding of specific educational needs. It stresses the need for meaningful educational responses. One could see this point of departure as the often-unexplored domain of opportunities in a pre-diagnostic stage. In this session, participants will explore a solutions-focused approach for teachers, based on the concept of RtI and the involvement of the student’s ecological system, to use when coaching twice-exceptional students. Participants (1) will identify the collision between being gifted and having a learning, emotional, or behavioural disability; (2) will explore perspectives of interventions within a student’s ecological system; and (3) Create a series of coherent interventions appropriate to the gaps within the student’s ecological system which are of concern.

Fostering Creativity in the School Setting: Biopsychosocial Factors, Strategies, and Instruments

Sheyla Blumen, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
Denise Fleith, University of Brasilia

Economic, social and cultural arguments have been presented in defense of the promotion of creativity in different contexts of human development, education and performance. To address challenges and overcome threats, it is necessary to recognize emerging realities, anticipate consequences and formulate responses that can turn into innovative products, ideas and connections in a way that contributes to individual and collective wellbeing. A creative response should be new, efficient, appropriate and relevant. This requires not only personal characteristics associated with creativity, but also a psychological and social climate in which recognition, acceptance and encouragement of original production are valued. In this regard, the school is seen as a privileged context of opportunities for creativity to be developed. As it is in this environment that individuals spend most of their lives, it makes sense to emphasize the importance of fostering creative abilities, in several knowledge domains, throughout the school trajectory. In this workshop, we will (a) analyze factors that promote or inhibit the creative expression in the school environment, (b) present cognitive, motivational, and affective strategies for helping teachers to foster students’ creativity, (c) present teaching procedures and practical activities that can be used in the school to enhance creativity, (d) discuss how to promote a creative climate in the classroom, and (d) introduce measures and psychometric instruments to assess the extension to which creativity has been fostered in the classroom.

Harnessing Psychology to Enhance Teaching Gifted, Creative, and Talented Students

Rena Subotnik, American Psychological Association Center for Psychology in Schools and Education
Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Northwestern University Center for Talent Development

The question of whether gifted students learn differently from other students has long plagued the psychology and education communities. On the one hand, the field of gifted education has promoted special programs that capitalize on gifted children’s individual abilities and needs. At the same time, evidence from rigorous studies has supported the notion that gifted children, like their age peers, learn optimally in classrooms that apply proven psychological principles. Psychological science has much to contribute to enhancing K-12 education. Teaching and learning are intricately linked to social and behavioral factors of human development, including cognition, motivation, social interaction, and communication. Psychological science can also provide key insights on effective instruction, classroom environments that promote learning, and appropriate use of assessment, including data, tests, and measurement, as well as research methods that inform practice. Are gifted students unique, or not? In this session the case is made that gifted students may be simultaneously unique from—and the same as—typical students. Gifted students are the same as other students in that their learning hinges on general psychological learning principles. However, to be effective, the application of those principles may be different for gifted students than for their classmates. We will explore examples of the varied ways in which psychology promotes the application of principles based on the needs of special groups of learners.

Help! We’ve Got a Problem: Working with Gifted Children to Address Local Issues through Research Based Initiatives

Niamh Stack, University of Glasgow
Margaret Sutherland, University of Glasgow

We have worked with staff in a number of schools and countries helping them to develop practice for gifted and talented pupils. In our experience, staff have been keen to ensure that the activities and planning they engage in are integrated into their existing practices rather than creating a completely separate and new initiative. We have worked with schools and helped them to develop a systematic approach to independent research-based projects. Independent projects can provide useful autonomy and open-ended opportunities that are good for all learners but in particular for the gifted and talented.  

This session will consider how we can develop practical ideas and activities in ways that avoid unnecessary replication of work for learners and teachers.  Building on work carried out in a primary school that identified health and well-being as an issue, we look at how schools can audit their existing practice using an audit tool that we have developed. We will then move on to consider how we can create a whole school themed event that would raise aspirations and provide opportunities for challenge across age and stage. Using examples from practice, we will explore how we can support children to conduct valid research projects having identified issues within their own communities.

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