I recently returned from a trip out of the country, to beautiful Florence, Italy. Amidst the swath of gelato flavors, Italian cuisine, and historic sites, I remembered a lesson I had been taught. I recalled it after I had the awe-inspiring opportunity to stand before pieces of work done by masters such as Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Botticelli. Seeing these works, the intricacies and the details of generations of study and mastery is... difficult to describe in any tangible way. I will simply say that I have been changed forever because I had the opportunity to become part of their history. As I stood before the statue of Michelangelo’s “David” I had to wonder how a relatively inexperienced 26-year-old was capable of producing such an incredible piece of art. The works of polymath da Vinci had me stunned. The architectural wonders surrounding left me spellbound… these marvels and feats all gave way to one big question. Who mentored these people that were capable of such creativity and handiwork? What was the instructional system that inspired this “renaissance” with lasting results? And now I cannot help but wonder about our present system of raising up new “masters” after seeing what can happen when giftedness meets a mentor and a benefactor. In the times of Michelangelo and da Vinci, students were partnered with mentors, the ones to pass down centuries of study and knowledge for continued scholarship and innovation. These students, under the tutelage of their mentors, were given the chance to learn, hone and perfect their talents. They were also taken under the wing of benefactors who financially supported their learning and endeavors the sake of imagination, creation and knowledge.
So how can we inspire a renaissance for contemporary gifted education? How do we inspire gifted mentors to take on the role of being there for the younger pupils? How do we inspire benefactors like legislators, businesses, and corporations to invest in gifted education and support these students? Right now, we have the opportunity to be ambassadors for a “renaissance” in gifted education. I challenge you to continue (or start) asking the questions and building relationships for the sake of our gifted youth as an ambassador for them. A gifted education renaissance is within our reach, when together we raise up this new generation of “masters”. Will you join us?
From the President
"At the beginning of the training process for gifted and regular classroom teachers, they need to learn the skills of the trade."