It is easy to be myopic, seeing distinctly at a short distance. In our busy world, it is possible to be so wrapped up in our small worlds that we forget to look up and around and to see how our work connects to the work of others. When this happens, we can lose sight of the “big picture,” and those working to create and sustain it. This is as true in gifted education as it is in other professions.
Coming off of our annual fall conference of The Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted, many of us were made increasingly aware of how our work locally and as a state is part of gifted education nationally and globally. The issues and concerns that we have in our schools and districts are the very same issues that we, as a field, are grappling with nationally and internationally. We need to look up and around to see the issues, to understand the scope of the problem, and the solutions that are being tried.
As I peruse the websites of other state gifted and talented organizations and take note of their keynote speakers and themes of their conferences, it is apparent that we are all focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. A prime example of this was the 68th annual convention of the
National Association for Gifted Children
in Denver, Colorado November 11-14. It featured over 40 workshops devoted to examining the underrepresentation of diverse students in gifted and talented programming, with many workshops devoted to ways to reduce this disparity.
Another way that all organizations are focusing on improving gifted education for all students who need advanced learning opportunities is to improve professional development in our field. Recently the
World Council for Gifted and Talented Children
published a document entitled,
Global Principles for Professional Learning in Gifted Education.
The World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC) is an organization that “provides advocacy and support for gifted children. It is a diverse organization networking the globe with an active membership of educators, scholars, researchers, parents, and others interested in the development and education of gifted and talented children of all ages.”
In the document Global Principles for Professional Learning in Gifted Education, educators, researchers, and scholars from around the world collaborated to produce some guidelines/principles to aid those of us in gifted education globally to help educate others about the needs of gifted students. Dr. Julia Link Roberts, president of WCGTC from 2017-2021 expresses the hopes of her team with these words, “Please share this document with educators, policymakers, professional learning providers, and leaders in teacher preparation programs who are interested in preparing all teachers to appropriately educate gifted and talented children across the globe. Our world will be a better place as we develop children and young people’s talents and potential to the highest levels.”
Briefly, the WCGTC document delves into these principles necessary for excellent professional learning in gifted education:
In our current era, gifted education is increasingly under fire. Dr. Jonathan Plucker, president of NAGC, postulates that this happens about once in a generation, and the scrutiny is deserved and necessary. For this reason, and for so many other reasons, we have a lot of work to do to educate our communities and our world about the needs of our students. We need to look up and around for ideas that are working, and then we need to look down - and focus on implementing concrete and specific actions in our own corners of the world. Focusing simultaneously on the “big picture” and the details of our own situations is imperative, and the time to act is now. A generation of children is counting on us.
Jackie Drummer, Past President and Current Board Advisor
WI Association for Talented and Gifted
(WATG would like to extend a huge thank you to Dr. Martha Aracely Lopez of Milwaukee Public Schools for translating this article into Spanish for our Spanish-speaking families and educators. The translation can be found in our website blogs.)
Gifted in Perspective
A column designed to link the gifted perspective to other perspectives, and to make you think.