Author: Justine Hughes
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Last week saw the exciting announcement from the government around increased recognition and funding for gifted education. Dr Tracy Riley of Massey University has blogged about the latest developments and provided a succinct background of the history of provision for our gifted learners over the past 20+ years in her blog – Gifted Learners: The Heart of the Matter. This is recommended reading and focuses on what is needed in order for provisions to be successful – and equitable for our learners. As in the title, the learners are the focus of Dr Riley’s post.
To give another side or perspective to the recent announcements, this post will focus on what is needed in order for educators to meet the needs of this unique group of students.
PROFESSIONAL LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
What do Teachers Really Need?
What’s on Offer so Far?
Te Kete Īpurangi (TKI) – This is continuing to be updated and provides a wealth of professional learning and development resources for schools and other professionals. It’s exciting to see the changes on the site and I would absolutely recommend this as one of your resources to add to your tool box or kete.
Awards for Gifted Learners – this new initiative will provide opportunities for gifted learners to undertake special and unique learning opportunities either on their own or as part of a group.
Increased funding for One-day Schools (MindPlus through the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education, NZCGE) – these exciting learning environments provide a tried and trusted experience for learners to be challenged in their learning. They provide a crucial environment where like-minds can connect. This is a key aspect of provision for the social and emotional development of our gifted learners. There is also a wealth of resources available for Professional Learning and Development (PLD) from this organisation.
Other PLD is able to be accessed through the Network of Expertise – Gifted Aotearoa, a collaboration between some of the main organisations involved in gifted education in this country (REACH Education, NZCGE, NZAGC). These organisations, along with giftEDnz are access points to invaluable PLD. They are currently offering a range of initiatives but how do we as professionals take responsibility to sustain this learning once we’ve finished a course, qualification or programme?
The key idea here is taking responsibility for our own learning – just as we expect our younger learners to do. These PLD provisions will only be as effective as possible if there is sustainability built into what is offered but it is unfair to leave it solely to the organisations involved. This is where communities of practice, particularly blended CoPs that offer asynchronous learning (any time, any where learning) and learning that is owned by its members, really come into their own.