Aims and Implications of Gifted Development Programmes
The aim set by the Education Commission for education in Hong Kong is to allow every student to attain all-round development according to his/her own attributes in the moral, intellectual, physical, social and aesthetic domains, so that he/she is capable of life-long learning, critical and exploratory thinking, innovating and adapting to change; filled with self-confidence and a team spirit; willing to put forward continuing effort for the prosperity, progress, freedom and democracy of his/her society, and contribute to the future and well-being of the nation and the world at large.
Based on the achievement of the above aim, the design of gifted development programmes is oriented towards classifying and satisfying the special needs of gifted students. The programmes are well-planned and systematic, aiming to modify the activities, level and environment of learning in a way that helps gifted students achieve the following objectives in the areas of cognitive powers, skills and attitudes:
Independent study skills
Good interpersonal relationships
A well-balanced personality
A spirit of serving the community
Gifted education should aim at attaining all-round development of gifted students in a holistic and well-balanced way.
Gifted education programmes (including formal and informal curriculum) are a series of organised, systematic and meaningful internal or external activities and experiences that are offered to gifted students by their schools.
Since the implementation of universal education, all schools have designed their curricula mainly according to the core curriculum suggested by the Education Commission. This generally caters only to the abilities and needs of ordinary students, and may not satisfy the learning needs of gifted ones. An effective gifted education curriculum is based on the normal class curriculum, but with appropriate modifications that accord with the characteristics of gifted students and meet their requirements.
Basically, gifted and ordinary students have more similarities than dissimilarities. Therefore, the ordinary curriculum is also applicable to gifted students, although there should be slight differences in content and learning methods. Schools should modify the content of their curriculum, as well as their method of teaching and learning, according to the special abilities, characteristics and needs of their gifted students. This is intended to deepen, enrich and streamline the content and to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of teaching and learning.
To meet the different characteristics and learning needs of gifted students, gifted education programmes should cover the following areas:
Content of learning
The depth and breadth of the curriculum should undergo qualitative changes or modifications that allow students to study their areas of interest in a deeper and more comprehensive way.
The learning process should provide more room for independent learning and open learning activities, encourage students to engage more in divergent thinking, and allow them to choose the learning content and individual ways of expression that suits their interests and abilities. Learning activities should be capable of guiding them to discover what to learn through the method of deduction and reasoning. This will help them form concepts, laws and principles that allow them to develop their higher-order thinking ability.
Learning results should not be limited to the collection of data; they should also include the transformation of information, i.e. analysis, restructuring and representation of the data they have collected. Self-evaluation by students themselves should also be encouraged.
Targets of Gifted Education
The concept of gifted education is that every student has different potentials and characteristics. When these are identified and developed, he/she will be able to demonstrate his/her outstanding abilities.
The universal gifted education curriculum and implementation methods benefit all students (not only gifted ones) and enhance the quality of universal education.
Gifted education is therefore not limited to gifted students. According to the three-tiered implementation mode of gifted education formulated by the Education Department in 2000 (please refer to the policy document on gifted education in Hong Kong), the targets for each individual level are different.
Relationship between the targets of gifted education and
the three-tiered implementation mode
A：Integrating the three core elements of gifted education, i.e. higher-order thinking skills, creativity and personal-social competence, into the curriculum of regular classrooms for all students.
B：Enriching and extending the curriculum across all subjects, and differentiating teaching through appropriate grouping of students to meet the different needs of the groups in regular classrooms.
C：Conducting pull-out programmes of generic nature outside the regular classroom to allow systematic training for a homogeneous group of students.
D：Conducting pull-out programme in specific areas (e.g. Maths, Arts, etc.) outside the regular classroom to allow systematic training for students with outstanding performance in specific areas.
Levels one and two are both school-based support service. By implementing School-based Gifted Development Programmes, schools can cater for students with outstanding performances or achievements in certain areas, and create a learning environment that is conducive to nurturing their talents.
|Level of Implementation||Targets||Methods of Identification|
Level 1 A
|‧ All students||o No need to identify|
Level 1 B
|‧ Students with outstanding performances in certain subjects or particular domains||o Internal assessment/exam|
o Target-oriented assessment
o Observation checklist for teachers and parents
Level 2 C
‧ Academic achievers: students with distinguished academic performances in either internal assessments or the HKAT
‧ Special talents: students who excel or score achievements in creativity, leadership or other domains (not limited to academic subjects)
‧ Students with high intellectual ability o Internal assessment/exam
|o Target-oriented assessment|
o Observation checklist for teachers and parents
o Outstanding performance awards held in or outside schools
o Student work
o Grade-skipping tests
Level 2 D
‧Students with excellent attainments in certain specialized areas, e.g. Maths and Science, in the HKAT or internal assessments.
‧Students showing remarkable ability and intense interest about certain specialised areas inside or outside school
|o The identification method is similar to that for Level II C, yet it focuses on distinguished performance within specialised areas.|
Level 3 E
|‧Exceptionally gifted students whose schools fail to satisfy their learning needs||o Nomination by teachers in accordance with the EDB's criteria (e.g. extraordinary characteristics/ performances/ abilities in certain areas); and selected by a specialist panel.|
Considering the resources available and characteristics of their students, schools can plan their own curriculum category, teaching mode (such as group teaching or pull-out approach), and the number of participating students.
Regarding target students and the three-tier education support measures, please refer to the Appendix
Characteristics and Learning Needs of Gifted Students
Characteristics of gifted students
Teachers should note and understand the performances and characteristics of students with subject potential, and tailor-make a curriculum to meet their needs. [Examples of gifted students' achievements in different areas].
|Academically Gifted |
Generally speaking, the students' childhood development are earlier and faster than those of their peers
Strong ability in concentration Students with high level of intelligence may not outperformed others in other domains (such as physical strength and social competence), therefore, their performance in these domains may not coincide with their level of intelligence
Some students may also demonstrate leadership
Stronger language sense than ordinary students
Strong ability in comprehension
Their works demonstrate rich imagination, distinctive use of vocabulary and innovative sentence structure.
Process sense of humour
Their works are vividly written and can portray the characters' personality
- Good visual memory
- Strong curiosity
- Rich imagination
- Sharp responses to surrounding people and things
- Highly creative
- Highly focused
- Enjoy participating in creative activities
- Pursue new trend and things
Able to manipulate abstract ideas and their correlations
Able to handle fine operation and demonstrate good eye-hand coordination
Persistent in pursuing their interested topics and issues
Enjoy fact-finding, searching for causes and explaining related principles
Not easy to become frustrated due to failures in trials
Show keen interest in science-related books and subjects
Enjoy collecting things
Possess above-average ability in mathematics
Possess relatively higher level of intelligence
Their learning progress exceed that of ordinary students
Demonstrate high level of comprehension power in mathematics
Interested in figures and signs
Enjoy abstract thinking
Manipulate easily mathematic concepts
Feel bored to learn by means of memorization or drilling
Able to find shortcuts to solve problems
Able to adopt flexible and multiple approaches to solve mathematic problems
Other reference materials on the characteristics of gifted students
Suggestions of Guiding Students with Various Characteristics
|Student's Characteristics ||Suggestions|
- Excellent intelligence
Strong comprehension ability
Often feel bored and day-dream during lessons, and occasionally create troubles in class
Academic result does not match his/her abilities
Give more appreciation and encouragement
Design learning materials to meet his/her abilities and interests
Arrange challenging activities and encourage the student to actively participate in lessons
Discuss with the student to formulate appropriate learning objectives
- High-ability or gifted
Excellent development in cognitive aspect, showing a significant gap from his/her average physical or emotional development.
Recognise his/her difference from other peers. He/She may seek peer's acceptance or deliberately hide his/her abilities.
Comparatively sensitive and easy to be excited.
More or less a perfectionist or pursue perfection persistently
Help the student understand and accept himself/herself to establish a positive self-image.
Provide parents with counselling services so that a reasonable expectation can be attained by both the parents and the student.
Assist the student to build up supportive social networks by arranging like-minded students to sit together or join the same group
Encourage the student to participate in the extra-curricular activities which suit his/her interests and strengths
Provide training in social skills
Ask the counsellor to provide support to the student when necessary
|Students C |
High curiosity. Interested in everything around.
Like to engage in unconventional activities; hate to do learning tasks with "model answers"; refuse to follow the classroom rules; always give exceptional answers.
Ask a lot of questions during lessons and often inquire the details of everything, affecting the teaching progress.
Good sense of humour
Use more open questions and teaching techniques
Provide learning tasks in which the student can exercise creativity
Discuss with the student about the reasons and spirits behind the rules and the consequences of breaking the rules individually. Help him/her understand the values of social rules (e.g. observe parking regulations and various rules and regulations)
rrange after-school activities so that the student can explore the topics of his/her own interests, provided that it will not affect normal teaching progress
Praise the student's humorous performance at the right time.
Strategies to meet the needs of gifted students
- Proposed curriculum adjustments for gifted students:
Since gifted students have their own characteristics and learning needs, teachers should adjust the depth, breadth, teaching materials and teaching methodology of the content of the basic curriculum in order to satisfy their needs.
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Principles and Mode of Curriculum Design
The curriculum design (including the choice of teaching materials, approaches and teaching aids) should be in line with the characteristics and needs of all students, so as to fulfil the goal of nurturing the development of students' thinking, affective and other skills [see Characteristics and Learning Needs of Gifted Students]. In addition, schools should make good use of both internal and external resources to provide ideal learning opportunities for students [please refer to Chapter 5].
For the practice of gifted education, please refer to the three-tiered implementation mode for gifted education in Hong Kong. For instance, schools may first conduct enrichment programmes in regular classrooms, and employ teaching methods that correspond to the characteristics of their gifted students. Then, they may arrange general or specialised pull-out programmes to satisfy the learning needs of such students.
There is an interactive relationship between the target, content, learning and teaching strategy [please refer to "Learning & Teaching Strategy and the Learning Process"] and the assessment and evaluation method of gifted education programme.
Design Framework of the School-based Gifted Programme
Initially, schools should determine the curriculum's area, depth, breadth and teaching and learning schedule based on students' characteristics, abilities and needs.
Contents should be based on the following criteria:
Importance of the topic
Is it challenging for gifted students?
Is it closely related to the reality of society?
Is it interesting?
The instructor's familiarity with the topic
Basic requirements of knowledge and ability in a curriculum suitable for gifted students:
Before effectively planning the curriculum for gifted students, a curriculum developer should first understand the standards of knowledge and ability in the ordinary curriculum.
The developer should then tailor a curriculum for gifted students according to their characteristics and abilities.
The sequence and scope of the curriculum should cater for the characteristics and needs of those students.
Learning and teaching strategies, and the learning process
The gifted curriculum should target at developing students' higher-order thinking skills, creativity, personal and social competence, problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, etc. The curriculum developer should note whether those skills have been fostered in students during the learning process.
The curriculum should also emphasise the students' ability to transfer and apply knowledge to other areas.
Effective learning and teaching strategies include:
Building a supportive learning atmosphere
Using interactive learning and teaching strategies, such as group discussions of various styles (grouped by ability or mixed ability)
Stimulating higher-order thinking via open-ended questions
Diversifying the teaching style
Providing students with greater flexibility and more choice
Encouraging critical thinking
Encouraging students to ask questions and think independently
Cultivating students' initiative learning ability
Adopting an approach that encourages creative thinking
Developing students' problem-solving skills
Allowing students to learn according to their own interests and orientation
Employing multiple assessment methods that facilitate learning effectively
Topics and strategies should place equal stress on knowledge, affection and skill [please refer to Characteristics and Learning Needs of Gifted Students].
Multiple intelligences should be emphasised [please refer to figure 2.3
]. The curriculum should not focus on cultivating one or two intelligences only.
Sensible uses of activities and resources
An ideal curriculum should include individual, class, and group activities.
Textbooks should not restrict the contents of activities.
Diversified resources should be used.
Activities and resources should be arranged in accordance with students' needs, abilities and teaching targets.
Assessment of the learning effectiveness
Since learning outcome should be the product of a curriculum, it is important that it also serves as a tool for assessing the learning effectiveness.
When making decisions about exercises and learning outcome for students, the curriculum developer should consider the following questions:
Do all gifted students have to participate in uniform exercises?
Should learning outcome be produced individually or in a group?
Should the teacher or students guide the selection of topics?
How many class periods and how much extra-curricular time should be allowed for students to produce learning results?
What new knowledge and skills can a student acquire in the process of producing learning outcome?
Multiple assessment methods can be used, including appropriate feedback and continuous assessment, student self-assessment and peer assessment, to facilitate learning and assess learning effectiveness. Assessment modes should be flexible and compatible with the abilities of gifted students, in order to cater for their distinctive needs [please refer to Chapter 5
Curriculum Design Model
A. Curriculum Enrichment
Content-oriented: intensify and expand contents for learning.
Process-oriented: enhance training in all skills and learning strategies.
Outcome-oriented: affective education and vocational guidance.
Intensification system: in-depth exploration of certain themes.
Independent style: summer camp, weekend camp, etc.
The curriculum enrichment takes many forms. Among them, the Enrichment Triad Model
by Renzulli (1985) is the most recognised and widely adopted. The three-tiered framework mode of Hong Kong gifted education is also designed with reference to this curriculum model. In addition, the Autonomous Learner Model
by Betts (1985) coincides with the "learning to learn" concept advocated in the curriculum reform. Its contents also correspond with the situation in Hong Kong. This model may certainly serve as reference.
B. Curriculum Acceleration
Enrichment, acceleration, compaction and individualised educational programmes should not be conducted separately. Instead, they should be regarded as a complete set of curriculum ideas to cater for gifted students.
Curriculum Content and Learning and Teaching Strategies
Three Core Elements of Gifted Education
According to the Hong Kong Gifted Education Policy formulated by the then Education Department in 2000, one aspect of promoting gifted education is to incorporate the three core elements of gifted education (i.e. higher-order thinking skills, creativity and personal-social competence) into the curriculum. The curriculum contents are as follows:
Higher-order Thinking Skills
Higher-order thinking skills refer to organising thinking skills that can be learned through practice into a set of systematic thinking strategies. These strategies are drawn on to process the information just received and the knowledge stored in students' memories. When selecting techniques and organising strategies, they would frequently reflect on the entire thinking process, to fulfil the goal of monitoring and assessing it.
According to Bloom's Taxonomy (1956), the following six thinking techniques are conducive to the development of higher-order thinking.
store information in the long-term memory system for future use
collect information to facilitate sorting
Comprehension: Understand known information (including reading information, discriminating known information, paying attention to sources of information, etc.)
Application: Use known information (How to use? How to screen? How to focus?)
Analysis: Analyse known information, examine details and relations
Synthesis: Combine relevant components
Assessment: Assess the rationality and quality of certain ideas
Other techniques conducive to developing higher-order thinking:
Comparison: compare information; thoroughly understand its similarities and differences
Classification: classify information
Derivation: convert information and apply it freely to other domains
Exemplars of Common Thinking Skills for Primary and Secondary School Curriculum
|Subject||Examples||Cases||Thinking Skills |
|Collect information of a particular writer||Collect information of Luxun||Knowledge/|
|Compile information of a particular writer's works||Compile the information of Luxun's works||Apply/ Synthesis|
|Analyse characters||Analyse Lin Daiyu's character||Analysis|
|Compare two characters||Compare Lin Daiyu with Shi Baochai||Compare|
|Analyse different genres||Analyse genres of an argumentation||Analysis|
|Compare different genres||Compare the forms of 4-line (Jue shi) classical poems to 8-line classical poems (Lu Shi)||Compare|
|Classify different types of writings||Identify a narrative essay that you have learned before||Classify|
|Comment on a particular character in a novel||Comment on a novel's character: Huang Yaoshi||Assess|
|Sum up the main theme of a text||Sum up the main theme of the article "Da Ming Hu"||Synthesis|
|Collect information of a particular historical figure||Collect information about Emperor Qin Shi Huang.||Knowledge/|
|Compile a particular historical figure's profile||Compile Napoleon's profile||Apply/Synthesis|
|Analyse the causes for a particular historical figure's success/failure||Analyse the causes for Liu Bang's success and Xiang Yu's failure||Analysis|
|Analyse the causes for the rise and fall of different dynasties||Analyse the causes for the rapid fall of Qin dynasty||Analysis|
|Compare the political regimes of different dynasties||Compare the examination systems of Han and Tang dynasties||Comparison|
|Compare the contents of different political reforms||Compare the contents of political reforms initiated by Fan Zhongyan and Wang Anshi||Comparison|
|Comment on a particular historical figure||Comment on Hitler||Assess diplomatic|
|Compare the diplomacy of two countries||Compare the diplomacy China and Japan||Comparison|
|State briefly the essential qualities of a successful figure||State briefly the essential qualities of a successful figure with your knowledge of history||Derivation|
|State the causes of decline and fall of a dynasty||State the causes of decline and fall of a dynasty with your knowledge of history||Derivation|
|Social Studies ||Collect news reports of a particular category||Collect news reports on Avian Flu||Knowledge/|
|Analyse statements of a particular political party||Analyse The Democratic Party's views on a particular policy||Analysis|
|Comment on the credibility of a particular piece of news reports||Comment on the credibility of a news report in a magazine||Analysis/|
|Discuss a particular concept of values||Discuss the issue of legal football gambling||Analysis/|
|Collect information of a particular living creature||Collect information of whales||Knowledge/|
|Sort out information of a particular living creature||Sort out information about panda||Application/|
|Analyse and assess the influence of genetic modification||Analyse the influence of genetically-modified food on human beings||Analysis/|
|Assess the pros and cons of cloning||Assess the pros and cons of human cloning||Analysis/|
|Classify living creatures||Distinguish ovipara from vivipara living creatures||Classification|
|Solve some scientific problems||Ways of preventing the breeding of gems||Application/|
|Mathematics||Classify particular concepts of Mathematics||Identify prime numbers||Classification|
|Apply the acquired mathematic knowledge||Students to design a symmetric diagram by themselves after they have learnt the axis-symmetric concept||Derivation|
|Solve some arithmetic problems||How to divide a square into 4 equal parts by using a straight line only||Application/|
i) Poem appreciation
Draw a picture of a given poem, in order to strengthen students' ability in comprehension.
i) Poem appreciation
Poem appreciation of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "A Psalm of Life" and draw a picture of some scenes in the poem.
|i) Understanding |
ii) A Detective Game
Students are given some clues of a crime (e.g. murder). Then they have to analyse the clues to find out who the murderer is in their groups.
ii) A Detective Game
Students are given some clues of the story "The Murder on the Orient Express" and try to work out the murderer(s) in groups, followed by group presentation in front of the class.
|ii) Understanding, |
Thinking strategy refers to deliberately and systematically using certain thinking skills to contemplate constructively.
- Decision-making strategy
- identify the target
- confirm the feasible work plans
- analyse the characteristics of each work plan
- arrange work plans in sequence
- choose the best work plan
- Problem-solving strategy
- identify the problem
- understand the problem
- devise a solution plan
- carry out the work plan
- assess the effectiveness of the work plan
- Concept construction
- identify the sample
- seek out generic traits
- categorise those traits
- distinguish more samples and non-samples
- enhance the traits of the concept
Monitoring of Thinking – Metacognition
Simply speaking, metacognition is thinking about the course of one's own thinking.
To monitor, plan and adjust one's own thinking course, understand why one applies a certain thinking skill or mechanically chooses a certain thinking strategy. Consequently, to decide on the most appropriate action to reach the working or learning target.
Metacognition is important in learning because:
it helps one to know the scope of one's own understanding
it evaluates one's decision, problem-solving method and process
it reflects on the function and effectiveness of one's thinking
as such, it enables one to grasp that thinking mode firmly, and industriously complete one's task
Teaching strategy examples for higher-order thinking
Suggested Handling Skills / Remarks
Reading of a Textbook Article
Self-designed Questions – students are required to ask questions based on the content of the article so as to enhance their thinking skills
Some students may raise some "factual" questions while some may raise "conceptual" questions.
Teachers should be open-minded. They should also encourage students to propose different types of questions. Teachers should also accept those differences.
Where do Hong Kong people like traveling most?
By using "Decision- making Square Matrix" strategy to decide the venue for traveling so as to teach students to analyse problems from different perspectives.
After deciding to use the method of "Decision-making Square Matrix", students may ask: Is each decision condition of equal importance?
Since decision conditions are different, students may discuss among themselves the importance of each condition.
Different Types of Food
Students use brainstorming technique to list out and categorise different types of food. Through this training, students' fluency and classification skills can thus be enhanced.
Food is classified into "five cereals" and "drinks" by the majority of students. However, some creative students with good originality may classify food as "party food", "diet food" or "food that my mum wants me to eat" etc.
The skill of classification may not necessarily be exactly the same as that in the curriculum. More importantly, through pointing out the reasons and principles of classification, students' thinking skills will be enhanced.
The Rise and Fall of Roman Empire
Students are guided to use the 6-W technique to ask questions related to Rome. Through this activity, students will learn various methods of asking questions and thinking.
Students may ask: I have already familiarized myself with the content of the text. Why do I have to ask questions?
Not only questions about the content of the text are asked to stimulate students' thinking, teachers may also ask questions not covered in the textbook but are related to the topic.For example, the fall of the Roman Emperor can be compared to which country/countries in the world today?
Comment on the Merit and Demerit of Historical Characters
Students give comments on historicalcharacters through neutral, emotional, negative, optimistic, creative and critical angles so that they are trained to analyse problems from different perspectives.
What should teachers do when the majority of students comment on historical characters from the same single angle?
Teachers should consider promoting "Mutli-angle Thinking" when students comment on a historical character negatively. Teachers may ask: "Is/ Are there any other angle(s) for analysis?
Students present their work to the rest of the class who are asked to give feedback
The rest of the class follows the "PMI" method when giving feedback (Plus, Minus, Interesting) To enhance students' critical thinking
Students asked: "What can we do with the interesting point(s)?"
Teacher could respond as follows: "Write them down in your book. One day, you may find that these points may help you solve some problems."
- Creativity refers to
- Expanding mastered skills, and applying them to new environments
- Confronting problems with original strategies
- Continuously seeking answers to questions that have no apparent solutions
- Elaborating on the established theories or information
- Trying to solve problems with different solutions
Creative thinking is an ability that usually consists of several basic skills of divergent thinking, such as sensitivity, fluency, flexibility, originality, elaboration, etc. An assessor may evaluate such skills by means of test tools or observations. The creative thinking approach aims to develop the fluency, flexibility, originality and elaborative skills of students, so that they can solve the problems they encounter.
People have an acute sense of perceiving things. They have the ability to detect omissions, modifications, things yet to be done, and unusual or unfinished processes. In other words, they display sensibility towards problems or things. For instance, a student may swiftly notice the alterations a teacher has made to an assignment, or may be quick to get to the heart of something.
Fluency is the ability to make many suggestions, to react promptly, and to enable new ideas to constantly emerge. Fluency is reflected in a ready pen, eloquent speech, an agile movement, etc.
Flexibility is the ability to change thinking modes, to expand one's thinking style, and think outside the box. A person who is flexible will categorise or contemplate different things from various viewpoints. He or she has the ability to transform concepts, things and habits, can learn by analogy, and can judge the whole from the part.
Originality is the ability to offer extraordinary answers and novel ideas. An original person does unexpected or unconventional things.
Elaboration is a supplementary concept that uses raw thoughts or basic notions to expand new ideas, add interesting details, and incorporate them into a relevant cluster of concepts. It is the ability to improve continuously, and to make what is already good even better.
Personal-social competence refers to a student's personal and social development ability. This includes:
A student's attitude towards himself or herself, such as self-perception;
A student's attitude towards others, such as relationships with peers, parents and elders;
A student's convictions, values and concerns about society.
Many believe the demand of gifted students for personal-social competence education is lower than that of their average counterparts. This is not true. Academics Davis & Rimm (1997) and Silverman (1993) both point out that the more outstanding a gifted student is, the more likely he or she will encounter maladjustments in emotions and interpersonal relationships. Consequently, developing personal-social competence is absolutely important for gifted students.
To design and practise personal-social competence development in the curriculum for gifted students, it is necessary to understand their demand for personal-social competence education at the outset.
When growing, gifted students are more mentally developed than their peers. However, their emotional and physical development may not match their intellectual development. Therefore, they may encounter different forms of mental disturbance from average students.
Items for attention when developing gifted students' personal-social competence in school include:
It should match the school's overall environment and climate.
Proper guidance should be given, taking students' mental condition into account. The method could be a whole-class approach, group approach or pull-out approach.
Those responsible for guiding gifted students should not be exclusively guidance masters or school social workers; teachers should also be included. Among the latter, class teachers can play an especially important role, since they are closely connected with students, and they should be the best-qualified people to assist those with various developmental disturbances. When teachers devise individual or socialised teaching plans for gifted students, the guidance master and school social worker may participate in the process, in order to bring into play the spirit of the whole-school approach.
Curriculum content should include the common core curriculum for average students, plus a curriculum designed especially with the affective characteristics of gifted students in mind. It may cover topics such as understanding your talent, accepting yourself as a gifted student, setting reasonable expectations for yourself, how to face failures or setbacks, etc.
Schools should systematically prepare a personal-social competence development curriculum that sets a central theme for gifted students, and then expands around it. For instance, if the central theme is emotional management, the teaching contents may revolve around: (1) How to deal with your own differences, (2) Failure, (3) Self-expectations, (4) The expectations of others about you, (5) Pressure-alleviating skills, (6) Mentally and physically relaxing skills, (7) Problem-solving skills, (8) Addressing confrontation, etc. Teachers can also employ the spiralling cycles approach to explain the same themes, from the easy to the difficult, and let students learn repetitively. For example, teachers may design an "Understand yourself" curriculum with increased depth and breadth to match the developmental course, characteristics and needs of students.
Teachers should conduct the contents of the personal-social competence development curriculum in a flexible way. They can compile their own appropriate topics to suit the actual circumstances and needs of their gifted students. For instance, if a gifted student is emotionally disturbed due to an unexpected incident, teachers have to make suitable adjustments and modifications in a flexible way, and incorporate relevant contents when necessary.
Contents of the personal-social competence development curriculum for gifted students.
The curriculum should be student-oriented and then expanded to encompass the outside world. The target is to allow students to understand themselves first, then establish good relationships with family and peers, and subsequently care for society.
Suggested Content of Affective Education Programme
| ||Teaching Topics||Suggested Teaching Content|
- Understanding gifted talent
- Unbalanced development
- Self-restriction and Self-Acceptance
- Others' expectation on myself
- Fear of failure
- Sense of compunction
- Facing pressure
- Level of sensitivity
- Degree of Tolerance
- Peer pressure
- Aggressiveness and adaptation
|Clarification of Values||Rights and Duties |
- Good relationships with peers
- Relationships with brothers and sisters
- Building a good relationship with the family
- Social skills
- Conflict-solving skills
- Communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
|Leadership skills||Leadership skills and decision-making skills|
- Understanding the society
- Care about the society
|Career Counseling||Career Planning|
|Accepting||Teach students to understand their emotional reactions.|
|Reacting||Teach students to react upon their emotions properly.|
|Evaluating||Teach students to evaluate their emotional reactions in order to achieve consistent behavioral reactions.|
|Organising||Train students to categorise various related values, and then organise them systematically to avoid mutual conflicts.|
|Character Forming||Train students to establish their own values or philosophies of life based on the categorised values so that their words and deeds are governed by values.|
Subject/Specialised Area Curriculum
Whole-class Subject Teaching (Level 1 B)
Pull-out Subject/Specialised Area Curriculum (Level 2 D)
When arranging this curriculum, teachers may refer to the performance of students in Level 1 B, and select outstanding ones to participate in the 2 D pull-out approach curriculum.
Teachers may also consider adopting other selection methods, such as teachers' nominations, volunteered students, peer selection, parents' nominations, students' work, interviews, standardised tests or assessment tools.
Immersion (Level 1 A) and General Enrichment Programmes (Level 2 C)
Core elements of gifted education should be integrated into the class step-by-step.
Teachers should review the curriculum, find out which topics can be integrated into their teaching, and which can either be skipped or enriched.
- Lesson Preparation Stage
- Teachers should determine the teaching target and content.
- They should select appropriate core elements of gifted education, in line with the traits of subject and task; and adopt an immersion approach.
- Teachers may consider integrating core elements of gifted education into three aspects: subject content, teaching strategy and teaching environment. They may also employ the integration approach in just one or two aspects, in a manner that is consistent with the task trait.
- Subject content - this refers to the content and knowledge of the subject curriculum that is to be taught, usually in the following cases:
- The subject content and core elements of gifted education are related.
- The subject content and gifted education have no direct relationship, but the scope exists to develop one.
- The subject content is very distinctive and makes immersion difficult.
|Content Types||Examples |
|A teaching session on "Self-understanding" in Secondary 1 Social Studies|
While students are taught to understand themselves, teachers may also take into account some special needs of higher-ability students, by introducing the component of personal development into the process of teaching.
|After basic dancing skills are taught in Physical Education|
Students may be asked to create their own dancing steps and teach other students.
|Mathematics – Teaching of Geometry|
Teachers may find it comparatively difficult to help students grasp the concept. Teachers may adopt open-ended questions and accept various question-solving strategies proposed by students. Teachers may also design open answers, rather than pushing students to find a "correct" model answer
- Teaching Strategy – this refers to teaching methodology; for instance, a "conceptual map" is used to explain higher-order thinking skills.
- and teaching environment
- Teachers' attitudes should be open, earnest, sincere, and ready to trust and accept.
- The classroom learning climate should be:
- More encouraging
- Less critical
- Offering students an opportunity to work independently
- Creating an atmosphere where students accept positive and specific feedback
- Providing students with chances to collaborate at opportune moments
- As for the actual classroom environment, teachers should:
- Arrange space (both inside and outside classroom)
- Allow sufficient time for activity and thinking
- Prepare suitable instructional materials
Teachers may choose between instant assessment and after-lesson assessment during the teaching process, to see whether students can put what they have learnt into practice.
- Classroom Implementation Stage
- Teachers should explicitly point out the learning abilities (or the core elements of gifted education previously mentioned) brought forward by the objective, contents and targets of the subject being taught, as well as their relative importance.
- Students should engage in learning activities and applications in line with the prepared contents. Teachers may adapt the contents according to students' feedback.
- When the teaching activity is finished, teachers should guide students to reflect on the learning process, such as their technique, process, effectiveness, etc.
- Assessment Stage
- After integrating the core elements of gifted education into classroom teaching, teachers have to carry out assessments. Evaluation criteria may include the curriculum content, learning process, and students' learning outcome. They may conduct assessment from the following dimensions:
- Instant assessment: can students apply the skills they have learnt in that period?
- After-lesson assessment: the performance of students in assignments and exercises.
- Daily application: can students apply the skills they have learnt in future learning activity and everyday life?
- Assessment methods: multiple methods should be used, such as class or after-lesson assignments, teachers' observations (with a relevant observation checklist), student reflection records, and a student portfolio for assessments
Programme Enrichment and Extension Concept Diagram.
Individualised teaching is a method that is oriented towards the interests of students, and enhances their knowledge and skill training.
When practising individualised teaching, teachers should note that:
The design of the individualised education plan is oriented towards the learning needs of individual students.
The potential of gifted students should be fully developed by formulating short and long-term educational aims, learning steps, activities and reviews that take into account the performance of students' in multiple areas (e.g. intellectual ability and attainment). Teachers must review their progress regularly, to ensure that the programme is effectively carried out and assessed. The assessment may tell them about the percentage of students who reach the expected standards, thus enabling them to make appropriate revisions to the programme.
Diversified methods should be adopted to assess student performance. They include activity participation, exercise, oral presentations, assessment forms, everyday class observations, and the opinions of parents or experts.
Assessment standards are objective, clear and definite.
The single-mode assessment may be inaccurate; and that continuous assessment must be adopted.
As we all know, gifted students tend to learn faster than average students. Consequently, the learning schedule, approach and content of the formal curriculum usually cannot satisfy their needs. For them, a formal curriculum progresses slowly and lacks challenges. Very often, they are required to spend a lot of time doing exercises they are already familiar with. As a result, they cannot bring their potential into full play, or they may even lose interest in learning. To tackle this problem, many teachers cater for these students by compacting a certain part of the formal curriculum, and incorporating more challenging learning activities into it. Western educators like Renzulli and others have summed up these experiences and put forward a set of "curriculum compacting" ideas.
Curriculum compacting refers to a design mode that systematically compacts the formal curriculum. On the one hand, it addresses the needs of gifted students with a faster learning pace, while on the other hand, it saves them time, thereby creating a greater degree of autonomy in learning. Students may participate in some challenging substitute curriculum that accords with their personal interests and learning ability. In that way, they can study certain topics in greater depth and breadth. There are many documents on the compaction mode of curriculum design. Among them, the most familiar are the theories of Renzulli (1988) and Reis, Burns & Renzulli (1992).Objectives
Processes – these are divided into three basic stages:
Establishing the objectives and targets of formal curriculum
Identifying students who have already reached the targets
Providing those students with an original as well as inspiring curriculum or activity
Steps – the three stages above can then be divided into eight steps:
Setting learning targets for individual subjects
Finding or designing suitable methods to pre-test these targets
Identifying students who should take the test in advance
Prior to instruction, using after-lesson exercises to pre-test students on one or two targets
Adjusting homework, exercise and hours of instruction for students who have reached relevant learning targets
Providing various suitable teaching modes for those students who fail to reach all pre-test targets, but who learn at a quicker pace than the others
Nurturing students who meet the requirements with an enhanced or accelerated learning mode
Recording available teaching modes and students' learning progress
Which students may need curriculum compacting?
Those who often finish tasks and exercises assigned by teachers within a short time
Those who read materials faster than others
Those who are impatient when listening to a teacher's explanation of a text
Those who are always daydreaming
Those who create games, puzzles and riddles by themselves
Those who display a high standard of performance in certain academic areas
Those who score well in tests and examinations, despite an unsatisfactory performance in classroom
Those whose excellent command of information is indicated by the questions they ask
Those whose assistance is often sought by their classmates
Those who express themselves with an above-average vocabulary or sentences
Those who show a keen interest in probing difficult topics
Which learning and teaching strategies can be implemented in curriculum compacting?
In curriculum compating, teachers may implement different learning and teaching strategies, or even synchronise several of them, e.g. by adopting a project learning or mentorship approach, or by combining two or more teaching and learning strategies.
[Please refer to the appendix " Curriculum Compacting Planning Form Sample
" and " Course Compaction Planning Form Exemplar
Allowing students to learn how to find answers or solve problems by themselves via an interest probe, research method and attitude training.
- Choose a theme
- Examine it meticulously
- Raise questions around the theme
- Search for answers to every question
- Share information with others
- Evaluate the entire probe or research
Students may use different methods to present their research results.
[Exemplar: Types of Production]
|Game design||Puppet show||Performance||Video production|
|Audio-tape production||Learning centre||Photograph||Slide production|
|Verbal presentation||Model making||Exhibition||Pictures|
|Comics||Story|| || |
|Stories, short essays or volumes of book compiled with pictures|
Mentorship can be arranged for gifted students in line with their interests. This approach will allow them to learn or work with professionals, such as school librarians, university professors, social workers and business personnel; or with parents who possess professional qualification and senior schoolmates ("older brothers and sisters").
The following conditions should be noted when choosing a model mentor for students:
A solid skill students can learn
Expertise related to the field the mentor will instruct students to study.
Easy accessibility to students to facilitate learning (transportation, workplace, etc.).
Willingness to instruct students
Ability or willingness to understand how to instruct students
Suitability as a role model for students, in terms of not using inappropriate words or deeds, good morals, positive values and a readiness to share experience with the student.
Other Learning and Teaching Strategies – Project Learning
Learning outcome may be diversified (including music, art, design, architecture, etc.)
Different terms are used to describe project learning – such as 'Independent Study" or "Thematic Study". The former is student-oriented, independently conducted by individual students, and more suited to senior grades and those already familiar with research methods. The latter is mostly practised in group form by junior grades and requires greater guidance by teachers.
Implementation mode for gifted education by project learning
- Level One: the whole-class approach
- This can cater for the needs of average students and also create more challenging learning opportunities for higher-ability students.
- It systematically enhances students' creativity, higher-order thinking skills and personal-social competence.
- Students of different ability can accomplish learning missions at different levels, thus fulfilling different learning targets.
- Teachers may adopt a homogenous or heterogeneous ability grouping method to enable students to cope with different challenges.
- Level Two: the pull-out approach
- Emphasis is on the interest and learning ability of gifted studentsIt demands more from gifted students.
- Gifted students are guided to develop into self-directed learners capable of conducting independent study.
- Integration of Levels One and Two
To remain consistent with the promotion of school-based gifted curriculum, teachers should pay attention to the following suggestions when guiding students to conduct project learning:
| || ||Level One: Whole-class approach||Level Two: Pull-out approach|
- Consider students' overall ability when selecting project topics.
- Project topics and contents should be closely connected to the curriculum of regular classroom.
- Project outcome can be the work of reorganization, conclusion and presentation of information.
- Take account of students' individual interests when selecting project topics (for their abilities should have reached a particular level).
- Project topic and content should be flexible so that students can carry out more in-depth study, according to their own interests and resources.
- Project outcome should be far-sighted, sustainable and practical.
- Ask students to collect information from school libraries or public libraries.
- Ask students to download relevant information from Internet.
- Ask students to do a simple statistical analysis of a small-scaled sample data.
- Ask students to present the information with simple statistic charts/tables.
- Ask students to collect information from leading authorities in some specialized publications.
- Ask students to study practical problems from experienced teachers (experts).
- Ask students to use different study tools, for instance, they can design questionnaires and collect first-hand information.
- Ask students to conduct data analysis with employing information technology and present the data in various approaches.
- Ask students to actively participate in group learning and make contribution.
- Encourage students to have pleasure to try and express their points of views.
- Ask students to show initiative and learn independently.
- Ask students to study the information collected in a critical manner and to develop relentless efforts to acquire new knowledge.
|Role of Teacher|
- Provide more personal guidance for students.
- Work out a schedule for overall project curriculum and arrange counselling on project progress.
- Give feedback on students' works.
- Guide students' on time management and project progress.
- Provide students with more flexibility to study, if necessary, offering a direction-geared guidance
- Guide students to review and examine their own work.
Common problems in schools practising gifted education by project learning
Information collection relies mainly on excerpting; it lacks new knowledge and insights
There is no directional learning target
Insufficient teacher guidance and involvement
The teacher lacks adequate knowledge or skills to mentor independent study
Lack of higher-order thinking
There is no appropriate and diversified assessment method
Improvement recommendations for schools practising project learning
Start by setting the learning targets for project learning
Systematically and directionally guide students to learn
The teacher's role:
Facilitation, rather than a dominant or laissez-faire approach. Average teachers wrongly believe gifted students do not need guidance, because of their greater ability. In fact, gifted students also rely on teachers' timely guidance to enhance their ability.
Providing appropriate guidance, feedback, support and encouragement when necessary
Assisting students in solving intricate problems
Enhancing students' learning skills and thinking ability
Role of the school:
Offering flexibility, such as rescheduling class hours for project learning
Integrating different subjects; cutting down on exercises to improve the quality of learning
Providing better interdisciplinary communication between teachers by arranging mutual no-class periods in advance
The intensification of assessment should include:
There should be proper maintenance and reporting on the attainment of projects:
Curriculum Design Exemplars
The purpose of gifted curriculum design is to draw up curriculum content that aligns with the characteristics of higher-ability and gifted students, in order to meet their learning needs.
Exemplars (1), (2), (3), (4), (5)
Whole-class approach curriculum exemplars
Pull-out approach curriculum exemplars (level two) Exemplars (1), (2)
Other curriculum design exemplars