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Rationale for educating the Gifted, Talented and Creative

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: What is the rationale for educating the gifted, talented and creative children?

A: The answer is similar to the rationale for educating students with learning difficulties. When we feel that a child has some learning problems, we usually pay a lot of attention and seek help as soon as possible. The Gifted, Talented and Creative (GTC) are children with special needs as well, just on the other extreme, so why wouldn't they need special attention too?

The GTC defined as pupils who display patterns of learning strengths, preferences and abilities in one or more area including those with abilities beyond the majority of their peer group. States in the US schools are expected to identify 5 10% of pupils as gifted or talented. In fact, all children for that matter should be entitled to access opportunities which enable them to maximize their potential, achieve success in their work and relationships and encourage them to value their own and others' achievements. This can be done through special programs which require screening and selection.

However, this is usually not a one-off selection. Schools are encouraged to recognize the extent and the pool of individuals with above average ability and talent and at the same time recognize that ability and talent may change over time. With the gifted program or specialized education for the GTC, it can be assured that appropriate challenge, support and motivation will maximize the potential of these children. GTC children need opportunities to be created for them to enable them to flourish, especially whose potential to excel has not been recognized as yet.

What about special education for all children? Well, whilst it is believed that all children have special gifts and talents that the nation should value and promote, somehow, GTC children do demonstrate exceptional strengths and because of this, they should have a curriculum which meets their needs. It has been said that today's GTCs are tomorrow's social, intellectual, economic and cultural leaders and their development cannot be left to chance. This is the main reason to have special education for these special children who show potential of achieving so much more with proper guidance and an education system that serves their needs.


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