Developing Creative Leadership

Developing Creative Leadership

Developing Creative Leadership

Developing Creative Leadership


The authors provide an overview of leadership in the crucial grades of 6-12. Drawing upon theories based on cognitive leadership, affective leadership, and the role of leadership in gifted education, leadership is discussed as it pertains to research projects, problem solving, interpersonal communication, and decision-making.


… education of the gifted and talented for leadership
involves not only the development of unusual potential
but the values, the concern, the motivation to use those special talents
for the benefit of society.

A. Harry Passow

In the quarter of a century since the 1972 publication of Commissioner Sidney Marland's landmark report to the U.S. Congress, much progress has been made in the offering of differentiated educational opportunities for our nation's gifted and talented youth. In its 2001–2002 State of the States Gifted and Talented Education Report (in press), the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted reported that twenty-nine states mandate and/or fund gifted programs, twenty-nine have professional certification or endorsement for teachers of the gifted, and twenty-one states employ at least one full-time state director of gifted education. The 2003–2004 Directory of Graduate Degree Programs and Services in Gifted and Talented Education (Parker, 2003) further identified seventy-six U.S. colleges and universities in thirty-two states, and three Canadian institutions in three provinces that offer master's degree programs with concentration in education of the gifted, including thirty-six U.S. and Canadian institutions that offer doctoral programs as well. Numerous materials have been published to assist teachers in the development and implementation of differentiated educational programs and services, and the quality of these services has improved markedly in many areas of the nation. Unfortunately, the field still has little (if any) empirical documentation regarding the impact of specific approaches and strategies on the degree to which our gifted students are realizing their potential for effective future citizenship—presumably the ultimate goal of all education efforts.

America's schools have typically been slow in infusing new technologies and approaches into their classrooms. For many years the only students who were given opportunities for learning and practicing higher-order thinking, problem solving, decision making, and technological skills were the academically gifted. Creativity was discouraged (indeed, often ridiculed or even punished) by [left-brained] teachers, and the use of rote learning far outweighed instruction in inquiry and other problem-solving modes. Activities designed to strengthen interpersonal communication skills were rare in the whole-class environment, and children's interests and individual needs were almost totally ignored in curriculum design. Gradually, bold educators began to break out of their [Second Wave] modes and explore [new] strategies—critical and creative thinking, scientific and creative problem solving, synectics, lateral thinking, simulation, group dynamics activities, and other approaches that had been used for decades in business and industry. This revolution is still under way today.

The field of gifted education has heavily influenced the introduction of new approaches into the general education classroom. At last, creativity, problem solving, decision making, interpersonal . . .

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