Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Role of Teacher and Family Opinions in Identifying Gifted Kindergarten Children and the Consistence of These Views with Children's Actual Performance

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Role of Teacher and Family Opinions in Identifying Gifted Kindergarten Children and the Consistence of These Views with Children's Actual Performance

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study was conducted in order to identify gifted children attending kindergartens of elementary schools, determine how successful families and teachers were in selecting these children, and see how consistent their opinions were with children's actual performance. Participants were children attending kindergartens of elementary schools, their teachers and parents. The identification procedure used in the first stage of this relational survey study involved Parent Observation (POF) and Teacher Observation Forms (TOF) for teachers and/or parents to nominate potentially gifted children, the Primary Mental Abilities Test 5-7 (PMA 5-7) in the second stage and Goodenough- Harris Draw-a-Person Test for children. A total of 113 children out of 600 kindergarteners in central Düzce were nominated by their teachers and/or families, went through the identification procedures, and constituted the sample. This research indicated that teacher and parent opinions had a 44.3% success rate in determining gifted children (50 children). It was found that families were better than teachers in identifying gifted children; teachers made more realistic evaluations of children's performance as shown by tests and scores; but children's actual performance was much better than teacher and family opinions. No meaningful relationship existed between the PMA 5-7 and Goodenough-Harris Test scores of children who were identified as gifted. The Goodenough-Harris Draw-a-Person Test was included in the study to support the results of the PMA 5-7 Group Intelligence Test. The lack of a relationship between scores obtained from these two may be attributed to the facts that Turkish children started preschool education with a delay and were generally given little or no chance by their families to practice activities for thin motor muscle development on their own.

Key Words

Pre-school Period, Gifted Children, Identification of Gifted Children

Child development is considerably fast during the pre-school period which covers 0-6 years (Ari, 2003; Oktay, 2000). Therefore, it is important to monitor during this period whether children have the developmental features in line with normal development standards. Although children with special needs who develop differently than other children require special treatment, they show many similarities in terms of educational opportunities they should be offered (Metin, 2000). It is not only a necessity but an obligation to identify potentially gifted children in the preschool period during which development is at its fastest and to enable them to maximize their abilities, interest and skills (Daglioglu, 2010).

Giftedness

From the Enderun Schools established during Ottoman times until the 1869 study by Galton on the concept of "intelligent", no significant development occurred around the world in this field. In early studies, the superiority of intelligence (IQ) led to the terms intelligent and gifted, while people good at arts and music were labelled talented (Enç, Çaglar, & Özsoy, 1975; Merrill & Orlansky, 1984). A pioneer in the field, Terman (1925) defined top 2% scorers of standard intelligence tests as "intelligent". Based heavily on IQ classification, this type of labeling lost its importance starting from the mid-20th century when scientists started to evaluate intelligence holistically and developmentally (Akarsu, 2001).

Chronologically, the education of gifted children started in 1972 in the US with a report revealing the minimum standards in most states (Marland, 1972) and defining gifted children as those "who display outstanding performance in one or more of the following areas: General mental abilities, a specific talent in a certain academic field, creative and productive thinking, leadership skills, talent in visual performance arts, motor skills".

Following this definition made in the US, Renzulli (1986) analyzed people that showed extraordinary success throughout their lives, and claimed that giftedness was not merely related with intelligence but with motivation which includes ability, creativity and task commitment in one or several areas. …

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