Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

National Policies and Strategies for the Support of the Gifted and Talented in Austria

Academic journal article CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal

National Policies and Strategies for the Support of the Gifted and Talented in Austria

Article excerpt

The approach to the support of gifted and talented children and youth has changed considerably in the past twenty years. While, until the 2000s, provision programmes predominantly focused on extracurricular activities for pupils, gifted education now follows a systemic and inclusive approach, including all (educational) institutions - kindergarten, school, college and university - as well as the family, the economy, the working world and the community. Furthermore, there have been considerable efforts to provide for gifted children within the regular classroom by way of differentiation and individualised learning.

This new approach to talent support was first outlined in 2011 in the "White Paper Promoting Talent and Excellence", which the Austrian Research and Support Centre for the Gifted and Talented published in cooperation with the interministerial Giftedness Research and Gifted Education Task Force.

The present article outlines the reasons that led to this new strategy, explains its main features and attempts an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses.

Keywords: Austria, gifted education, holistic, systemic, talent support

Nacionalne politike in strategije za podporo nadarjenim in talentiranim v Avstriji

V zadnjih dvajsetih letih se je podpora nadarjenim in talentiranim otrokom ter mladim zelo spremenila. Medtem ko so bili do leta 2000 programi za u?ence ve?inoma usmerjeni v zunajkurikularne dejavnosti, je zdaj pristop pri izobraevanju nadarjenih sistemati?en in inkluzivno usmerjen. Vanj so vklju?ene vse (izobraevalne) ustanove - vrtci, ole, srednje ole in univerze - pa tudi druina, gospodarstvo, zaposlovanje in skupnost. Veliko dela je bilo vloenega v to, da se nadarjenim u?encem zagotovi podpora v rednih razredih prek diferenciranega in individu- aliziranega u?enja. Ta novi pristop podpore talentiranim je bil prvi? poudarjen leta 2011 v »White Paper Promoting Talent and Excellence« [Bela knjiga o spodbujanju talentov in odli?nosti], ki jo je avstrijski Center za raziskovanje in spodbujanje nadarjenih in talentiranih izdal v sodelovanju z medresorsko skupino »Giftedness Research and Gifted Education Task Force«. V prispevku so navedeni razlogi, ki so vodili do oblikovanja nove strategije, razloene so glavne zna?ilnosti, predstav- ljena pa je tudi analiza prednosti in slabosti sistema.

Kljucne besede: Avstrija, izobrazevanje nadarjenih, celostna in sistemati?na podpora talentiranim

The development of gifted and talented provision in Austria - from separative measures to a holistic and systemic approach

Since the mid 1990s, the issue of gifted and talented provision2 has be- come increasingly important in education policy in Austria. Especially over the past five years, politicians and other important stakeholders (economists, researchers, etc.) have focused on this topic, and the interest of the media has been growing. However, this has not always been the case. In the 1980s, gifted and talented education was still highly controversial in Austria. Three reasons can be assumed for this opposition:

1. Due to the Nazi regime, which propagated the training of an elite (in the worst sense possible), the term "elite" had a severely negative connota- tion. After World War II, gifted education was believed to support this elitist thinking, and was therefore strongly opposed (Ziegler & Stoeger, 2007).

2. A commonly held belief and prevailing view of the public was (and sometimes still is) that gifted children and adults do not need any fur- ther support measures, simply due to the fact that they are already gifted and able to perform well by themselves. The underlying assumption was that only pupils with learning difficulties need support.

3. Austria has a differentiated school system. While all children attend pri- mary school from age 6 to 10, pupils have to choose between second- ary modern school ("Hauptschule" or "Neue Mittelschule") or grammar school ("Gymnasium", aimed at higher-achieving pupils) at the age of 10. …

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