Developing Gifts and Talents in English (Part One)

By Thomas, Peter | NATE Classroom, Autumn 2010 | Go to article overview

Developing Gifts and Talents in English (Part One)


Thomas, Peter, NATE Classroom


It's happening again--fuelled by coalitionist endorsement of deep-rooted substitutes for thinking--political tails are wagging the educational dog. The 'Free' school' is the latest extrusion from the educational posterior, trumpeting fundamentalist platitudes of faith, good manners and nice uniforms. Not, I think, a case of developing post-renaissance humane potential. As usual, the froth is packaged with the buzz-words of 'freedom', 'choice', and 'parents'. And, of course, Raising Educational Standards.

I'm not going to waste print on railing against this contemptible tosh or the assertive squeaks and splutterings of the gruesome Gove-puppet whose every appearance makes the brain shudder and the flesh wince. Rather, I want to make a plea for what is becoming a neglected priority for teachers working with real youngsters in real schools on Planet Reality. And I do want to use some appropriated words: I want to re-affirm educational freedom from Red-Top ignorance and teachers' choice of something other than Tory totems. In no way does this mean abandoning concern that parents should expect the best for their children, and it certainly embraces educational standards in terms of thought, feeling, understanding, personal satisfaction and social awareness--the things that matter more in English than the simple quantifiables of identifying a connective or spelling 'business'.

I want to steer thinking back to the craft of teaching and learning in English. In particular, I want to address what we do for our more able youngsters because it develops our ability to make all youngsters more able. In recent years, concern for top-end performance has been an aspect of the Gifted and Talented agenda, and I'm aware that the G&T tag may not have suited the educational or social priorities of all teachers. However, it has stimulated thinking and practice about challenge and progression for the ablest, and, by trickle-down, those not already able.

My take on this has been to use the funding and focus of G&T to develop strategies and resources beyond provision for an already multi-favoured elite. My aim has been to establish a teaching repertoire to develop Gifts and Talents in all. Practically, this means that teachers who can (spontaneously or by cunning preparation) demonstrate and display ('model' in the established jargon) skills at the highest level for their students become better able also to demonstrate and display the rungs below in the ladder--enabling them to guide students up the rungs of a developing skill hierarchy. It also means devising activities that allow all to work at the top of their ability and above, wherever they start in the range of assessment.

Unfortunately, several things have combined to demote provision for the special needs of the most able in the nation's educational priorities. The erosion of local authority funding and responsibility has put a stop to adviser-initiated, authority-wide events bringing students together from different schools. These events, apart from their stimulus to learning, developed self-image and ambition by creating a new peer group in which it was OK to be bright and want to do something with brightness. Additionally, the obsession with turning D-predicted youngsters into Cs to satisfy targets in league tables has become an (understandably) disproportionate major feature of daily life. It has produced artificial minimum C performance lasting for the assessment period and no longer. When Warwick University decided it would not bid to continue the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth, the brief for developing research, provision and support for G&T went to CfBT. Since then, the profile of G&T work has been less evident, and CfBT's contract ran out in March 2010.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In the absence of strong external representation of top-end curriculum development, we need to revitalise this part of the educational agenda and find motivation and support wherever it lies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Developing Gifts and Talents in English (Part One)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.