Teachers' Perceptions toward Education of Gifted Children in Greek Educational Settings

By Polyzopoulou, Konstantia; Kokaridas, Dimitrios et al. | Journal of Physical Education and Sport, June 2014 | Go to article overview

Teachers' Perceptions toward Education of Gifted Children in Greek Educational Settings


Polyzopoulou, Konstantia, Kokaridas, Dimitrios, Patsiaouras, Asterios, Gari, Aikaterini, Journal of Physical Education and Sport


Introduction

The most current legislation regarding the Special Education as reflected through the 3699 Act of 2008 defines as children with 'disabilities / special educational needs' not only those who present significant learning difficulties due to sensory, mental, cognitive, developmental and mental disorders experienced during their school years, but also pupils with cognitive, emotional and social problems and offending behavior due to abuse, parental neglection and abandonment, as well as gifted students who possess mental abilities and talents developed to the extent that far exceed the expectations of their age group (Article 3, Law 3699 / 08). Conclusively, pupils with special educational needs are no longer those necessarily characterized by some sort of 'disability' but also those who, due to social inequalities or special skills such as the gifted students, need teaching adaptations so as to meet their educational needs within school environment.

Opinion is a cognitive content held as true or a thought or sentiment shared by most people. Perception is defined as the opinion and belief anyone can form about a situation or a person. Attitudes are closely related to one's opinions and are based upon previous experiences (Nel et al., 2011). Thus, people express their attitudes while observing their overt behaviors, in the contexts their behaviors take place (Chaiken, & Baldwin, 1981). Attitude is defined as a significant source of behavioral variance and could serve to integrate and explain a wide range of behavior (Summers, 1977).

Our behavior is consistent with many of our attitudes and specific attitudes predict specific behaviors. The attitude - behavior relation is moderated by many factors, such as individual differences, situational variables, attitude aspects and aspects of the behavior in assessment. In case attitudes are measured appropriately, they are a major determinant element of our behavior (Bohner, & Wanke, 2002; Summers, 1977). Research on attitudes as behavior influencing elements shows that indirect measures of attitude (attitude measured over a discussion through deliberative thinking) predict less controllable behavior, whereas distinct measures (for example, self-report instruments, e.g. questionnaires) of attitude predict more controlled behavior. The use of these two kinds of measurement, may contribute to a general prediction of attitude (Bohner, & Dickel, 2011). According to Summers (1977, p. 141): "The group administered inventory instrument, checked by the respondent, is perhaps the most widely used approach".

Many types of models have been developed, that give a description and a definition of giftedness and talent. Reis and Renzulli (2009) argued that the idea of "gifted behaviors" results from the interaction between distinct intra-individual characteristics. In particular, a gifted child is characterized by high level of three characteristic, that is, mental abilities, creativity, and persistence that interact and function above the medium average in order to succeed a final goal. The three-ring conception of giftedness provides a broader definition of giftedness that can be used in schools as the basis for identification that, in turn, leads to more targeted programming options for gifted students. It contains a liberal definition, that not only expands the concept, but it also allows for more flexibility in the interpretation of both test and non-test performance (Renzulli, 2002).

The academic advancement, the mature social competence and the affect regulation in gifted children, which appears to be higher than their chronological age (Reis, & Renzulli, 2004) demands special education forms to be organized in the school in order to satisfy the special educational and emotional needs of the gifted students and provide support. Acceleration is one type of gifted education, which can take many forms such as early entrance to school, early entrance to college, and grade skipping (Neihart, 2007). …

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