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Primary teachers' conceptions of giftedness amongst schoolchildren

By George Victor Ilsley

Abstract

The new National Curriculum for schools in England & Wales\ud stresses the need for 'differentiation' in educational provision to cater for all children by attending to the needs of the individual. Special provision is made for slow learners and the physically handicapped. but despite a growing awareness, the needs of the 'gifted' have by\ud comparison been neglected. Academic researchers have for decades concentrated on the identification problem often based on standardized intelligence and creativity tests, whilst teacher support organisations in this country have concentrated on provision. Notwithstanding the activity of these interest groups the efficiency with which any\ud provision is made for such children in the primary classroom is almost entirely dependent on the classteacher.\ud \ud The present study sampled two class teachers, teaching nine and ten year old children, from each of 24 schools in the County of Northamptonshire. The schools chosen were large, small, rural and urban. Teachers were invited to respond to an unstructured, tape recorded interview which included flash cards of similar terms used to describe the different groups of able children, the results of which were analysed using cluster analysis (CLUSTAN 2 computer software) to\ud identify similarities and differences between the respondents.\ud \ud The results of the study reveal that most of the primary\ud classteachers were able to recognise children in the classroom who they considered to be 'gifted' in their terms. However there was an apparent lack of certainty with which they conveyed their understanding of such terms as gifted, talented, exceptional, highly able and bright.\ud Inasmuch as a 'core' attribute can be ascribed to their concept of giftedness, specific outstandingness in relation to peers usually in such fields as mathematics and music was most frequently mentioned in their responses. The nature of that outstandingness is a matter of some debate.\ud \u

Publisher: School of Education (Leeds)
Year: 1989
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:1060

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