TUATAHIADVANCED LEARNINGPROGRAMMEAnne Sturgess: www.elearning4gifted.comFacilitator: University of Waikato, New Zealand
AIMSThe College BOT and staff will recognise, respect, and respond to the educational needs of all students includingstudents with different and special abilities.The College undertakes to respect our motto ‘INTEGRITY’ by:Providing quality instruction and encouraging students to reach their individual potential (Personalexcellence).Promoting the development of a sense of respect and responsibility for self and caring for others(Accountability, Whanaungatanga, Respect).Valuing and demonstrating the qualities of honesty and reliability.Assisting students to become self reliant, to develop strong self esteem and to value and engage in life longlearning.Encouraging students to participate in a wide range of academic and extra curricular activities.Ensuring equity of opportunity through the provision of appropriate resources and opportunities.We are committed to putting students at the centre of teaching and learning.
THEORETICAL BASEEducational programmes catering for gifted children in New Zealand settings are primarily based on overseasmodels. While these models are founded in research and practice, they have not been developed specifically forNew Zealand students and the environment in which they develop and are educated.Each country’s education system should reflect its own special characteristics, values and beliefs. New Zealand is acountry with two dominant cultural influences; Maori and Pakeha, and it is important that both are reflected in theeducation institutions.The proposed programme blends the principles of educational models from overseas with principles of learningthat reflect both Maori and Pakeha definitions of giftedness.The Maori concept of manatangata (the power acquired by an individual according to his or her ability and effort todevelop skills and to gain knowledge in particular areas) is particularly relevant in the New Zealand context(Bevan-Brown, 1996). Recognition of the individual’s responsibility to contribute to the wider community is alsovalued by other cultures.In the proposed programme, high performance will be manifested through the sharing of knowledge and thedemonstration of skills in the service of others. Sharing of knowledge and the use of talent and ability to improvethe society in which we live is implicit in many educational aims. For example, one commonly stated aim ofschools is to prepare students to be responsible and contributing members of their community. This is not achievedby chance, rather, opportunities must be provided for students to develop these values and attitudes.While it is acknowledged that academic talent is one amongst many areas in which individuals may demonstratehigh ability, it is also recognised that students who demonstrate physical, artistic, mechanical, leadership andmusical talents are able to specialise though participation in option classes and co-curricular activities. Theyusually participate in these activities with others who share their interests and have access to differentiatedprogrammes designed to suit their individual levels of ability. An example of this is differentiated sports teams thatcater for all levels but separate students according to their levels of ability and commitment. In this wayparticipants are able to develop their skills at their own level with others who challenge and encourage them.Students who are successful at school may achieve well academically but they do not necessarily maximise theirhigh levels of skill to the point where they pursue areas of personal interest and become lifelong autonomouslearners. Indeed, high academic ability can mitigate against their developing or retaining autonomous learnercharacteristics since these students are frequently rewarded for being rapid receivers of knowledge rather thanexplorers of information.The Advanced Learning Programme at this College offers a coordinated approach to the education of academicallytalented students through a range of innovative strategies designed to provide challenging and rewardingeducational experiences commensurate with the abilities of this particular group.
ACHIEVEMENT CONTEXTThe following areas will be emphasised:Appropriate and ongoing identification of giftedness and talent in students.Development and provision of appropriate programmes designed to nurture gifts and talents.Use of the most currently effective teaching and learning strategies and technologies, including e-learning.A Curriculum that is relevant, meaningful and engaging for the students.Professional development for all teachers engaged in this programme.Recognition of learning as a lifelong process that occurs both within and beyond the physical boundaries ofthe classroom.Contribution and service as an expected and natural outcome of talent development.A focus on Whanaungatanga and manaakitanga.The proposed programme is developed within the framework of the Autonomous Learner Model (Betts &Kercher,1983) and includes elements of Renzulli’s (1977) Enrichment Triad model. It is also inspired by the reportedsuccesses of the Lucknow Montessori City School model (Cottom, 1996). These models were considered inrelation to guidelines for the education of gifted Maori suggested by Bevan-Brown (1996), and principles of goodteaching practice.The programme is qualitatively different to many regular class programmes in that students are actively involved inthe development and assessment of their learning activities to a much greater extent than is normally found in mostlearning environments. A teacher operating within the framework of the Autonomous Learner Model and applyingthe principles of Universal Design for Learning (http://www.udlcenter.org/) will be particularly well placed toprovide appropriate learning opportunities for all students.The Autonomous Learner Model was selected as the primary framework for the programme because it is able to beadapted to curriculum requirements and readily accommodates individual differences among students. The modelintegrates social, emotional, and cognitive development within a context of independent study. This modelpromotes the development of interpersonal and intrapersonal qualities, experiential learning activities, and thedevelopment of skills, concepts, and attitudes for life-long learning.Renzulli’s (1977)Type II enrichment activities promote a wide range of thinking and feeling processes and assistthe student to deal with advanced, differentiated content. These activities are tied to independent projects and fitwithin Betts’ five dimensions of orientation, individual development, enrichment activities, seminars, and in-depthstudy. Consideration of affective factors in education strongly influenced the selection of models.The achievements of the City Montessori School in Lucknow, India, suggest that an effective way of promotinghigh achievement amongst a diverse population is to emphasise values that include excellence as a lifelong attitudewithin a context of cooperation and responsibility reflected in service to others in the wider community. Serviceand sharing of knowledge is perceived as the logical outcome of learning, acted out in an authenticcontext.Students participate in real-life projects, solving actual problems, while also achieving academicexcellence. Education at the school is based on four integrated concepts, calledthe Four Building Blocks; UniversalValues, Excellence, Global understanding, and Service(Cottom, 1996).The standards of the Autonomous Learner Model underlie the TUATAHI programme.Students will:Develop more positive self-concepts.Comprehend their own abilities in relationship to self, whanau, and society.Develop skills to interact effectively with peers, siblings, parents, and other adults.Increase knowledge in a variety of areas.Develop critical and creative thinking skills.Integrate activities which facilitate the cognitive, emotional, social, spiritual, and physicaldevelopment ofthe individual.Develop individual passion area/s of learning.Demonstrate responsibility for own learning in and out of the school setting.Ultimately become responsible, creative, independent, life-long learners.
SELECTIONStudents involved in the programme will be those able to demonstrate specific academicaptitude and achievementand/or high levels of general intelligence. The presence of aspecific area of disability and/or weakness will notexclude a student from the programme.Twice-exceptional students (gifted & learning-disabled) will receiveappropriate assistancefor their areas of strength and weakness.A talent pool of students will be developed using information gleaned through a multidimensionalidentificationprocess. Selection for the programme will be based on informationgained from the pre-entry assessment processand Autonomous Learner Model profiles.Qualification for inclusion may be based on achievement in the top 20 percent based on theNew ZealandProgressive Achievement Tests (Reid, Johnston and Elley, 1994), TeacherObservation Scales, and parent, peer, andself-referral, and other tests as appropriate.Areas of specific talent will be recorded on a data base (specific skills in mathematics,literacy, science, humanities,technology, creative thinking, cultural knowledge, orallanguage, visual arts, performing arts, socialskills/leadership, sport, etc.).INSTRUCTIONAL FRAMEWORKThe TUATAHI programme will operate under the guidance of a Director of Gifted & TalentedEducation and aDeputy Principal.In most cases TUATAHI students will be assigned to the higher achieving academic classesalthough they may alsobe members of other classes if they haveasynchronous characteristics associated with having a specific area ofdisability as well asspecific areas of high ability.TUATAHI students from across the various year levels may come together for some aspectsof the programme (e.g.scholars’ lunches, learning retreats) but will remain with their ageappropriatepeers for most of their classes.Exceptions to this may be made for individualswho would clearly benefit from attending a higher-level class for allor part of his or herprogramme of learning. Such students will be placed on personalised learning programmesthatwill take their social/emotional needs into account.TUATAHI classes will operate within the instructional framework of the Autonomous LearnerModel (ALM – referbelow). This framework is able to be applied across the curriculum.Activities will be developed in consultation with core subject teachers and, when appropriate,integrated units oflearning will be developed around ‘big ideas’ and ‘essentialunderstandings.’The Orientation and Individual Development Dimensions of the Autonomous LearnerModel will be coveredthroughout the first term. Teachers of these classes will receiveguidance from the GATE Director to encourageappropriate integration of strategies acrosscurriculum areas.The Orientation Dimension will provide learners, teachers,administrators and parents the opportunity to develop afoundation of the concepts ofgiftedness, talent, intelligence, creativity, and the development of potential” (Betts&Kercher, 1999, p.3). Learners will discover more about themselves, their abilities and whatthe programme has tooffer. The GATE Director will coordinate a series of activities forstudents, their teachers and their whanau.The Individual Development Dimension will provide learners with the opportunity todevelop the cognitive,emotional, social and physical skills, concepts and attitudes necessaryfor life-long learning” (Betts &Kercher,1999, p.3). This dimension includes opportunities forthe learner to develop intra/interpersonal skills and other skillsnecessary for life-longlearning.
The Enrichment, Seminars and In-Depth Study Dimensions include activities such as explorations,investigations, controversial discussions, advanced knowledge development,individual projects, group projects,mentorships and presentations. The AutonomousLearner Model merely provides a theoretical framework withinwhich content is explored andenrichment opportunities are consciously offered.The key to successful integration of these skills into other areas of the curriculum will bethe collaboration of theGATE Director and the subject teachers. Teachers of each ALP classwill meet to discuss units of work and to planopportunities for the integration of learnedstrategies across the curriculum areas. These meetings will be scheduledas ALPprofessional development opportunities and, if necessary, teachers will be released fromtimetabled classesto carry out the planning. The GATE Director and the Deputy Principalwith senior leadership responsibility willhold weekly planning meetings.EVALUATIONIt is important that students are aware from the outset of the criteria and methods that willbe used for evaluation.However, it is also important to be prepared to change theevaluation plan as circumstances dictate. A variety offormative and summative evaluativeprocedures will be used throughout the programme. These will be madeexplicit during theformulation of the investigation and in-depth study proposals and will include tests,interviewschedules, self-evaluation, peer-evaluation, portfolios, and questionnaires to parents andothers involved inthe programme (e.g. mentors).Students will also be involved indeveloping criteria against which their performance will be assessed. Whateverforms ofevaluation are used, Reid (1996) reminds us to involve the stakeholders and actively involvethem in theevaluation as far as possible (p.386).The following questions will serve as guidelines for evaluation of the programme-In terms of student outcomes:1. Has the programme provided differentiated services to this group of identified giftedstudents effectivelyand efficiently?2. What are these students able to do differently after participation in this programme?3. How are students’ ‘products’ and/or ‘performances’ different because of the programme?4. Has the programme done as much as it could for these students?In terms of teacher outcomes:1. What would I do differently if I was starting the programme tomorrow?2. What resources, support services and so on, were adequate for our purposes?3. Which were insufficient?4. What teacher development is needed to enable us to do better next time?(Reid, 1996, pp.380-381)
REFERENCESBetts, G.T. &Kercher. J.K. (1999).Autonomous Learner Model – Optimizing Ability.Australia: Hawker BrownlowEducation.Betts, G.T. &Neihart, M. (1986). Implementing Self-Directed Learning Models for the Giftedand Talented. GiftedChild Quarterly, 30, 4, Fall.Bevan-Brown, J. (1996). Special abilities: A Maori perspective. In McAlpine, D. &Moltzen,R. (Eds.). Gifted andTalented: New Zealand Perspectives. Massey University: ERDCPress.Borland, J. (1989). Planning and implementing programs for the gifted. New York:Teachers College, ColumbiaUniversity.Cottom, C. (1996). A Bold Experiment in Teaching Values. Educational Leadership, 53, 8,May, pp. 54-58.Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: Illinois.Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of Mind.McAlpine, D. (1996). The identification of children with special abilities. In McAlpine, D. &Moltzen, R. (Eds.).Gifted and Talented: New Zealand Perspectives. Massey University:ERDC Press.Ministry of Education (1994). Assessment. Policy to practice. Wellington: Learning Media.Reid, N. (1992). Correcting cultural myopia: The discovery and nurturance of the culturallygifted and talented inNew Zealand. In Guiding the Gifted Conference Proceedings 1992.Reid, N. (1996).Evaluation of programmes. In McAlpine, D. &Moltzen, R. (Eds.). Giftedand Talented: NewZealand Perspectives. Massey University: ERDC Press.Renzulli, J. (1977). The enrichment triad model: A guide for developing defensibleprogrammes for the gifted andtalented. Mansfield Center, CT: Creative Learning Press.Treffinger, D. J. (1975). Teaching for self-directed learning: A priority for the gifted andtalented. Gifted ChildQuarterly, 19, 1.