According to the latest input from the Ministry of Education some overarching characteristics of giftedness are:
- Gifted children demonstrate advanced ability in a specific domain. They make more rapid progress in the acquisition of knowledge and skills than do other children. earning appears to come easily to them.
- An insistence on marching to their own drum. Gifted children not only learn at a faster rate but they learn in a qualitatively different way. They need little adult input or scaffolding and they have the ability to teach themselves. It is not uncommon for gifted children to approach tasks and solve problems in unique and novel ways.
- A rage to master. Gifted children have high levels of intrinsic motivation (are passionate) in their area/s of interest and ability. This interest can be intense and can even appear to be obsessive.
These Characteristics of Giftedness align with Carmel College’s Vision statement of ‘Empowering young women to pursue personal excellence’.
At Carmel more focus is being placed on students who are passionate about a curriculum area rather than just being labelled as ‘gifted’ as this will lead to greater student agency which is a school wide goal. Student agency refers to learning through activities that are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their passions and interests, and often self-initiated with appropriate guidance from teachers.
The programme name of Gifted and Talented (GATE) is slowly being changed to Passionate Enhanced Learning (PEL) to reflect this update. We believe that passion and giftedness are linked and if students are passionate about certain areas of the curriculum and given out of class opportunities they will pursue personal excellence.
Year 9 student, Chelsea Brown, recently engaged with her passion for politics and leadership by taking part in Youth Model Government Europe which was held as a virtual conference over the weekend of 28-30 May 2021. This is what she had to say about her Passionate Enhanced Learning.
Over the previous weekend I took part in the YMGE 2021 conference run by Yale University. YMGE is a type of Model UN where the delegates have to represent a country within the European Union and a council/committee. These delegates were students from all over the world aged from 13 years old to 18 years old. I was the Minister of Cyprus for Industry and Energy. During the preparation for the big YMGE conference there were 3 pre-conference competitions under the overall topic ‘Health and Healing’ we could take part in. I chose to write an essay; it was called “The Influence of Healthy and Junk Food on World Health vs Human Health” and I managed to get a Honourable Mention for it.
Over the course of these calls, some at 1am and others at 4am due to European times, I learnt so much about Model UN, different countries, different cultures and many ways to solve problems. There was great bonding even through the barrier of zoom calls and now I have memories that connect to many others and I am in contact with a girl my age in the Philippines. In the end I came out of this experience with two Honourable mentions, one for my essay and one for my role as Minister of Cyprus for Industry and Energy.
This was such a fantastic experience and opportunity and I am so glad I put in time, effort and brain power to get to the end of this conference.
If you would like to know more about the Passionate Enhanced Learning programme at Carmel College, please contact Annaliese Seedall (firstname.lastname@example.org).