Catherine Delahunty
Gifted Awareness Week

This week is Gifted Awareness Week – a week when we celebrate the incredible talents of young citizens who have so much to offer the country.

The programmes offered in schools for gifted and talented children have been cut back, and schools vary in what they are now able to provide.

Programmes for gifted and talented students recognise a wide range of talents and foster the concept that excellence and innovation are not just words. They are the oxygen for the spark in many young children who just need our encouragement.

I am writing about these important programmes in the context of a narrowing of the primary school curriculum to focus on National Standards that were not trialled or negotiated with the teaching sector. These standards have had a controversial birth and continue to be problematic.

It’s not rocket science, but many gifted and talented young people come to literacy and numeracy through other topics and disciplines. Drama can help you learn to read, and music can inspire a love of mathematics – but not under this Government.

It is very frustrating to see initiatives like gifted and talented programmes being cut back. In addition, the new curriculum in primary schools now has to compete for both resources and attention with National Standards that appear to be neither national or even a useful standard.

Let us remember that teachers inspire learning; measuring and labelling does not. Every child has talent and gifts and if the right recognition and encouragement occurs at the right time, a gift and talent came become a lifelong joy and a huge contribution. That’s what this week is about.

31 thoughts on “Gifted Awareness Week

  1. You are doing a great job in trying to save our great public education system from the ongoing attacks perpetrated by this government. Thank you Catherine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  2. Agree with sprout; – and recognition itself is something of a gift – !

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  3. Catherine says “I am writing about these important programmes in the context of a narrowing of the primary school curriculum to focus on National Standards ”

    What was cut out?

    You say “Drama can help you learn to read, and music can inspire a love of mathematics – but not under this Government.”

    Our kids have music every week (there’s a dedicated music teacher) and they’re both in a big drama production. They have them every term, like they always have.

    So what do you mean by there’s no drama and music under this govt?

    That sounds like complete monsense.

    Just like the utter nonsense about measuring not helping learning – of course it does – and it has done for generations.

    If you don’t measure to see what subjects a child need extra help in, then those areas don’t get extra help.

    Excuse the language, but saying there’s no drama and music under this government is complete bullshit – it’s blatant lies.

    You should be ashamed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3 (-1)

  4. Recognition itself is the challenge, for the rest of us – and even then it doesn’t mean good news.
    We can easily mistake the gifted for useless.
    History abounds with examples.
    Humans happen to be unique, which is most inconvenient to the
    Institutional Mind.
    When the Jews recognised Jesus he was already 32.
    Unique, talented, charismatic – they nailed him to a post.
    (thru the back as it were)
    Does that mean he was stupid, useless, shamed
    Or merely fired on by the Italian Police? – they must be accurate or lucky sometimes I guess…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  5. Photonz1-All the advisors for curricula other than numeracy and literacy have been sacked. While schools still have to cover the National curriculum, the incentive to do so no longer exists. There are many schools I know of that have pushed important subjects like science and technology to the margins and research has shown a drop in science achievement across the country. The creative elements in our schools are rapidly disappearing and the literacy/numeracy focus will produce an abundance of report writers and accountants who will not have the creative skills to solve our future problems but they will be able to track our economy’s decline. I’m am pleased that you are so impressed with your local school but a sample of one provides a limited base for sweeping conclusions. :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  6. My daughter’s school has been struggling to implement the new curriculum and ERO have reported that they have a long way to go in doing so. This is not surprising as so much staff effort has been wasted on trying to implement the National Standards.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  7. sprout says “The creative elements in our schools are rapidly disappearing…”

    And what reasearch has been done into this and where is the evidence?

    sprout says “…the literacy/numeracy focus will produce an abundance of report writers and accountants who will not have the creative skills to solve our future problems but they will be able to track our economy’s decline. ”

    Oh – no – the sky is falling in. More kids people will leave school being able to read and write and it’s terrible – they might get jobs. Oh no.

    To be serious, our school has more time on creative activities a than ever – they often help with maths and reading.

    The point is simply to stop having 20% of our kids go through the whole schooling system and still be unable to read, write or do maths.

    Having that happen puts them on the scrapheap of society (i.e.80% illiteracy in prison).

    Someone who can’t read and write isn’t going to be one of your scientists or technology leaders that you’re worried about losing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  8. Catherine appears to be (deliberately) harbouring the belief that Nations Standards are a prescriptive teaching dogma, and confine teaching to a Dickinsons 3-R mentality. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    What National Standards do is provide a national standard for assessment, including identifying any students who need extra help or extra extending. It does not prescibe how a teacher teaches, and therefore does not inhibit the music-maths relationships that she mentions.

    If a teacher can get better results by employing such a music-maths nexis, then more power to them and their students. Nationla Standards will help identify this and celebrate it.

    What scares some people is that the ‘jobsworth’ teachers generatig medicore results will be identified, and that prospect puts the willies up the lefties

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 (-1)

  9. By failing 60% of children the National Standards will help the lowest performing 20% to read better. Quack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  10. Solka – or we could do nothing, because “kids learn at different speeds”, so some get further and further behind because “they’ll catch up in their own time” – but reality is, 20% never do.

    And using negative terms like fail, for an assesment that isn’t a pass or fail test, is exactly what experts say you should NOT do (with NS or any other standards for primary kids).

    And making repetitive animal noises like a litle child doesnt exactly reinforce your arguement as being from an intelligent viewpoint.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  11. Photonz1 – was there every a better reason to oppose National’s national standards?
    He’s a trooper!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  12. And solkta’s ‘repetitive noises’ don’t represent those of a little child, he’s mimicking a duck!
    Jeeeeeze!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  13. greenfly states the obvious ” he’s mimicking a duck”

    And mimincking a duck adds what to intelligent debate?

    greenfly says “was there every a better reason …”

    What reason are you talking about?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  14. Telling a child that they “did not meet the expectation” is not the same as telling them they have failed. Quack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  15. solka – grow up.

    Again you do what experts have said for years NOT to do, and what National Standards say not to do.

    You obviously haven’t got the slightest idea of how National Standards or any other standards used in NZ are reported.

    If you put as much effort into finding out about reporting on National Standards as you do into making pathetic animal noises, you wouldn’t repeatedly do exactly what they say not to do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  16. From my daughters year one Report:

    Well below expected level
    Below expected level
    Within expected level
    Above expected level

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  17. National Standards say that schools should not report that students have not achieved the expected level. Quack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

  18. solkta – seems your daughter’s a failure in at least half of what she’s been doing. You and she must be very disappointed. If you’d sent her to a private school, she’d not have had to go through this national standards crap and no one would be telling her that she’s ‘well below expected level’.
    Photonz1 – you should be ashamed of your bloodless world-view.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  19. solka makes up nonsense, then very maturely makes an animal noise at her/himself – “National Standards say that schools should not report that students have not achieved the expected level. Quack.”

    As stated in the guidelines, the way to report on National Standards is exactly the same as reports have been done for many years.

    So if your teachers are reporting an an overly negative way, it is obviously the fault of the teacher, because whether they are reporting on NZ or previous standards, they should not be doing this.

    Our school uses terms like –
    - is working towards the national standard in mathematics
    - is making very pleasing progress towards achieving the national standard in mathematics.
    - has achieved the national standard in mathematics.
    - has exceeded the national standard in mathematics.

    And considering they are working to a end-of-year standard, they are not expected to have achieved it mid year.

    The pass/fail arguement is just another red-herring used for scoring political points, when the way it should be reported is exactly the same as it has been for years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  20. greenfly, listed were just the rankings for the National Standards part of the report not my daughters scores. She actually achieved a “below expected level” for reading and maths and a “within expected level” for writing.

    Seems i wouldn’t have had to send her to a private school to avoid this nonsense as about half the schools around here have told the minister where it fits. To move my daughter now though would be quite disruptive of her social learning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  21. photo, the principal at our school took last year off and spent it working for the MOE advising schools on how to implement the Standards. I can’t see that he would have let his own school get it wrong.

    The rankings quoted were from last years end of year report. The mid-year report tells you your kid is “working towards” the Nation Standards, and then at the end of the year they tell you they have failed.

    You say your school “uses terms like…”, are you actually quoting from a Report or are you just making it up again? Are you a real person?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  22. National Standards, which set out to create national standards in reading, writing and maths, does not create a standard by which children pass or fail. Quack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  23. solka – the reason for reporting national standards is exactly the same as it has been in school reports for decades.

    And talk of swapping schools, or not reporting, completely misses the point (which is to help your child).

    Only 40% of what children learn comes from school time. The big emphasis of National Standards is to get parents more involved.

    So this report is a call to YOU to help more with more reading and maths. And as part of what is required under National Standards, your school is supposed to give you an idea or two of what extra things you can do at home to help your girl.

    Our kids were “working towards NS ” or “making pleasing progress towards NS” at mid year reports last year. We worked on a couple of areas (i.e. more bed-time reading, a little bit of real life maths questions in the car, at the supermarket, etc) and they decided themselves they’d do maths games online.

    End of year they met or exceeded standards. But the point is to get parents more involved, and when we did that our kids had big improvements in a short time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  24. solka says “You say your school “uses terms like…”, are you actually quoting from a Report or are you just making it up again? Are you a real person?”

    It’s pretty much word for word, except is says “for maths” rather than “in mathematics”.

    Your school is required to -
    - report in a way that concentrates on your child’s achievments – not what they haven’t achieved.
    - at the same time let you, the parent, know in plain language where your child stands against the standard and their peers.
    - give you ideas of things you can do at home to help your child is each area – reading, writing and maths.

    If you school is not doing this, then complain – it is required to do this and if it doesn’t, it is your child who will lose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  25. photo, with all due respect, you need to focus on your concentration skills. I am quite happy with my daughters learning in Reading, Writing and Maths. I am trying to get her school to teach the rest of the curriculum. As they don’t, we’re really rather busy trying to do all that and more at home.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  26. Schools can report in a way that concentrates on what a child has achieved by reporting that they did not achieve a standard. Quack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  27. solkta says ” I am trying to get her school to teach the rest of the curriculum. As they don’t,”

    It’s pretty clear they if your school reports in a way they shouldn’t, and doesn’t even teach the rest of the curuculum, then they’re a crap school.

    So they need to get their act together, or it’s time to shift schools.

    You say you are happy with your childs learning in reading, writing and maths – what do you base this against?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>