TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of acronyms
List of Tables
List of Figures
Chapter 1: Research outline
1.2 Background to the study
1.3 Statement of the problem
1.4 Research questions
1.5 Aims of study
1.7 Definition of field/Target group
1.9 Delimitations of the study
1.10 Data collection
1.11 Data analysis
1.12 Value of the study
Chapter 2: Literature overviews
2.1 General introduction
2.2 Defining the term ‘Gifted and Talented’
2.3 The national curriculum and policy
2.3.1 Integration of practice
2.3.2 Cultural understanding
2.3.3 Critical understanding
(a) Performing, composing and listening
(b) Reviewing and evaluating
2.4 The motivation and expertise theory
Chapter 3: Research Strategy
3.2 Research design
3.3 Data collection techniques
3.3.1 The schools
(a) Alexandra Park
(d) Grieg City Academy
(e) Heartlands High
(f) Highgate Wood
(g) Hornsey School for Girls
(h) John Loughborough
(i) Northumberland Park
(j) Park Views
(k) St Thomas More Catholic
(l) Woodside High School
3.3.2 The method, participants and written materials
3.3.5 Documentary Sources
Chapter 4: Research Findings
4.1 Data collection
4.2 Analysis of data
4.3 Conclusive findings of research
Chapter 5: Conclusions and recommendations
List of Sources
Appendix A: Email forwarded to various teachers (Gifted and Talented Co-ordinators)
Appendix B: The accompanying letter
Appendix C: Questionnaire designed to gather the views and experience of British Gifted and Talented Co-ordinators concerning colleagues’ nominations of gifted students
LIST OF ACRONYMS
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- English educational system
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1 – Respondent A – Ranked his/her sources of information for G & T
Table 2 – Respondent B – Ranked his/her sources of information for G & T
Table 3 - Respondent C – Ranked his/her sources of information for G & T
Table 4 – Respondent D – Ranked his/her sources of information for G & T.
Table 5 – Respondent E – Ranked his/her sources of information for G & T.
Table 6 – Respondent F – Ranked his/her sources of information for G & T
Table 7 – Respondent G – Ranked his/her sources of information for G & T
Table 8 – Respondent H – Ranked his/her sources of information for G & T
Table 9 – Respondent I – Ranked his/her sources of information for G & T
Table 10 – Respondent J – Ranked his/her sources of information for G & T
Table 11 – Respondent I – Ranked his/her sources of information for G & T
Table 12 – Respondent K – Ranked his/her sources of information for G & T
Table 13 – Respondents’ views on teacher nominations
Table 14 – Respondents’ opinions on identifying from a class G & T
Table 15 – Respondents’ opinions on finding the identifying tasks difficult
Table 16 – Respondents’ opinion on issues preventing teachers from nominating G & T
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1 - The Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent
Figure 2 – The borough council of Haringey
Figure 3 – The map of Haringey
Figure 4 – The questionnaire
Figure 5 – The area of North London outlined
Figure 6 – The Haringey council logo
Figure 7 – The top sources of information/evidence the respondents use in their own practice to identify G & T students
Figure 8 – The five most ineffective sources the respondents identified which they therefore do not use when making provision and identifying sources of information for G & T students
Figure 9 – Respondents’ answers to Question 2
Figure 10 – Respondents’ answers to Question
Figure 11 – Respondents’ answers to Question 4
CHAPTER 1 RESEARCH OUTLINE
You cannot solve a problem from the frame of mind that created the problem in the first place – Albert Einstein.
As music teachers we sometimes find it extremely difficult to identify a student who portrays
any characteristics that might be classified as ‘gifted and talented’, as we focus so much on assessment for learning, completing the curriculum and preparing students for the annual internal/external examinations. How do we actually prepare our lessons keeping in mind that some of our students might actually feel less challenged academically in class? Do we cater for their needs and allow them to achieve their full potential in our subjects or do we act as bystanders and allow our educational systems to rule us? The core problem is that many teachers in South Africa and Britain find that they have less time to spend and concentrate on the quality teaching due to excessive paper work needing to be completed for Ofsted inspections, annual grade reviews, outcomes based education and finally reports outlining specific data related to students’ progress, targets and achievements.
The following essay hopes to enlighten and assist teachers with the correct teaching guides in order to perform tasks and allow such identified students to prosper and reach their full potential educationally.
Jane Piirto quotes:
Gifted children have no greater obligation than many other children to be future leaders or world class geniuses. They should just be given a chance to be themselves, children who might like to classify their collections of baseball cards by the middle initial of the players, or who might like to spend endless afternoon hours in dreamy reading of novels, and to have an education that appreciates and serves these behaviours (http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/gifted_quotes.htim).
This will be a follow-up study on the work of Dr Tom Balchin from Brunel University in the United Kingdom with additional information provided from other research projects in Australia connected to the topic of Gifted and Talented.
1.2 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The energy of the mind is the essence of life – Aristotle
A great concern arises with regard to the policies that are in place for students who are identified as gifted and talented within schools in the United Kingdom. This is a constant phenomenon with certain students being challenged because of their cultural background and level of diversity (Cultural Issues and gifted and talented pupils, 2006: 3). As a research paper of Rollock (2005: 17) interviewing a staff member notes: “There are some children in [a] school who because they fit the look of an academically successful child, yeah, often quite hard working, always does the work on time; they are labelled as being the gifted ones, the very academically able ones”.
The focus of his research (Rollock, 2005) was on the perceptions of the ‘successful pupil’ in a secondary school with a significant black population. Was this a reflection of cultural competences associated with a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ student within a school? I disagree, as I feel one should not judge a student’s performance academically with reference to their ethnicity. Many researchers (Balchin 2005, 2007a, 2007b, 2008, 2009a, 2009b; Clarke 2006; Freeman 1998; Gillborn & Youdell 2000; Leyden 1998) supported developing further studies into this field and made positive contributions to the area for the identification for the ‘Gifted and Talented’ (G & T) programmes within the British Educational system.
The common problem that exists is the delivery of a proper music policy for the G & T students within most schools in Britain. The way teachers plan, deliver, prepare, execute, cater for and implement numerous programmes to accommodate students showing great potential of being listed G & T in England is inadequate.
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This research paper constitutes a follow-up study on the work of Dr Tom Balchin from the Brunel University in the United Kingdom and his findings in relation to the identifications of the Gifted: The efficacy of teacher nominations in British Schools. As most of his research focuses on concerns about the consistency of teacher nominations it is necessary to establish whether this problem exists nationally. Certain behavioural patterns of teachers and students influenced by situational factors are highlighted. His study warns of the probability that the British National Register will not have a genuine list of gifted students unless Co-ordinators are able to appropriately implement correct practical use of teacher nominations. His main aims were to construct an on-line package for teachers to access and for Co-ordinators to hone their observations (Balchin, 2007a: 2). The White Paper (DfEs: 2005), which collated the plans for the National Register, does not explain why the G & T label is needed (as the word ‘gifted’ is listed only four times) other than making reference to ‘targets’ and “incentives within schools and increasing annual numbers of students to level 5 by the age of 14”. Waters (2006) leads us to understand that today’s G & T students are important for the future of the nation’s economic competitiveness. Powell (2007) criticises and argues that the current policy does not provide extra provision for those students who are gifted in communication, coping with disability or those displaying a liking for vocational skills.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The main research question remains the same as Dr Balchin’s, as this represents a follow-up study: To what extent is there consistency in the way students are identified by subject teachers for the G & T provision in Britain?
The following sub-questions follow:
- What factors are influencing teachers’ judgements?
- What could be proposed to help schools identify the truly gifted for enhanced support and provision as required?
1.5 AIMS OF THE STUDY
This research aims to provide a clear understanding of the current education system with reference to the programmes available for the students who are listed as G & T prospective candidates in the area of Haringey. Secondly it aims to evaluate teachers’ perceptions with a level of consistency in which ways students are identified as G & T with several factors influencing their judgements and proposing what should actually be in place in order to assist schools to make provision and enhance support for students who are identified as G & T.
My rationale for this project is to implement a suitable program for students who are indentified as G & T at Fortismere School where I teach. It is imperative to inform teachers on how to assess, evaluate, identify and plan for students who are listed as G & T. Teachers need to make adequate provision for them in work set and to allow them to reach their full potential in music classes.
1.7 DEFINITION OF FIELD/TARGET GROUP
The majority of the project will involve working with teachers (aged 21 – 65) who are acting within the role of G & T Co-ordinators in their schools. The research project will involve twelve schools in the borough council of Haringey in North London in the United Kingdom. These schools are the only ones listed under the borough council of Haringey.
This research project will be largely empirical and will use the existing questionnaire (designed by Dr Tom Balchin) for G & T Co-ordinators within the borough council of Haringey. The researcher will rely on systematic observations to explore and answer the research questions. The methods involved will be qualitative encouraging the researcher to complement new theoretical findings and improve existing teaching practices. The design will involve one phase where all the data will be collated and analysed. The study will target teachers with the detailed questionnaire forwarded to the selected twelve schools.
1.9 DELIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
As a follow-up study of Dr Balchin’s work this research project focuses on the teacher perception questionnaire, making the necessary recommendations. It will only cover one borough council with twelve schools in comparison with the eight hundred schools which participated in Balchin’s 2007 study.
1.10 DATA COLLECTION
The research will employ qualitative techniques with the detailed permission letter (see Appendix A, the email and Appendix B, the letter) and questionnaire (see Appendix C) as described by Mouton (2001: 196). Once permission was granted from the various schools the data collection process took place. The research employed various journals, articles, books, newspapers, media reports, academic dissertations and information available on the Internet in order to present an in-depth literature study. The data collection was administered in the same way as Balchin’s in 2007 with the focus on the detailed questionnaire. Teachers who were currently in the role of G & T Co-ordinators had to complete and return the questionnaire via email.
1.11 DATA ANALYSIS
Most of the data collated consisted of the questionnaire completed by the G & T Co-ordinators. The received data were categorised in their particular sections and outlined with detailed discussions in Chapter 4. The questionnaire with respondent opinions were discussed and graphically illustrated through a graph representation.
1.12 VALUE OF THE STUDY
The research conducted will be valuable for music educators and teachers even in other disciplines (subjects). It will give them the necessary information to formatively identify a student who displays the characteristics of someone who is G & T. This will equip teachers with the necessary skills and tools to use in preparing for lessons and catering for students who are identified as potentially G & T.
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift – Albert Einstein .
Due to the nature of this project being a follow-up study, the author relied on existing literature that was available to guide him with his research. The literature review examined and created links between various definitions that outlined and identified students who were G & T. This included social and learning characteristics of such students, the level of quality of teaching and various philosophies associated with Music Education.
The literature will be reviewed in three sections. The first section will outline the existing definitions of the phrase ‘gifted and talented’; the second will examine the current policy available as described by the present Director of Curriculum of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). The final section will discuss the motivation and expertise theory which indicates that the idea of giftedness is all about hard work. This is not entirely correct; it cannot be assumed that all children who practise a lot will reach their full potential.
2.2 DEFINING THE TERM ‘GIFTED AND TALENTED’
Clarke (2006: 10) notes “Across the research field there are various definitions of the term ‘gifted and talented’. Issues of systematic identification and defining giftedness in students who are underachieving have also emerged from the literature”.
With reference to the first section as part of the literature reviews, various researchers (Cline & Schwartz 1999; Gagné 1985; Hymer & Michel 2002; Piirto 1994) conducted several studies and came to the same conclusion when defining the word ‘gifted and talented’. Piirto (1994: 7) states that “gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally qualified persons who by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of high performance”. In a report presented by the British National Association for Able Children in Education, Hymer and Michel (2002: 9) explain that “robust, reliable and educationally authentic definitions of giftedness and talent are elusive”. Furthermore they discuss existing studies in giftedness and Renzulli’s (1979) three-ring model which labels “above average ability, task commitment and creativity” as characteristics of a gifted individual (Hymer & Michel, 2002: 13). Gagné (1985: 104) also examines the Renzulli model and states “in order for giftedness to become manifest, these three components should be simultaneously present and must take root in the same area of performance”. Gagné (1985: 105) notes:
Whilst this model makes links between psychological traits and general and specific performance domains, it is inapplicable to gifted students who may be underachieving, as it recognises the presence of motivation as an essential component of giftedness.
The complex issue of defining giftedness in under achievements for students is emphasised by Cline and Schwartz (1999: 3) who state that:
The failure of school systems to accommodate gifted students is due to an inability to identify which students are gifted and our lack of attention to special populations of gifted that have been underserved, such as children with physical/sensory impairments or learning disabilities, ethnic minorities, young gifted children and underachieving children.
I totally agree with these statements as students generally within schools in England at the moment are listed and identified as G & T on those bases.
Clarke (2006: 11) makes the following observations as she lists:
- The lack of support for the gifted students do not demonstrate task commitment or above average performance.
- Most students in her study were already identified as academically G & T through means of standardised tests and procedures.
- Teachers in academically selected environments should always be aware of the ways their students learn in a classroom situation.
- Teachers should always recognise that G & T students may still lack self motivation and underachieve academically.
Gagné (2003: 60) proposes a differentiated model for defining the concepts of G & T. He argues that “most professionals in gifted education do not distinguish between G & T”, as these two terms have become identical. The Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (see figure 1) defines these terms as distinct and separate concepts. Gagné (2003: 60) argues that “gifts and talents are not inter-reliant”. His model suggests that whilst an individual student may possess gifts in defined domains, they can’t be labelled talents unless they are systemically realised and eventually become achievements. He refers to this realisation as the “talent development process”, with various influential influences including “intrapersonal catalyst (IC), environmental catalyst (EC), learning/practice (LP), and chance (C)”.
Gagné (2003: 64) notes that “IC’s refer to physical and psychological factors in the talent development process”. The development of proficiency on a musical instrument contributes to the physical factors for example the size of a student’s hand. He discusses further that the psychological catalyst have been categorised into four groups namely motivation, volition, self-management and personality (Gagné 2003: 64). These personality traits may assist a student in developing their gifts into talents however teachers must be conscious that not all students listed G & T will possess these traits.
EC’s were also divided into four categories, including milieu or surrounding, significant persons such as teachers and family members, provisions and significant events. Teachers of the G & T were among the most influential of the EC, and may significantly impact the development of talent amongst their students. Gagné refers to the “provisions category”, and analyses the three traditional methods of provision for G & T students as “enrichment, grouping, and acceleration (Gagné 2003: 65). He argues further that “triarchic distinction suffers from two major logical flaws”, as it opposes enrichment and acceleration which implies that enrichment is not a “general goal in all provision for G & T students” (Gagné 2003: 65).
Gagné suggests that:
Provisions should be categorised according to two criteria, namely the presence of absence of acceleration, and the present or absence of ability grouping, and that enrichment be the common goal of all provision. Educators should be aware of the provisions available within their school for gifted learners, and work to create teaching and learning programs that will enrich and enhance the talent development process (Gagné 2003: 65).
The “C-catalyst” refers to events and circumstance over which students have no control which may even affect the development of the talent development process, such as socio-economic status, physical disability and hereditary characteristics (Gagné 2003: 66).
The “LP-catalyst” refers directly to the application of time in developing a talent from a gift, such as mastering and learning a musical instrument or training in a particular sport or extracurricular activity (Gagné 2003: 68). Whilst teachers are not directly responsible for these catalysts, an awareness of their influences in the talent development process is crucial in order to offer appropriate and effective education to their gifted students.
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Figure 1 - The Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (Gagné 2003: 60)
2.3 THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM AND POLICY
The second section of my literature reviews will highlight and discuss the current policies that are in place as suggested by the QCA and listed below. My starting point will be to analyse and understand the British music curriculum policy document. The curriculum aims to focus on successful learners who enjoy learning and making progress with great achievement producing confident students who live healthily and become responsible citizens. These students positively contribute within any society. It is important to use music as a form of communication and to encourage students to think and express themselves. The policy documents for the National Curriculum (2007) suggest:
Music forms part of an individual’s identity and positive interaction with music can develop pupils’ competence as learner and increase their self-esteem. Music brings together intellect and feeling and enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development. As an integral part of culture, past and present, music helps pupils understand themselves, relate to others and develop their culture understanding, forging important links between home, school and the wider world (The National Curriculum, Music Key Stage 3, 2007: 179)
Furthermore music develops students’ critical and listening skills, encouraging self-discipline, creativity, aesthetic sensitivity and fulfilment. A number of key concepts underpin the study of music focussing on the pupils’ understanding of concepts in order to broaden their knowledge and skills. QCA (2007: 180-181) outlines the following five key concepts:
2.3.1 Integration of practice
Through the integration of performing, composing and listening knowledge is developed, emphasising skills and understanding. Collaborating, participating and working with others as trained musicians, adapting to different musical roles and respecting the values and benefits others contribute overall to musical learning.
2.3.2 Cultural understanding
Understanding different musical traditions and the imperative part music plays in the national and global culture reflects on the student’s personal identity. This constitutes exploring different ideas and experiences with emotions conveyed in music from different times and cultures.
2.3.3 Critical understanding
Analysing and engaging with music, developing different views and also justifying various opinions is crucial to the teaching and learning of music. This means drawing on experiences of a wide range of musical contexts and styles to make informed judgements.
This fosters a level of understanding to use existing musical skills, knowledge and to create new possibilities for music. It is interesting to explore various ways music can be combined with other art forms and also link to other subjects being taught.
Exploring how overall your thoughts, ideas, feeling and emotions can be expressed through the means of music.
The curriculum policy (QCA, 2007: 182-183) discusses the following two key processes which involve the essential skills and processes that pupils need to learn to make progress in music.
 Is the official body for inspecting schools in the local authorities and also provides links to school reports and official publications as well as a FAQ and contact details.
 The schools listed are Alexandra Park, Fortismere, Glademore. Grieg City Academy, Heartlands High, Highgate Wood, Hornsey School for Girls, John Loughborough, Norththumberland Park, Park Views, St Thomas More Catholic and Woodside High School.
 A method of inquiry employed in many different academic disciplines. Qualitative researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human behaviour and the reasons that govern such behaviour.
 See Appendix A (the email), Appendix B (the letter), Appendix C (the questionnaire) that was forwarded to the schools.
 Performance, composing and listening are interrelated. Pupils should be encouraged, for example, to develop their listening skills through performance and composition activities. Knowledge, skills and understanding in each of these areas should be developed interactively through practical music-making (www.qca.org.uk/curriculum)
 Music is a social experience in which each performer and listener contributes to the whole experience. Music activities help pupils develop as effective team workers and participators by providing opportunities to play a full part in the life of their school or wider community (www.qca.org.uk/curriculum).
 The way we respond to music is determined to a large extent by our culture. We need to learn how and why music is different if we are to appreciate unfamiliar music (www.qca.org.uk/curriculum).
 This includes engaging with music through performance and listening, and appraising music that covers a range of styles, genres and traditions (www.qca.org.uk/curriculum).
 Pupils’ awareness and experience of a wide range of music should be broadened through the key processes of performing, composing and listening (www.qca.org.uk/curriculum).
 This includes music linked to video, film, drama or dance (www.qca.org.uk/curriculum).
 These should be seen as interrelated skills and processes that enable the development and demonstration of musicianship and musical understanding (www.qca.org.uk/curriculum).