This research project will be a follow up study of the work of Dr Tom Balchin’s from the University of Brunel and his research Identifications of the gifted: the efficacy of teacher nominations. The focus of this research particularly was to concentrate on the twelve schools in the borough council of Haringey, North London in the United Kingdom. The aim of this study was to evaluate and discuss 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. This is a qualitative study, designed to reveal the perspective and opinions of teachers and Co-ordinators related to G & T, and to expose significant areas for further research.
Keywords: British, creativity, English educational system, gifted, musicality, policy, skills, talented, UK
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 research 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.
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.
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.
This research is of the nature of participatory which constitutes action research. This study overall is based on one research instrument, the detailed questionnaire. Mouton (2002: 150) states that studies involving the subjects of research (research participants) use mainly qualitative methods in order to gain an insight into life-worlds of research participants. This includes action research in classrooms and schools with the use of documents. O’Brien (2001: 3) confirms that with this type of research study the problem ensures the intervention systematically and is informed by the theoretical considerations. McNiff et al. (2002: 15) mention that “Action research is a name given to a particular way of researching your own learning”. They continue “Action research involves learning in and through action and reflection”. This includes social and caring sciences, education, organisation, administration and management (McNiff et al. 2002: 15). Ferrance (2000: ii) describes within her introduction that action research is undertaken in a school setting. It is a reflective process that allows for inquiry and discussion as components of the “research”. McNiff et al. (2010: 18) explains that “Action research involves improving practice through collaborative learning.” This research is performed within a particular social situation (McNiff et al. 2010: 18).
The data provided from the twelve schools were from well experienced teachers and some newly qualified teachers as well. The data revealed by response to the preliminary questions (mostly about the schools and the Co-ordinators) follow in order to support and understand the current educational situation in the UK. The questions 1-5 are presented, together with supporting qualitative data. A discussion of the implications of this data is linked into this section, for purposes of readability. Each school was asked to note its ethnic majority. As might be expected with a national sample, 86% of the schools identified their dominant ethnic majority as white and British. The largest other dominant ethnic groups (shown as percentages of the sample) where Asian (4%) and black African (10%).
The chart on the next page (see figure 1) indicates that in the UK teacher nominations are the most popular way to gather data towards G & T identifications. In this sample, 30% of the secondary schools G & T Co-ordinators used this method, before and other, as their number one preference for gathering data. Students’ past work and portfolios (21%) are the next most popular methods. Followed by academic testing (17%), end of term year/reports (10%), IQ testing (7%), and creativity testing (5%), out of school reports (4%), peer nominations (3%), students’ self-nominations and parental nominations
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Figure 1 - The top sources of information/evidence the respondents use in their own practice to identify G & T students
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Figure 2 - 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
- Quote paper
- Masters in Music Education with Distinction Mario Maxwell Müller (Author), 2011, A summary of the follow up study on the work of Dr. Tom Balchin "Identifications of the gifted: the efficacy of teacher nominations", Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/273694