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Gifted youngsters 'need to be challenged'

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 29/11/2011. Gifted youngsters 'need to be challenged'Tags: Education And Politics

Many of the brightest children in Ireland are not being offered the services they need to be adequately challenged, which could be hindering their potential, it has been stated.

According to the Irish Times, of the 35,000 children in the top five per cent of the population for their intellectual ability, only 4,500 currently access specialised programmes.

Director of the Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland Colm O'Reilly told the publication gifted kids need a tailored curriculum just as much as those at the other end of the scale.

"By definition, the average or mainstream curriculum will not serve their needs. Yet there is no recognition of giftedness as a learning need in schools. There is no training for it at the teacher-training colleges, either," he explained.

Mr O'Reilly suggested parents may like to refer their kids to services such as those offered by his organisation, which can greatly help these individuals achieve their potential, even if it is only for an hour or two a week.

The Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland - based at Dublin City College - offers university-style education for primary and secondary-level pupils and over 35,000 youngsters have participated in programmes since 1993.


Rolade Berthier

(04-12-2011 14:02)

There's always a room for targeted or specialised education. My son did Grades 8 & 9 in one year in a school for gifted children in the south of France. He's now 16yo and enjoys being at Warwick Uni getting excellent results and socialising with students from different cultural backgrounds, including the locals. There are many ways to help intellectually gifted people maximise their potentials, e.g. acceleration, extra classroom tasks, out of school activities, etc. Having a national policy and local commitment & resourcing, including trained teachers, contributes to success!

I agree with you that parents/family, educators, governments and our society as a whole have a role in ensuring that giftedness contributes to making our world more prosperous, peaceful and just. One of my concerns is that gifted children from low-socio economic backgrounds are often neglected and undetected. How do they find out about services and programs, like CTY, and where will they get the money to pay for these?

Dr. Rolade Berthier


(29-11-2011 14:22)

CTY dosent just do university style courses that is a myth my youngest DS did Drama and Write,Act and preform and the history of Harry Potter while my middle DS loved the computer and animation courses while Eldest who would be the most academic did the academic courses and were I agree that CTY is not for everyone it is a great addition to Gifted Education in this country.
Some parents when they come from disadvantaged backgrounds are not really sure what they should be doing with their gifted children and in this way Colm and his staff were an invaluable source of guidance and information.


(04-12-2011 22:16)

I agree, and gifted children really need to be challenged and encouraged. It's so frustrating for them to be in a class and find the learning objectives do not meet their needs. Unfortunately, a class in primary school in Ireland is generally so big, has such a mix of children with differing needs, socio economic backgrounds and groups with specific special needs that it is near to impossible to seriously challenge the high achiever without the help of parents. I agree with Dr. Rolade Berthier, society must support and encourage all children but particularly the parents of all children. Parental attitude toward education and the childs teacher will make or indeed break the success of the childs achievement of a high standard in education.

Roos Demol

(29-11-2011 12:27)

The only problem has now become that parents seem to see the CTY as a snob value. I also don't like the fact that kids do university style courses, where a lot of them would rather do different things. My son was very gifted, but I opted against the CTY because I think they take it all a bit too seriously..and a child is and stays a child, however intelligent they are. Instead he went to the Gaiety school of Acting, and got involved in athletics. We gave him all the books he wanted to read, and let him use his creativity. He acted in several plays, was Hamlet in Hamlet when he was 15, represented Ireland in School athletics and is now a very happy student in Cambridge. I think parents should maybe put a little more effort in themselves.
I am sure for some children CTY is good, but it is not the only solution out there.
Yes, we had problems in the school, because teachers find they have enough on their hands with under achievers, so why should they bother with over achievers. It can be frustrating, but as a parent you need to take some responsibility as well. I don't think the CTY would have made my son any happier, but we managed in other ways.

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