National Strategy for Gifted Education

The development of the Gifted Education program in Romania shall be performed in many stages both by macro-programs, meso-programs and by micro-programs. In all these case, there should be a structure by stages required for the main development directions. A synthetic view on this development could form by the help of the following table where one could see the time synchronizations between macro-programs, meso-programs, micro-programs, and logical structures by stages and their development directions. One can read this table both horizontally and vertically: 

Macro-programs Meso-programs Micro-programs
1a)training of teachers in the gifted education methodologies 1b)organization of institutional partnerships between involved professional organizations and concerned institutions. They will be organized in a cooperation network 1c)Organization and attraction of specialists in gifted education, or of persons who want to become specialists in this field, around training institutions (The National Center for Gifted Education, Universities involved in gifted education courses, master’s degrees, doctor’s degrees)
2a)setting local development goals and design of specific gifted education centers in accordance with the development needs of the strategic human potential. This will be achieved starting from the training potential of the teaching staff and will be developed on a permanent basis in time according to the increase in the trainers’ skills 2b)development of funding lines by public-private, public-public, or private-private partnerships enabling the achievement of these goals.In order to achieve these goals one will further use and develop the cooperation network created at the previous point 2c)creation, selection, research and validation of specific instruments required for the operation of these centers. These instruments will have a wide range of operation from personnel or pupils’ selection to the curricula selection, promotion, partnerships, promotion and attraction of applicants.In order to achieve these goals, the specialists mentioned at the previous step will be used
3a)development of national and international partnerships providing the best practices transfer from the world market 3b)creation of databases with information useful for the development of the national program (the selected curricula, organization structures, specific work instruments, successful programs, published articles, etc.) 3c)development of networks of experts, mentors, tutors, local supporters, participating institutions, which should make up the environment for training and spreading of the program on wide areas and in the entire school environment
4a)creation of a practical expertise forum, of a line for research and publication of studies in the gifted education field accessible to everybody under the form of databases, of a line for the publication-publishing of specialized books in this field 4b)development of a competitive line by training directions in centers, of a line for expressing one’s intelligence, creativity, motivation, originality, complex and dynamic thinking 4c)development of education lines by narrow and strongly specialized niches. This could be achieved by means of the training environment mentioned at the previous step. They will trigger a number of local micro-programs to have a local financial support.
5a)development of lines for the assessment of education quality, of the educational product, of the effectiveness in the local development, of started programs 5b)development of a line for the social and professional integration-insertion of gifted education graduates, of a promotion system based on the professional quality and on the expertise quality, on the quality recommendation 5c)development of a line for the self-adjustment of the quality regarding the programs for financial support obtained from the local cooperation environment, the evaluation by the cooperation network and the assessment made by experts
6a)development of strategic importance centers by main directions where there is a current need or a further need estimated by high value class specialists 6b)development of the performance programs that should cover urgent and important needs (policy making, crisis management, crisis solving, inventics and development of new technologies, etc.) 6c)creation of stimulating means for the development of skills, stimulation of creativity and solution finding, by the capital orientation in these directions (venture capital, angel capital, social venture capital, etc.)

 All the 18 stages presented are interconnected both horizontally and vertically, thus creating the means of remedy for deficiencies occurred on a direction by correction loops on the other direction.For instance 4b)  « the development of a competing line by training directions in centers, of a line for expressing intelligence, creativity, motivation, originality, complex and dynamic thinking» may be influenced both by « 3b) the creation of databases with data useful for the development of the national program, (selected curricula, organization formulas, specific work instruments, successful programs, published articles, etc.) », as well as by « 4a) the creation of a practical expertise forum, of a line for research and publication of studies in the gifted education accessible to all in the databases, of a line for the publication-publishing of specialized books in the field».A clearer graphical image of interferences can be made on a torus, thus, for instance, 3a is influenced by 2a and 3c. Currently, there are the bases for the development of each of the 18 steps, these development bases needing just a thorough correlation in order to be integrated in a high-performance national program.A presentation of these initial bases can be seen in the following table

Steps Existing bases
1a) training of teachers in the gifted education methodologies ROTALENT and IRSCA GIFTED EDUCATION
1b) organization of institutional partnerships between the involved professional organizations and the concerned institutions. They will be organized in a cooperation network EDU-GATE cooperation consortium with over 30 members
1c) Organization and attraction of specialists in gifted education, or of those who want to become specialists in this field, around training institutions (the National Center for Gifted Education, Universities involved in gifted education courses, master’s degrees, doctor’s degrees) Iasi University, IRSCA (Romanian Institute for Advanced Studies and Research Gifted Education)
2a) setting the local development goals and design of specific gifted education centers in accordance with the needs for the development of the strategic human potential. This will be made starting from the potential of teacher’s training and it will be developed on a permanent basis in time according to the increase of trainers’ skills. Development of centers will be made by directions « charter centers-feeder schools » thus taking over the excellence centers and being integrated in the gifted education programs, magnet schools, which may include high-performance centers for artistic and vocational education, as well as private centers with high specialization on the educational offer, high-performance pilot centers required for the training of high value and highly skilled specialists. The experience of pilot centers will be subsequently spread within the national and international educational system. The cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research, national and international institutions and organizations, with the Institute for Education Research and with other institutions and NGOs, local companies and authorities for the identification of local development needs and of means required for their development. This cooperation will be achieved in a cooperation network based on technical expertise and social, organizational and financial involvement.
2b) development of financing lines by public-private, public-public or private-private partnerships enabling the achievement of these goals for the human potential development.  The cooperation line for the vocational training (National Agency for Vocational Training), funding companies and national, European or international funding programs.
2c) creation, selection, research and validation of specific instruments required for the operation of these centers. These instruments will have a wide range of selection regarding the personnel or pupils up to curricula selection, promotion, parteneriate, promotion and attraction of applicants.  One has already validated in Romania the Stanford-Binet 5 and Wechsler tests, which are state-of-the-art at the world level. There is also a permanent skill development and increase in the psychologists’ experience in this field.
3a) development of national and international partnerships providing the transfer of best practices on the world market World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, ECHA, NAGC, NAGY, AUSTEGA, etc.
3b) creation of databases  with data useful for the development of the national program (selected curricula, organization formulas, specific work instruments, successful programs, published articles, etc) www.curriculaonline.com, ERIC, GERIC, etc. This data will be bidden to schools on a free basis or in exchange for money to be used in the development of programs in accordance with the local development needs, the local human potential and the strategic goals of the program for the education of children with special abilities and capabilities of high performance.
3c) development of networks of local experts, mentors, tutors, supporters, participating institutions, to make out the training environment and the diffusion of the program widely and in the entire school environment The network of teachers with good results in annual school competitions, already existing at this time, but not organized as the functional structure in this direction. www.olimpiade.ro 
4a) creation of a practical expertise forum, of a line for research and publication of studies in gifted education accessible to everybody in databases, of a line for the publication-publishing of specialized books in the field www.supradotati.ro, partner publishing houses, attributions of the future Institute proposed by the law, international partners.
4b) development of a competing line by training directions in centers, of a line for expressing intelligence, creativity, motivation, originality, complex and dynamic thinking Public school contests (annual school competitions) or private (canguru), training camps, touring exhibitions, on-line forums, all already launched or even consecrated at this time
4c) development of education lines by narrow and highly specialized niches. This could be made by the held of the training environment from the previous step. Pilot, Lauder College and Lauder School, there are also other projects to be further developed.
5a) development of  lines for the evaluation of the quality regarding the education, the educational product, the effectiveness in the local development, started programs ARACIP for the mass education, but there is a small core of specialists able to develop something similar in gifted education in the near future
5b) development of a line for integration- social and professional insertion of gifted education graduates, of a promotion system based on the professional quality and the expertise quality, on the quality recommendation Delta Foundations, other NGOs, government institutions, head-hunting companies
5c) development of a self-adjustment line for the quality of programs of financial support obtained in the local cooperation environment, of assessment by the cooperation network and of assessment performed by experts Chambers of Trade and Industry, incipient banks starting venture capital, social venture capital, angel capital programs, multinational corporations, incipient government programs.
6a) development of strategic importance centers Under negotiations with state institutions
6b) development of high-performance programs covering urgent and important needs (policy making, crisis management, crisis solving, inventics and development of new technologies, etc) Under negotiations with state institutions
6c) creation of stimulating means for the development of skills, stimulation of creativity and solution finding, by the orientation of the capital in these directions (venture capital, angel capital, social venture capital, etc.) Under negotiations with the business environment

 After passing the law in the matter, one may create the premises for passing to precise goals to be developed in a complex and integrated manner. An example in this respect is the following program proposed by the Ministry of Defense: 

STRATEGIC TRAINING CENTER 

The Romanian economic growth needs created by the accession to the European Union can be covered by just a highly valued professional, moral and intellectual, special human resource trained for strategic, complex and dynamic thinking and having an enlarged theoretical and practical knowledge.All these features have existed during the period before and after the wars to many of the political and administrative leaders as well as to the highly-skilled scholars of that time. It is less known that at that type, there were in place two programs generating that human value, a gifted education program supported by the Royal House in which also King Mihai participated together with gifted children from various social environments, as well as a brain drain-brain regain program enabling the appointment in management positions of specialists such as Spiru Haret or Dimitrie Brandza to run ministries of strategic importance.Such programs are still operational in the world recording the same success. As a recent example, we have Lithuania and the New Zeeland, with recent tradition we have China and India, with an old tradition we have Australia, the UK and the USA. Lately, such strategic programs for gifted education have been adopted as an absolute necessity by many countries, in Europe, the last country in Europe having adopted a specific legislation in 2005 being France.In Romania very recently, a draft aimed at the education of children and young people capable of high performance has been sent for discussion to the Parliament.This draft project is included in the training program for high performance young people and is aimed at the creation of policy makers, specialists, experts and decision-makers who are responsible in various fields.A strategic training center can be achieved with minimum expenses in a military unit removed from service with the total area of over eight hectares and can be directed towards the strategic fields in the national development strategies. Such strategies may include new technologies where Romania can create specialists in the pre-university education up to post-doctor’s studies. In this case, within the educational units there will be research and production centers. According to the need of dissemination and development of these new technologies one may turn an increased contingent of specialists initially selected according to their personal skills and subsequently trained for high performance, by using work methodologies validated in international programs of « gifted education ».Between these development areas, one may also create a school for cadets trained to understand complex and dynamic situations and to make the best decisions in critical circumstances.In order to give an example for this concept, such a training program developed within the cadet school will include in the curricula several directions, some of them compulsory, others optional at the pupils’ discretion. Such directions are the following:- theoretical and applied science-sociology and crisis psychology-physical training based on martial arts-philosophy and history of cultures and religions-situational patterning and strategies-communication and multiculturalism-theoretical and applied ecology-entrepreneurship and leadership-management and theory of decisions-etc.Pupils will be recruited according to their personal skills, teachers will be recruited according to the value of their theoretical and practical experience and will be trained on a regular basis the methodologies proper to « gifted education ».In parallel, with this training center for children there will also be an in-depth study center in this field, also including the research application field.Pupils will come with the public transportation means or will benefit from boarding school regime, the same being also valid for teachers. Graduates will be able to choose among various fields of activity, their recruitment being preferential according to the level of financial support of supporters. They will receive the right to contract them.The aforementioned centers could also be created by means of a public-private partnership and can benefit from financing both from budgetary and from extra-budgetary sources or from various services, products or participations in various research grants.An example close to such a center having created the human resource necessary for the reconstruction of Yugoslavia is « Petnica Science Center ». This center established in 1984 has trained enough specialists with high intelligence trained to enable quick reconstruction, and in the case of Slovenia, the experience of the center has been multiplied, thus enabling Slovenia to have a per capita income enough to provide an average wage of Euro 1000 per month.These examples can also be transferred in the case of Romania with similar effects. Another example is the International Academy for Gifted Children, a starting program in cooperation with Lauder Foundation and Lauder College funded this year:

International Academy for Gifted Children 

Rationale

The economic and social conditions in Romania provide the opportunity for the establishment of an international high school based on the principles of traditions related to gifted education programs.Currently, there is an increased number of foreign companies (over 2000 recorded with the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) which have a foreign personnel employed. Most of these employees were unable to also take their families with them because of the problems raised by the educational incompatibility of Romanian schools with the training needs in the high universities in their countries of origin and because of the low educational offer in terms of quantity and quality of most of foreign schools.In gifted education methodologies, the “enrichment” program provides the actual opportunities for attraction into the private regime and the gifted education programs offers both a capital needed for the construction of this high school, and the specialists and pupils. Educational programs An international gifted education center developing successful programs is NAGC SUA, or Petnica Science Center Serbia. Educational programs aimed at training directions given by the high school specific character. For the Romanian center, such a structuring direction can be given by the set: entrepreneurship, leadership, applied sciences, multiculturalism. Various ethnical communities may choose various sets of programs. Thus, the French community in Romania prefers sets of programs aimed at engineering specialties, but the educational offer of the high school can be prepared so that it can provide the complexity required by the market. Examples of programs in international centers 

Content:



o                    Principle o                    With Open Eyes and Open Mind o                    Youth to the Youth o                    United Science o                    Teachers for the Future School Principle



The educational programs in Petnica are not linked with school curriculum and common models of school teaching. Targeting students in age range 12-20 (grade 7 up to university) they cover a wide spectrum of sciences and interweave them into a complex web of knowledge, thinking skills, observing and data collecting techniques, etc. Involved also in this context are strong threads of mathematics, logic, philosophy, and literacy. More than 2,000 academics, scientists, engineers, managers, from Yugoslavia and abroad are included in the design of such a program. The PSC developed the biggest system in Europe for recruitment of young people talented in thinking skills. The main goals of this program are: o                    To identify gifted high school and university students from all parts of Yugoslavia and give them intensive individualized extracurricular education regardless of their ethnic origin, gender, or confessional or political affiliation; o                    To enable the best students to do real scientific projects based on real problems and carried out on professional scientific equipment and under the supervision of the best scientists and science teachers; o                    To instruct young science teachers on how to apply up-to-date scientific concepts, knowledge and educational methods and technology; o                    To initiate cooperation and knowledge/experience/idea exchange among undergraduates and graduates who study at different universities and different programs; o                    To establish rich international/intercultural contacts and cooperation among young people, students, and teachers. The Petnica Science Center like no other similar institution in Eastern Europe targets specific areas of educational transformations recognized in the world: o                    FLEXIBLE EDUCATION designed to fulfill individual needs, talents and capabilities; o                    INNOVATIVE EDUCATION that transfers actual scientific discoveries, theories & problems into a comprehensive curriculum and better teaching processes; o                    EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EDUCATION that makes no distinction among genders, different social, ethnic or religion groups; o                    EDUCATION FOR THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY that increases students’ mutual understanding, tolerance, friendship, and respect for diversity; education that avoids conflicts among groups or individuals; education against political extremism, intolerance, xenophobia, racism, anti-semitism and violence; o                    STUDENTS PARTICIPATION in the creation and realization of the curriculum as a whole; o                    EDUCATION FOR THE FUTURE that prepares students to recognize the power, opportunity, and risks of modern science and technologies, and to think more about future; o                    BIDIRECTIONAL EDUCATION where teachers increase their knowledge and experience in continual interaction with curious and motivated students, and where each student has a chance to teach other students in the field he/she has more knowledge With Open Eyes and Open Mind



In spite of the general social, economical, and political situation in the country and in the region, the Petnica Science Center is “an island of optimism” where young staff, supported by many enthusiastic scientists, try to conserve “intellectual belief” among young people teaching them to keep their eyes and mind open for new ideas, experiences, and communication with the similar people worldwide. On the other hand, the PSC staff, young, enthusiastic, educators, teach themselves by living and working with problem, method or topic. With no preconceptions and no model, the PSC became a flexible, future-oriented project with tremendous influence not only on teaching practice in schools, but on the entire evolution of science, technology, and social development of the country. Youth to the Youth



In addition to nearly 1,000 guest teachers and lecturers who are famous scientists, university professors and prominent researchers, every year there are more than 200 “junior associates”, university students and Petnica alumni, who play an important role in the PSC’s educational environment. They have to solve the problem of the “generation gap” and establish the best communication with teenagers. Most of them are among the best undergraduates students and young scientists. They are “fresh blood” that makes PCS’s programs dynamic and lively. United Science



The topics of the PSC’s courses/workshops are based on the idea of unity and integrity of science, not divided into separate and different (by subjects, objectives, and methods) branches, etc. There are many topics and problems, as well as many scientists, connected to a complex educational web where each student has an opportunity to find his/her place and to adapt to other views, to be aware of the real problems, ant to present his/her own ideas or experiences. Teachers for the Future School



The teachers’ training program is a very important part of PSC’s activity. There are more than 400 schools linked with the Petnica Science Center. Many teachers (not only of sciences, but also of language, art, school psychologists, etc.), especially young ones, show interest in being informed about new trends and methods in education, exchanging their own experiences, problems, and ideas, and finding new domestic and foreign literature and resources relating to education. Teachers’ training programs are not always in the form of special courses or workshops. Sometimes teachers are invited to participate in the design and rendering of certain students’ projects. This type of individual experience could be transferred to their regular school experience.  

PHYSICAL FACILITIES



The Petnica Science Center has very good facilities, both boarding and educational, to accommodate students enrolled in the programs all year round. The Center has seven buildings (50,000sq.ft.) which serve various purposes The dormitory has 100 beds for students and for teachers and guest lecturers. The restaurant serves all living in students, but it has the capacity to serve school excursions, one-day-courses for local students, etc. The academic building at the Center houses three fully equipped classrooms, laboratory classrooms for chemistry, physics, optics, electronics, geography, astronomy, and archaeology, a modern computer classroom, and a central library with scientific literature (more than 25,000 books and journals). There are several hundreds of videotapes and about half a milion slides, most of which are on optical discs which allow for quick and reliable viewing. The library is also the center of many educational and other activities at the PSC, considering the fact that the PSC pays attention to directing young people to use primary scientific sources. Having free access 24 hours a day to more than 50 computers, students have the opportunity to use various software packages, databases, CD-ROMs, Internet services, and more. In addition, the Center has laboratories for chemistry, biology, geology, a computer and documentation center, and office space. The new astronomical observatory with a half-meter telescope is under construction on a hill less than a mile south of the PSC.

The fact that most of the equipment is used both for professional research and scientific work on some of the projects which PSC is pursuing simultaneously with its educational programs, enables the students in the educational programs to observe real scientific experiments and even to be directly involved in them, facing with all real problems of the scientific research. Through special, carefully designed scientific projects students are in the rare position to “scientific environment”, i.e. a special ambient where young people are immersed many days in scientific literature and equipment, and exposed to professional scientists. Moreover, this environment promotes a valuable interaction with their colleagues of similar talents, interests and problems. This illustrates one unique and valuable aspect of training at the PSC - learning through research.

What is Renzulli Learning?The Renzulli Learning System is an exciting new on-line program that matches students’ interests and learning styles to thousands of different enriched, challenging learning opportunities. These activities and options in Renzulli Learning are based on The Enrichment Triad Model, which has been cited as the most widely used plan for enrichment and talent development in the world. What will my child gain by using Renzulli Learning?

In the Renzulli Learning System, an individual Talent Development Profile (called the Renzulli Profiler) is created for each student that is matched to an individualized Enrichment Differentiation Database that serves as a search engine for a collection of Internet and downloadable resources. These learning opportunities are made available in a personalized selection of activities that is a unique match for your child’s interests, learning styles, and preferred modes of expression. Based on students’ responses to questions, specific activities are identified in each of the following areas: ·                     Virtual Field Trips·                     Real Field Trips·                     Creativity Training Activities·                     Training in Critical Thinking·                     Independent Study Options·                     Contests and Competitions·                     Websites Based on Personalized Interests·                     High Interest Fiction Books·                     High Interest Non-Fiction Books ·                     How-To Books For Conducting Research and Creative Projects·                     Summer Program Options In Special Talent Areas·                     On-Line Activities and Research Skills·                     Research Skills and Projects·                     Videos and DVDsHow did Renzulli Learning originate? Renzulli Learning is a completely new concept that is based on almost 30 years of research to help students develop their interests and talents. Taking advantage of state of the art technology, Renzulli Learning searches out an enormous amount of information on the web to find enriching, challenging differentiated work for all students in their areas of interest and choice. Renzulli Learning is based on research conducted by Dr. Joseph Renzulli and Dr. Sally Reis of the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education. Their work has found that students achieve at higher levels when they pursue topics and activities of personal interest and that enrichment can be provided to all students through the use of this technology.

How does Renzulli Learning help parents to provide enrichment to their children?

The Renzulli Learning System can help parents access, with minimal cost or time, a wealth of opportunities to provide enrichment activities for students of all levels of achievement and abilities. Whether parents want to help their children gain access to virtual or real field trips around the world, or expose them to high level literature or creative and critical thinking activities, this enrichment data-base will save hundreds of hours as thousands of these enrichment opportunities have already been found and entered into Renzulli Learning.

How does Renzulli Learning work?

First, students are asked to answer a user-friendly series of questions about their interests and the ways they like to learn. After answering these questions, the Renzulli Profiler compiles a written profile that summarizes their talents, interests, and learning styles. Then, a detailed and comprehensive choice of hundreds of exciting learning opportunities and a wide array of enrichment activities that are constantly being updated is provided for each student.

What else does Renzulli Learning offer parents?

Renzulli Learning offers exciting resources for parents. Parents can read articles about the system and about enriching learning opportunities for students. These articles are selected just for parents, as are helpful links to web sites that help parents and are updated on a regular basis. They can access exciting web sites to help them with their questions about parenting in today’s world. They can download creative activities to try with their children. Parents can read their children’s’ profiles and view all of the activities and assessments that students have completed each day, week, or month.

Parents can discuss their child’s progress with teachers and their children and help their child pursue their special interests by helping them buy or find the books they select as favorites, or helping them participate in on-line creative writing competitions and supporting them as they pursue independent projects and virtual field trips, as well as all of the other options available in Renzulli Learning.

High school design The architectural design of the high school should be performed so that it complies with the aimed at educational programs.Though Romanian private Schools follow the methodologies imposed by the Ministry of Education and Research, international schools have a wider degree of freedom, because there are still no methodologies prepared for their operation. Even within the Romanian laws, one may organize enrichment programs (curricula upon the schools’ decision, weekend programs, summers schools and work camps), or acceleration program (the opportunity to study two years in one and transferable credits). In terms of methodologies for grouping, tutoring, mentoring, there are no normatives, which enables their application without any problem regarding the legal procedure.These specific forms of gifted education should be found in areas intended for study, outside classrooms, laboratories, conference, sport, dining halls, specialized cabinets, library, IT halls or offices. The specific character of the high school will bring into this project another areas intended for educational programs. Training of teachers The recruitment and training of teachers in the didactical methodologies proper to the educational and social specialty of the high school represents the bases for the success of the future high school.This specialized training will be made on a regular basis in the countries with a long experience in gifted education, in many countries such as Israel, there is, on a regular basis, a Sabbath year intended for intensive specialized training. Outside this training program, every year there is the compulsory character of taking a number of several tens of psycho-pedagogical courses for all teachers in the gifted education system.The psycho-pedagogical training makes teachers become active factors in the setup of educational programs, in the improvement of teaching styles, in the performance of research and in the organization of new action directions.Besides, this training helps teachers directly cooperate with parents’ or financers’ organizations, to attract funds or to involve the parents or specialists in the development and management of programs.The psycho-pedagogical training helps teachers identify the learning styles and the pupils’ personality features, properly assess their progress, discover the customized best work strategy with pupils, avoid the over-stressing or excessive stress with the possibility of misbalance of children with disabilities or psychological problems and guide children towards the area where they can have an excellent development and increase the trust in your own forces, they can achieve their personal goals, they can develop their creativity and may excel in their own methodologies of thinking.Gifted education is a pupil-oriented program, by encouraging the development of personal abilities and it can be achieved only with teachers trained in this field. In terms of the increase in the quality of education in Romania, the « gifted education » program will provide the opportunity for ensuring actual operating examples and best practices transfer from the international performance environment towards the national program, and subsequently towards the entire national educational system. This transfer will be made in time, involving more and more teachers, selecting more and more pupils, attracting more and more funds, increasingly enriching the technical means. Florian ColceagChairman of IRSCA GIFTED EDUCATION Chairman of RO-GATE consortium        

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