Building Confidence and Improving Gifted and Talented Programmes through “Eight by Eight”

Through just eight team meetings and eight staff meetings, it is possible to improve schools’ provision of gifted and talented education (GaTE).

Pukekohe East School describes itself as “a unique small school where we appear to attract students who are different! Parents have chosen our school because of the size and the fact that they have identified that their children are different.” The school’s population includes gifted students and those who are ‘twice exceptional’ – as well as being gifted, they have a challenge that impacts on their learning. The school recognised a need to better cater for its gifted and talented learners and raise awareness of GaTE across their school community. In particular, the school wanted teachers to learn holistic methods of teaching gifted children, to involve the wider community in the process of identifying giftedness, and to familiarise community members with the resources available to help and support these students. The school established a GaTE team to lead this change. The team recognised the need to establish an integrated framework of support. It sought to found the framework upon the school’s values and beliefs while connecting it to current understandings about what is meant by ‘giftedness’ and ‘talent’ and the most effective pedagogy for these learners. For this reason, the team contacted Cognition’s GaTE consultants.

The GaTE team used a strengths and needs analysis rubric to track the impact of the professional learning and development (PLD) over seven domains. Observation and scoring of practices on each domain was undertaken before and after a series of 16 PLD sessions. The data showed considerable improvement in knowledge and practice.