Case study #2 (Salton & Chalk, 2017)
The above scenario foregrounds policy issues, including how the school of this particular student defines gifted and talented students (GATS) and what support is available for these students. It does not define GATS, however, so this blog post uses following definition: “gifted pupils are those students most academically able,” (EdChat, 2013).
Standards 1.5 and 1.6 of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, require teachers to differentiate their teaching to meet individual needs, and demonstrate a broad understanding of strategies to support the participation of students with disability (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership [AITSL], 2017). Both of these standards refer to the teaching of gifted and talented students (GATS), and those with lower academic ability and disability.
A study by Rowley identifies 12 instructional strategies successful in facilitating learning for GATS. To summarise, teachers should employ teaching strategies which: “accommodate the individual; motivate and provide opportunities; develop talent; differentiate the depth and pace and offer challenging content and promote higher-level thinking” (2008).
In this situation, my responsibility as a teacher is to meet the needs of all my learners. For this particular student who is gifted in numeracy, I need to ensure that I do not teach, but rather facilitate the learning in this area. It is important that I provide this student with choices/options, and opportunities to connect with ideas at a higher level of thinking (Rowlely, 2008).
Literacy, specifically spelling, is an area in which this student struggles. It is therefore important to increase their sense of efficacy, helping them achieve at a higher level (Howard & McCabe, 2004). To do this, Howard and McCabe (2004) highlight the importance of teachers strengthening students’ expectations of success rather than failure; tasks should match the student’s ability levels, and challenge, not frustrate them. Other instructional principles should also be implemented: linking new work to recent successes; reinforcing effort and persistence; and helping students create personally important goals.
To improve this student’s spelling, they could read out-loud from a piece of writing of his/her choice, applying his/her public speaking skills. The student can then independently identify the words he/she has trouble spelling from this piece of writing by creating a spelling list on the computer. The spelling list compiled by the student could be distributed to the parent to reinforce and practice at home, taking advantage of the parent’s support and collaboration. If the student selects the piece of writing, practices their public speaking, and independently identifies spelling words to later practice, the student may regain and strengthen interest and self-efficacy.
If the student has a disability, the Disability Discrimination and Disabling Standards for Education is relevant. It includes information about making reasonable assessment adjustments, available support services, and curriculum development and delivery (2005). The Guidance Notes provide additional material that compliment the standards, designed to enhance the understanding and application of the standards.
Petrilli acknowledges that the greatest challenge in schools today is the “enormous variation in the academic level of students” in the classroom (2011). As a humanities teacher, it is important I know my learners’ needs and implement differentiation to meet them.
Photo by Sequent Learning Networks on Google Images
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2016). Student Diversity. Retrieved August 16, 2017, from http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/student-diversity.
Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership [AITSL]. (2017). Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Retrieved August 16, 2017, from https://www.aitsl.edu.au/teach/standards.
EdChat. (2013). Teachers TV: Gifted and Talented. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awo4yGIJ7w8.
Department of Education and Training. (2005). Disability Standards for Education 2005. Retrieved August 18, 2017, from https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/disability_standards_for_education_2005_plus_guidance_notes.pdf.
Howard, M., McCabe, P. (2004). Self- Efficacy: A key to Improving the Motivation of Struggling Learners. Retrieved August 16, 2017, from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.usq.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=a065d11c-e0b7-438a-a0e9-ed7580e60c2c%40sessionmgr101.
Petrilli, M. (2011). All Together Now? Educating high and low achievers in the same classroom. Retrieved August 16, 2017, from http://educationnext.org/all-together-now/.
Rowley, J. (2008). Teaching strategies to facilitate learning for gifted and talented students. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.usq.edu.au/fullText;dn=720828846652095;res=IELAPA.
Salton, Y., Chalk, T. (2017). Module 3 – The Humanities for Everyone. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from https://lor.usq.edu.au/usq/file/16f9d986-b194-4a29-af0e-1b0e95f592fb/1/EDS4408%20-%20Module%203.pdf.