Program described as a workshop and networking opportunity to support schools in identifying and serving gifted/talented students

Nine schools across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi gathered to launch a pilot program to identify and serve Gifted/Talented (G/T) students. Schools were chosen by ADEC’s School Administration to ensure a good mix of male and female students, geographic diversity (three schools per region – Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and the Western Region), and a variety of cycles (1-3). The chosen schools showed positive growth and performance on recent school inspections.

The two day workshop, which took place on August 23rd to 24th 2016, helped provide 36 school leaders and teachers from nine of the piloted schools, an overview of the project, alongside the resources utilised to help support it.

The current pilot implements international best practices in G/T education aligned to the local context, to create a roadmap for future programs throughout the Emirate.

In order to support the actualization of giftedness into talent for the purpose of enhancing the knowledge-based economy, all students must be supported to reach their full potential. Research shows that unless G/T students have access to appropriate programming and support, they may underachieve and fail to reach their full potential.

The piloted schools will be receiving a Handbook for Identifying and Serving G/T Students, which provides guidelines and resources for appropriate identification and service models for gifted/talented education.

Each school will assign two contact persons to receive intensive train-the-trainer, to support other teachers in their school in implementing the strategies and resources outlined in the Handbook. In addition, specially designed Enrichment Units, support materials, and training will be provided to schools.

During the workshop, some of the public schools which already have some G/T programs in place, will share current good practices with the pilot schools. Examples of some of the things to be shared include: the Future Problem Solving program at Atikah School in Al Ain, enriched “G” classes at Mubarak bin Mohammed School, and special programs (leadership, literacy, creativity, and technology) at the Hamdan bin Zayed School.

A Gifted and Talented, Special Needs Teacher at the Cycle 1 boys school in Al Ain, Al Nahyaneya, Mr. Mohamed Makhlouf, expressed his enthusiasm for the program, saying: “Recognising a gift or talent is very important, it helps support a student to reach his/her full potential. We as educators are all very excited to hear the program is now standardised across all schools. Now teachers are expected to recognise an individual students potential and make use of it. The strategies around this program are also solid, since they are based on our own challenges, experiences and suggestions, which is great, the foundation is solid!”

Ms. Mariam Al Noaimi, Arabic Language Cycle 3 Teacher in the all-girls school, Hunain School in Abu Dhabi, said: “Attending this workshop was an amazing experience for me personally. I knew about the Gifted and Talented program, but thanks to today’s training, I learnt a whole new perspective about it. We were all given in-depth learnings on how to determine if a child is gifted or talented, ways by which you can maintain this potential and how it can help benefit the school and the community in general. I have a lot of students in my classroom who are talented writers and can become tomorrow’s poets or renowned writers. I am definitely excited to take this experience back to my classroom and implement it.”

– ADEC Media