The drive toward more equal education opportunities for all students in the UAE regardless of their abilities or disabilities is reflected in the goals of the MoE strategy (2010–2020). One strategy entitled ‘School for All’ strongly supports the principle of equity in educational opportunities for all students to include those identified as ‘gifted students’. They define giftedness as ‘a student who is in possession of untrained and spontaneously-expressed exceptional natural ability in one or more domain of human ability.’
These domains will include intellectual, creative, social, physical abilities. In the case of a gifted student, whilst exceptional potential will be present, they may actually underachieve due to cultural and linguistic background, gender, language and learning difficulties, socio-economic circumstance, location and lack of engagement in a curriculum that is not matched to their abilities.
This podcast aims to further our understanding of the learning needs of pupils regarded as exceptionally able. It will discuss the characteristics of exceptionally able learners, effective assessment and teaching strategies and in addition, it will look at the development of a school policy to guide practice. While gifted education is well established in the United States of America and Europe for many years (Davis & Rimm, 2004), gifted education is a relatively new initiative in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In the last decade, gifted education programmes have been implemented in government schools in the UAE (Ministry of Education [MoE], 2014).
Dr Margaret O’ Donnell is a Tutor for ICEPE Europe.
She has wide experience in the field of research, special education, teacher education, curriculum studies, assessment and educational policy and practice. She held the post of Director, Curriculum and Assessment, with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) where her primary responsibilities related to the production and drafting of the Guidelines for Teachers of Students with General Learning Disabilities, Guidelines for Teachers of the Exceptionally Able Student, and developing a DVD for parents – The What, How and Why of your Child’s Learning.
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