Reviewed by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development.
This highly accessible text makes great strides in empowering parents to engage in effective educational advocacy for gifted young people. Rogers' use of research findings in the context of designing positive and meaningful educational environments is exemplary. Much more than a compilation of relevant terms and resources, this text includes comprehensive information ranging from definitions of educational options to research-based applications of instruction, curriculum, and programs for gifted young people. Rogers has created an essential tool for parents interested in becoming more informed about advocating for their gifted young people.
A significant strength of this text is the clarity with which Rogers describes varying profiles of giftedness. This information can be presented to educators to underscore the need for individualized educational plans for gifted young people. An extensive table summarizes research-based behaviors of five identified domains of giftedness and talent recognized by the United State Office of Education (USOE). These domains (intellectual, specific academic, creativity, psychosocial leadership, and visual and performing arts) are addressed throughout the text. The framework of a discussion on the terms "gifted" and "talented" focuses on the work of Gagne. His differentiated model of giftedness and talent distinguishes the natural abilities of gifted individuals from the finely developed skills of talented individuals based on environmentally influenced developmental processes. Developing giftedness into talent is a process likely to be enhanced by applying the information in Rogers' book to diverse educational settings.
Another major strength of Rogers' work is the focus on developing an educational plan. This is absolutely essential to effective advocacy, particularly when there are minimal educational provisions for gifted young people. Rogers asserts the need for a combination of subjective and objective evidence of gifts and talents when requesting educational accommodations. Parents are likely to find the table organized by domain, as well as objective and subjective measures of giftedness and talents, particularly helpful in identifying the nature of a young person's strengths. Additional information gathering tools are provided, including interest and attitudes assessments for each of the core subjects, the Parent Inventory for Finding Potential (PIP), the Teacher Inventory of Learning Strengths (TILS), Rogers' Interest Inventory, and the Data Collector. Parents are encouraged to use the Data Collector form provided in the text for the purposes of detailing the young person's cognitive functioning, learning strengths, learning preferences, and interests. This systematic data collection contributes to an approach that responsibly and thoroughly addresses the needs of the whole child in context. All of this information is utilized in developing a comprehensive plan as outlined in the Yearly Educational Planner developed by Rogers.
In addition, Rogers provides concise information on instruction delivery and curriculum modification appropriate for gifted young people. An extensive portion of the text is devoted to research-based descriptions and assessments of educational options. Entire chapters focus on understanding the structure and effective delivery of subject-based acceleration, grade-based acceleration, grouping, and additional program provisions for gifted young people. Within these chapters, Rogers provides much more than definitions of these options. She includes informal assessments for parents to incorporate into their decision about the best educational match for an individual child. Learning the characteristics associated with those who have successfully utilized these educational options is essential to having a positive impact when seeking to re-form gifted education for a particular child.
Rogers makes the point that not all the needs of gifted young people are likely to be met within our school systems. However, this is not to say that many of their needs cannot be addressed by approaching educational advocacy using the tools she has provided. Multiple tables of resources for parents present perhaps the most extensive and diverse listing of educational resources currently in print that focus on addressing the needs of gifted young people. This information can be applied to supplementary activities, as well as full-time or part-time homeschooling arrangements.
In summary, Rogers' book is a must-read for parents and others determined to make a difference in the lives of gifted young people. It is also an invaluable resource for anyone working with gifted children who may be unaware of their diverse characteristics and educational needs. Rogers has provided a diverse and thorough review of research on the educational options presented in the text, as well as facilitative instruction on effective methods of advocating for gifted young people. As developmental trajectories progress and educational arrangements change, parents and educators can revisit the text in service of continually striving for the best match between the program and the child.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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