Picture provided by the author, attribution CC-BY
How do we know when a child is gifted? This topic is quite complex. Many studies have been published about this. For Treman in 1925 the main criterion in order to evaluate whether the child is gifted was the level of intelligence. Later in 1972, Marland referred to multiple criteria in his report (Clark, 1997; Davaslıgil, 1990). According to the report, gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally qualified persons who by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of high performance.
Çağlar (1986), following the definition proposed by the U.S. Office of Education in 1977, continues as follows: These children show high achievement in one, several or a combination of the identified areas. The areas being: 1) General mental ability, 2) Special academic ability, 3) The ability to think creatively or productively, 4) Leadership ability, 5) Ability to make visual and art, 6) Psycho-motor (motor) ability (Büyüksezer, Eriş). Renzulli (1986) criticized the absence of non-mental elements such as motivation. He says that gifted individuals obviously have above average abilities but at the same time they are extremely creative and committed to completing any task. These 3 are key elements to success in any field. Curiosity unites these elements and basically encourages the student to explore more.
During one of my classes, I proposed to my students to create a wall of curiosity. The idea is that students choose a topic every week. Each one of them hangs the topic they are curious about on this wall. For example, geometric shapes. They did some research, then wrote their questions and hung them on the wall. You can see how it looks on the image above.
This exercise enables students to share and learn information in a fun way. There is a time slot when students can exchange their ideas, add more to the wall and this way get more familiar with the topic. This exercise improves students’ creativity, problem solving skills as well as their soft skills thanks to working together as a big team.
The aim is to help students to look at the topic from different angles. From my experience, the wall is working. I did some pre- and post-tests with students to evaluate their thinking levels. The results proved that they are more interested in subjects and come to class motivated.
Gülşah Mutlu is a Scientix Ambassador, MEB BİLSEM.