An holistic approach to the education of gifted and talented students in a parochial school setting

Date

1984

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Abstract

The history of gifted and talented education programs in America shows an increasing recognition of the value of providing special programs for gifted and talented students. But it does not show an increased understanding of the multi-dimensional nature of gifted and talented students, nor of their specific needs. Noted educational theorists Bloom (1956), Guilford (1967), Williams (1970), and Renzulli (1977) have developed models useful in teaching the gifted and talented. Although these theorists have made significant contributions to the field of education, their approaches are chiefly cognitive and thus are limited in their usefulness in developing a program to meet the many needs of gifted and talented students. In general, there is little awareness in their theories of the student as a whole person, nor is there any acknowledgement of the student as part of a social context. A gifted and talented student is more than a cognitive being. The purpose of this study is to review the literature and history of gifted and talented education programs in the United States and to examine the theories of four prominent writers in the field of education, documenting the chiefly cognitive approach to teaching the gifted and talented and delineating the limitations of such an approach. The ultimate purpose of this study is to propose a synthetic product: an holistic approach to meeting the many needs of the gifted and talented students in a parochial school setting. An holistic program for gifted and talented students acknowledges the many dimensions which make up a person: spiritual, physical, affective, intellectual, and social. Using the first letter from each dimension, the acronym SPAIS can be formed to describe such an holistic program for gifted and talented students in a parochial school setting. In a program which uses the SPAIS approach, students can be provided with opportunities to develop the many dimensions of their lives. The SPAIS approach also emphasizes the social context and usefulness of learning and encourages both the use of the community as a resource and the fuller participation of parents in the students' education. The social dimension of the SPAIS approach includes learning experiences which foster the cooperative interrelationship between student, family, school, and community. The SPAIS approach encourages the gifted and talented students to develop their full potential and recognizes students as responsive, sensitive, and creative members of society.

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Keywords

Gifted children--Education--United States, Church schools--United States--Honors courses

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