“Following a number of information and welcome sessions over the past three weeks, teachers have commenced various assessment tasks and standardised tests to ascertain the range of abilities in their classes. The results, along with assessments from the end of last year, will enable teachers to differentiate learning according to need. Even though children are in the same year group, this doesn?t necessarily mean they are at the same stage of development, or of learning. Some students require extension and enrichment work whilst others need the concept unpacked and further explanation.
At AISHK, it is our belief that students should be provided with an environment which challenges, motivates, extends, stimulates and helps to make the most of one?s abilities and talents. The term ?gifted and talented? is generally used in relation to a group of students that is exhibiting outstanding ability and talent. At AISHK we tend to use the terms “highly academic” or “amongst the most able/advanced”, rather than gifted.
Teachers cater to gifted students through various activities. Open ended tasks allow students to develop at their own pace and regulate their own learning. It is also a way for all students to be involved in the same concepts and outcomes. Catering to the diverse needs of all our students, our teachers plan and teach using Gardner?s Multiple Intelligences and Bloom?s Taxonomy and of course the Inquiry process. Classroom environments encourage creative, critical, divergent and higher-level thinking and an open-ended approach to learning.
Within the academic program, standardised tests in literacy and numeracy are used to identify students performing at the ninth stanine or top 10%. In addition, information provided by NAPLAN, as well as checklists of particular behaviours attributed to gifted and talented students are used, as is information provided by previous teachers and of course parents. Our very bright students are registered and tracked each year to make sure they are being extended in some way and that their capabilities continue to be stretched and advanced.
Some strategies used for academically advanced and talented students in Primary Division are as follows:
Parallel Programming. Used to good effect in extending gifted and talented students at AISHK. It involves individual or groups of students working on a unit of work, but in a range of intellectual or ability levels. Parallel programming relates to normal classroom work, employs higher-order thinking skills and does not involve “busy work”. It enables students to work on activities at the same time as the rest of the class.
Extension. Extension encourages expansion of knowledge and skills in the regular curriculum at AISHK. Learning new strategies for constructing knowledge is a particularly important goal of our extension programs. Extension is provided via a range of learning centres and using negotiated curriculum contracts within the school. Examples used include: challenge centres, contracts and projects, peer teaching and Information Communication technology.
Enrichment. Enrichment at AISHK encourages expansion of knowledge and skills in the regular curriculum. It enables gifted and talented students to participate in learning based on their performance. Enrichment activities include: excursions, competitions, extra curricular activities, guest speakers, public speaking, using technology, a buddy program and a peer support program. Enrichment helps students improve skills such as creative thinking, problem solving, questioning and independent research.
Our Learning Enrichment Centre currently offers support for students who require remediation or learning support. Eventually we also plan to include a role for the Centre that involves overseeing students who require enrichment and extension. This role is currently capably coordinated and planned by the teachers and Year Level Leaders”
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