Gifted children across Australia are suffering because the education system in place at many schools does not support them and their needs.
Liam Ball was deemed a gifted child at the age of eight but agonised through school because he was not given work that extended his talents.
He has audio-processing needs, meaning that he cannot hear properly when there is background noise; however, this was not catered for by his teachers at school.
His mother, Claire Ball, showed his teacher his official testing and IQ, but said “his teacher didn’t believe the IQ score”.
Claire described Liam’s schooling in one word: frustrating.
Both Liam and Claire feel he received no support from his teachers, and when asked how the rest of his schooling was, Liam said that he “stopped paying attention in school and so the work got the better of me and I kind of fell below”.
There is not enough training for teachers on how to identify children with high-order thinking skills, and because of this there are many gifted children not being recognised or challenged appropriately.
According to the State Government, if children are not identified early, they are likely to experience feelings of failure; also, if these children are then not given work that tests their mental ability, they will become frustrated and bored.
Due to the lack of help for her son, Claire Ball developed the Matthew Flinders Program at the school where she teaches, to provide encouragement and extension work for talented children.
When asked her opinion on whether teachers need to be better trained, she said that gifted children are “just as important as another type of need, like a special need”, meaning it is necessary for teachers to be trained so they know the correct way to teach these students.
She has found a lot of teachers try to ensure all the children in the class stay at the same level, but research has shown that when highly able children’s abilities are not recognised, they will lack motivation.
They can struggle to make friends and if they are not pushed out of their comfort zones by their teachers, they are likely to give up.
For many gifted children school can be a painful experience as the school system often does not accommodate them; instead, the system divides up the children by age but does not take into consideration their mental skills.
If gifted children continue to be ignored, they will be unable to reach their full potential because they will be squashed by the education system.
NOTE: This is a 400-word news article I wrote for my university unit News Reporting 1