At Loreto Kirribilli, being a comprehensive school, we attend to the needs of a spectrum of abilities. The Gifted and Talented Program at Loreto Kirribilli is one designed to ensure the requirements of gifted and talented students are met. Please read on to learn about its five key components.
Identification is used as a means by which to learn more about the needs of gifted and talented learners. The school utilises a multi-faceted approach to identification, where both objective means such as reasoning tests, performance data, competition results, and subjective data, such as teacher and mentor nominations, contribute to our knowledge of gifted and talented students. Identification is used to aid the use of Programming Strategies in the classroom.
This component is at the heart of the program, as gifted and talented students interact with their class teachers for a significant proportion of their school day. Teachers use a range of strategies including flexible grouping, to ensure gifted and talented students work with like-minded peers, coupled with differentiated curriculum using gifted instructional techniques. Accelerative strategies such as curriculum compacting, mentoring and telescoping supplement extension or enrichment of classroom learning. Subject specific acceleration is offered in Mathematics, and as per the individual needs of the gifted and talented learner.
Additionally, the school offers pull-out programs, such as Philosophy in Action for Years 7 and 8 students, specific electives such as Global Culture and Thinking, and the opportunity to work with external mentors at different times of the year.
Academic Enrichment involves additional opportunities offered to students to enrich their school experience, supplementing learning and providing alternate ways in which gifted and talented students can work with like-minded peers. This social factor provides support socioaffectively for gifted and talented students.
Students nominate independently for options such as Future Problem Solving, a year-long activity which expands critical and creative thinking skills. Academic competitions like Da Vinci or Write a Book in a Day provide a competitive yet safe environment to encourage experimentation and risk-taking in learning.
Mentoring and Coaching
Gifted and talented learners may be impacted by factors specific to their giftedness. When this is the case, the Gifted and Talented Coordinator may intervene and aid the student, supporting the student as needed. Additionally, through the introduction of coaching in 2017, when required, the Gifted and Talented Coordinator can use her expert knowledge of gifted learners to guide as necessary.
Research and Data to Inform Future Practice
Action research based in teachers’ classrooms expands our knowledge and understanding of the specific cognitive needs of gifted and talented students, where the resulting data is shared with staff in a safe forum to guide possible learning activities. Focus groups are used to develop collective understanding, and surveys are used to further enhance the ways in which the school and teachers meet learning needs.
Nicole Sabbadin (Ms)
Gifted and Talented Coordinator