European academics focus on early identification of gifted and talented students


Education experts from the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland and the UK are teaming up to up skill teachers in the early identification of gifted and talented students in schools.

By sharing academic research and examples of best practice from across the continent, it is hoped that a new curriculum can be developed transnationally that enables the most able students to reach their potential within mainstream education. 

The project, known as EUREKA, has been made possible as a result of funding from the European Union’s Erasmus+ initiative. 

School of Education and Social Work

Birmingham City University

Alongside study visits for professionals from across Europe, academics involved plan to deliver a handbook for teachers on gifted and talented provision in each country involved, as well as produce a recommendation paper for decision makers and strategists. 

The UK activity is being led by Birmingham City University’s School of Education and Social Work, in collaboration with the Titan Partnership, a membership network that aims to combat disadvantage and help improve to life chances of children and young people. 

Dr Eleni Kanira, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies at Birmingham City University, said: 

“Education systems should aim to ensure that all pupils – regardless of background – can complete their studies. Schools and other institutions, therefore, must create an atmosphere of acceptance and recognition of their most able students that doesn’t allow a disadvantaged background to become a barrier to achievement. 

Birmingham City University and the Titan Partnership will be working with collaborators from the Pedagogical Counselling and Assessment Centre (KPPP) in Zlín, Czech Republic, the Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB) in Ireland and the Greek educational organisation, Ellinogermaniki Agogi. 

EUREKA officially commences in June this year, when the academic participants will deliver a five-day training programme in Zlín to build the skills and knowledge to identify most able learners at an early stage. 

It will include observation and shadowing at both local schools and the Assessment Centre in Zlín, as well as workshops and seminars with teachers and educational psychologists. 

Sarah Bonser is Senior Lecturer in Secondary Mathematics Education at Birmingham City University and a member of the institution’s Teach First team. She added: 

“We have already compared and contrasted provision of gifted and talented identification and support in each partner country. From this research, we have highlighted key examples of best practice to share transnationally including supplementary teaching activities which require pupils to use problem solving, enquiry, critical thinking and research skills. 

Following the training programme in Zlín, partners Ellinogermaniki Agogi and GRETB will prepare additional resources, including a guide to support identification training and a resource directory of best practice ideas and materials from across the partner countries. 

In 2018, a further training programme and conference will be organised and delivered by Birmingham City University, which aims to support teaching practice and curriculum adaptation to ensure the most able students are sufficiently challenged. 

Hosted at the University’s City South Campus in the Birmingham suburb of Edgbaston, this five-day conference will be attended by teachers from the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland and the UK, which will also offer networking opportunities for schools wishing to develop links to international schools.

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