Topic 7- Acceleration
Whilst research into acceleration tends to show that it has a positive effect on the performance of a gifted and talented student, my concern is that emotionally and physically these students may be left behind. This is a concern as Webb (1994) points out those students who are accelerated up grades lack the physical (motor skills), social and emotional development of their peers. Webb (1994) highlights that as the child advances further, their lack of physical and social and emotional develop compared to their peers becomes increasingly evident and can quickly become a source of frustration for gifted and talented students. As has been discussed previously emotionally and social development can be a big issue with gifted and talented students. However in saying this I think we really need to understand what the purpose of acceleration is and what it means for teachers. The purpose of acceleration as a practice with the gifted according to NAGC (2004) is: 1) To adjust the pace of instruction to the students’ capability in order to develop a sound work ethic, 2) To provide and appropriate level of challenge in order to avoid the boredom from repetitious learning, and 3) To reduce the time period necessary for students to complete traditional schooling. This means that for teacher’s acceleration is a placement not a program by which teachers combine extension material and enrichment of a differentiated curriculum together to develop material that will meet individual students needs (Anderssen, 2009). Essentially the process of accelerating a student up or down a grade can be simple; it is the process of determining whether or not it is the right course of action for that individual which is difficult. References: Anderssen, R. (2009). Suggested identification process for an unidentified gifted student. Southern Cross University, Lismore. NAGC, (2004). In Anderssen, R. (2009). Suggested identification process for an unidentified gifted student. Southern Cross University, Lismore.
Webb, J. T. (1994). Nurturing social-emotional development of gifted children. Reston, VA: The Council for Exceptional Children, (ERIC Digest #E527)
Hi Ivo, Thanks for providing this court example of acceleration and its implications for teachers and educators everywhere. I truly think that the judge made the right decision in finding for the education department as the child, by the sounds of it, was clearly not ready to be accelerated into secondary school. Secondly, it raises the issue of advocacy and how important it is for schools to develop checklists and measures that continually allow them to assess and determine if children are gifted or not. This way when a school is faced with a situation as described in that court case it has substantial evidence to present on the child’s learning abilities. I encourage everyone to read the article as it is truly an eye opener. Cheers, James