Today is being celebrated as the first International Day of the Gifted by the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children as part of their 19th Biennial Conference being held in Prague, Czech Republic from August 8th to August 12th.
This year’s conference boasts attendees from 69 countries and keynote addresses by some of the world’s most respected speakers in gifted education including Dorothy A Sisk, speaking on Developing Leadership Capacity in Gifted Students; Maureen Neihart, speaking on Revised Profiles of the Gifted (originally proposed in 1988 with Dr. George Betts); Franz J Mőnks, speaking on Gifted Education Worldwide: Retrospective and Prospect; and Ken McCluskey, speaking on Creating Creative, Cooperative Environments; as well as notable speakers: Leslie Graves, Roya Klingner, Peter Csermely, Barbara Kerr, Julie Taplin, and Paige Morabito among others. Of special interest this year will be a presentation by Rebecca Howell who will present, “Experience, Issues and Concerns of Parents of Gifted and Talented Children”.
As a parent of a gifted child, you may not be aware of this organization as its main stakeholders are educators, scholars, and researchers. Although they do mention “supporting and enhancing parent and family education regarding the development of the potential of all children” in their Mission Statement, their history belies a closer association with educators.
Begun in 1975 in London, England, and inspired by Henry Collis (then Director of the National Association of Gifted Children UK), the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children held its First International Conference for Gifted and Talented Children. In 1977, a seven member executive was first headed by Iraj Broomand of Iran. In 1979, a permanent Secretariat was established at the Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. (A full history may be found here.) Today the group publishes a newsletter, World Gifted, a journal, Gifted and Talented International (both available with membership; basic membership is $75US), and holds international biennial conferences. Their headquarters is located at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, KY, USA.
Why is this of interest to gifted parents? Information disseminated by the WCGTC is widely read and used by gifted educators and scholars around the world. The organization provides an inspirational gallery of gifted children on its website. Participation is such organizations can broaden resources for parent advocacy.
In a post last year, fellow blogger Gifted Phoenix suggested that the World Council should “update its approach to communication to encompass social networking and other online tools." Sounds good to me! The 21st century has become a brave new world when it comes to advocacy. All gifted organizations need to be networking with each other through social media and parents need to be joining with them to make their voices heard. Consider who is the greatest stakeholder in the gifted advocacy movement? (Hint: have a mirror handy.) Who should be the greatest beneficiary? (Answer: your child.)
Bold action and universal cooperation between organizations and parents is imperative if significant progress is to be made in gifted education. At this point in history, we cannot afford the forces of inertia to forfeit the future for our children.