Wednesday, August 10, 2011

World Council for Gifted and Talented Children

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.

6 comments:

  1. A great post! I'm loving the greater opportunities to communicate and collaborate that social media are bringing our way. In a way they continue the conferring once the conference has finished and the doors are closed. It would be great to see further moves in this direction, not just from the world council, but from many organisations involved in giftedness.

    A sense of isolation affects so many gifted kids, so many parents of gifted kids, and so many teachers of gifted kids, that greater connectedness has to be a key goal for all.

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  2. Thank you @ljconrad for highlighting this event. It is really nice to hear such nice things. ;-D. I would just like to say two things if I may. One, you may not have been aware, because it was a last minute thing, very unfortunatly, Nicolas Colangelo had to cancel at the last moment for health reasons. And secondly, After many months of work, the organisation is now firmly on it's two feet and in it's new home, and I am sure that, within it's capacity, in the future we will see it strive to continue to move forward into our modern world, as and when it is able. I for one am excited at the new buzz, the sense of collaboration, kindness and willingness to work together while putting differences aside here at the conference. I am in awe of what the contributions of the networking community could/can achieve. Within the gifted community here in Prague, there is a new feeling of kindship, may it spread to benefit as Lisa says, our greatest beneficiaries our children..;-D. Thank you again for your post, and highlighting this event!!

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  3. Thank you for your posting! The World Council for Gifted and Talented Children will try to establish 2013 as the Year of Giftedness and Creativity with a highlight at the 20th World Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, August 5-9. (from Klaus K. Urban, Member of the Executive Committee)

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  4. Thank you for the kind comments. @Innreach - thanks for the info. I have revised the post!

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  5. This is a great post. I am a graduate assistant at The Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University. I have been working with the WCGTC since the move of the headquarters to WKU's campus. I am definitely interested in getting the WCGTC to “update its approach to communication to encompass social networking and other online tools."

    Feel free to email us with any suggestions you may have (headquarters@world-gifted.org).

    Thanks so much for this great post!

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  6. Isolation and disconnection are so disempowering to 'us' parents. I love this post and couldn't agree more with your last line "At this point in history, we cannot afford the forces of inertia to forfeit the future for our children." If we could just get together, join forces, and sing from the same page we would be a truly formidable, global force.

    Nat

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