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Chapter 6 School-Wide Talented and Gifted Program For the Deaf Gerald Pollard Jim Howze DR. GERALD POLLARD is currently the Director of Communication Center and Project Director of the Talented and Gifted Project both at the Texas School for the Deaf. He has a B.A. from Louisiana College, M. A.s from Louisiana State University and Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois . Dt. Pollard's professional experience is varied. He has served as a first-grade teacher, media specialist, instructor at the university level, principal, teaching assistant, research assistant, and research intern. He has published several research papers and is active in professional organizations such as the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf, Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf, and the American Education Research Association. JIM HOWZE is presently the acting Superintendent at the Texas School for the Deaf. He received his B.A. from the University of Texas and his M.S. from the University of Tennessee. He was a demonstration teacher/instructor for the Southern Regional Media Center for the Deaf and has also served as a houseparent , classroom teacher, high school supervisor, school principal, Director of the Media Center, and Assistant Superintendent at the Texas School for the Deaf. He has maintained an interest in the field of talented and gifted for a long time. 600 A.A.D. I September 1981 Talented and Gifted Program The Talented and Gifted Program (TAG) at the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) began 3 years ago with funding coming from a competitive Title IV-C grant. The three-year project was designed to identify and provide a differentiated educational program for talented and gifted students at TSD, as well as to assist the regional day programs throughout Texas in identifying and serving their talented and gifted students. We have been involved with the development of this program for more than 3 years now and have learned a great deal. This presentation is an attempt to share what we have done and what we have learned. Table 1 presents a sequential view of the project's history including the major activities for each year. Before wè get too far into the discussion of talented and gifted, let's look at a few definitions . The United States Office of Education's definition reads as foUows: Gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally qualified persons who, by virtue of outstanding abilities, are capable of high performance. These are children who require differentiated educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contribution to self and to realize their contribution to self and society. Children capable of high performance include those with demonstrated achievement and/or potential ability in any of the following areas, singly or in combination: 1. General intellectual ability 2. Specific academic aptitude 3. Creative or productive thinking 4. Leadership ability 5. Visual and performing arts A second definition is provided by Dr. Joseph Renzulli. His definition involves three clusters of traits: 1. above-average ability, 2. creativity, and 3. task commitment (motivation). When a student possesses all three clusters, he/she can be considered a talented and gifted student. Figure 1 illustrates these three clusters and their interrelationships. One can see from these definitions that the old layman's concept of "whiz kid" or "boy genius" has been enlarged considerably. We are now addressing a much broader spectrum of abilities than ever before. Another key concept in education of the gifted is that of differentiated education. What makes gifted students different from their peers is, in general, their ability to learn at a faster pace, their ability to generalize and apply concepts from one area to another, etc. As a result of these abilities, TAG students require a different type of educational program, specifically one designed to meet their rate(s) of concept mastery and varied according to their level of skills. This type of educational programming is the essence of differentiated curriculum for gifted students. Another way of looking at the concept of differentiation is illustrated within the field of electronics. To obtain the best efficiencies in...


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