Principal Invetigator: Pauline Dixon. Lead Organisation: Newcastle University
Co-investigator: Chris Haywood
This project has four objectives. The first considers the identification of high ability children attending schools in slums of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Objective one studies the current identification process within 50-60 schools with children in grade six. Teachers will be asked to identify children they believe are high ability providing reasons why. It will be observed whether the current identification process is biased towards any particular gender or cultural norms. All grade six children in the 50-60 schools will be given a battery of standard tests utilised to identify giftedness along with English, mathematics and Kiswahili tests. A comparison will be carried out looking for any correlations between those identified by the schools, parents, peers and communities, and those by the tests. Other questions explored will include children’s self-perception of their own ‘ability’.
Objective two, considers the creation of an accurate/cost-efficient identification process for teachers and school managers, enabling them to effectively identify high ability children. The third investigates the possibility of enriching and accelerating learning by designing and developing a framework for running a “Saturday Scholar Program”. The final part is the dissemination of the findings to educators, policy makers, governments, opinion formers, and relevant stakeholders.
Who will benefit from this research? This research programme aims to fill important gaps in our understanding regarding the identification of high ability children as well as the interactions between these students, their peers, their teachers, the community and learning and leadership through new pedagogical interfaces. This research will inform policy makers, practitioners, teachers and psychologists who are dealing with high ability children and their possible contribution to others, including poverty alleviation. The results will also interest school owners and parents as well as organisations interested in the development of pedagogy around peer learning and those considering the contributions high ability children can make to others in their communities. Finally, this research represents a significant step towards furthering our understanding of the effects of the identification and nurturing of high ability children which is anticipated to benefit a range of social science disciplines, and address some fundamental social issues that are of interest to the general public and policy makers both in developing countries as well as at the development agency level. How will they benefit from this research? Our study will benefit those considering the contribution of the identification and nurturing of high ability children and the contribution they can make to their society. What will also be considered is how this information can assist the understanding of teachers and educational and applied psychologists, educational policy makers as well as providing a blue print for the identification and nurturing of high ability children in slum areas of developing countries, thus highlighting the need to measure ability for both genders rather than relying upon what is conventional in development settings. Parents and teachers of high ability children as well as aid agencies, NGOs, governments and education departments in both the UK and Tanzania and internationally will gain a richer understanding of the impact high ability children once identified can make on their communities and peers. What will be done to ensure that they have the opportunity to benefit from this research? We will disseminate our findings to practitioners, education professional, governments and aid agencies by presenting at major international conferences as well as to DfID, and the Tanzania education department. We will also submit at least tow papers for publication to well respected journal in the field, such as the International Journal of Development, Gifted Education Quarterly, and Comparative Education. Moreover, we will communicate our findings to individuals and organizations interested in the development of high ability children by presenting our findings at established workshop series and lecture series. We will also present through public lectures and workshops, and the PI will aim to report on the outcomes of the project, in a non-technical form, through a TED talk and on Youtube. We will also post our findings on the E.G. West Centre's website (http://www.ncl.ac.uk/egest). This is specifically designed to give information in a wider from to a wider public. We will further publicise our results to the general public by issuing and sending a press release to potential interested media (BBC, respectable local and national newspapers, popular science websites) via Newcastle University's Press Office.