Ironically, gifted/talented students are as marginalised in schools as the 'slow learners' (the 'weaker students'). While it is not uncommon for institutions to fail to support those struggling to stand for themselves, schools have the dubious distinction of failing their best! Schools have nothing to offer gifted students.
In the nearly 200 hundreds of existing globally-scaled school formats, no school in the world has succeeded in routinizing enrichment and acceleration resources and processes (the two are vital developmental means for gifted children.) It is not even remotely implied that it is any easy implementing the two, but there is no genuine acceptance of the critical need to ensure the two.
Worse, schools mint 'slow learners, the strugglers,' the truth is that all children are born equally gifted. Not accounting for social and nutritional deficiencies, all children enrolling in schools are also similarly talented. There are no 'slow learners' in Kindergarten or Grade I. Every academic year leaves a few students behind in every grade, and by secondary school, the vast majority of students are left behind. Of course, parents must share a part of the blame because children from the most well-educated families are no exception to this unfortunate situation.
Indeed, the idea and the need of a school for gifted/talented children is rooted in the ‘flawed design’ of schools. Schools can never get down to focus and monitor the educational development and journey of individual students, there aren’t designto do so. Only a revolutionary new design of schools can truly, and assuredly, develop every enrolled student.
The new design
Educate each child AS IF they are gifted!
Yes, if only the school curricula, syllabi, textbooks, assessment, evaluation, etc., and teachers' election and capacity building assumes students to be gifted, no child will ever be left behind. It requires new genre textbooks and assessments to start with, even if the current curricula and syllabi are unchanged for now.
A gifted child is not to be taught; a gifted child is a self-learner given the right context. A gifted child follows her educational journey. This educational journey respects and supports as much enrichment and acceleration as needed for EVERY student.
There is only ONE strategy – mass-scale quality enrichment and acceleration resources and processes. And ensure the same for K-10; XI-XII is desirable, but not essential (gifted children can duly navigate it on their own). It must all start from Kindergarten, when all the children are always and truly gifted, equally. Every child must get personalised educational progress from Kindergarten.
The following five are the foundational components of mass-scale enrichment and acceleration:
- Parents, and communities, must become the primary educational spaces; schools and teachers can NEVER support every student
- Educational resources and processes must be rewritten to be parent-centered; schools and teachers to use the same.
It must be stressed here that the current resources and processes (such as textbooks, manipulatives, assessments, report cards) are 100% teacher-centered, and parents and students are made to use the same.
However, while the teachers can effectively use the parent-centered resources (teachers can be more easily trained in using the parent-centred resources), the vice versa is an impossibility.
- The educational resources and processes must first secure EVERY student's success in the three languages – The language of academic texts, math, and art/music/dance/physical education. The three are the backbone for all academic and worldly transactions.
- The unsurmountable challenges faced by schools w.r.t. enrichment and acceleration opportunities for every child must be resolved. A comprehensive curricular revolution is a pre-requisite for a mass-scalable programme for gifted children from the very beginning of formal education.
- The educational resources and processes must be universally available to all, not be dependent on the local schools' resources, teachers, curricula, etc. A digital, global school must be the alternate for every parent/child.
Why Parent School
The most certain lesson from the 200 years of the current school education system is that parenting matters. Quality of parenting is the most critical determinant of children's scholastic success. No child succeeds in school years without loving, consistent, and long years of support from at least one adult; rarely, that support is beyond parents. The occasional great teachers only prove the rule of 'parents as unsung heroes' of school education.
In fact, across the world, governments and school administrators have forced 'unparentiing' of the students; parents are not to be trusted with their children's education! School education edges out the most well-educated parents also from the school education years of their children. Worse, our children are expected to be no better, wherever and however best they are educated; they won't be able to school their children! School education is such that it always undoes itself, we 'forget everything we study at school,' comprehensively and assuredly!
During the pandemic, online education has exposed it all - classroom teaching has little to cheer anyone, including teachers! With few exceptions, the record of student's achievement is underwhelming, and creating anxiety and stress even among five-year olds!
School education needs nothing less than revolutionary changes to ensure parents can play the role they must. This is critically important for every child and every teacher to succeed and for schools to succeed as the formal institution of education.
Parent education is the game-changer in school education!
The Liberal School is not concurrent with the current format of 14 years of school education. It is much shorter - 5-7 years at best, out of which 2 years maybe with direct support by The Liberal School coaching to parents.
The Liberal School has developed the world's first 'Curricula for educating gifted children.' It is a grade-free and age-free educational resource that is categorised into 4 stages –
- Pre-primary (Two Kindergarten years)
- Primary (but split into two' soft compartments' – I–II and III–V)
- Middle and Secondary (Grades VI–X)
- Higher Secondary (Grades XI-XII)
Besides, the Learning resources, online assessments are offered independently or clubbed with the learning resources.
One on one Coaching by subject matter expert is another offering from The Liberal School.