Creating and sustaining the conditions that nurture the talents of individual students is a serious business. It requires a systematic and robust whole school approach where all students have the opportunity to explore and then reach their potential across the intellectual, creative, social and physical domains.
To nurture talent, a school must therefore be a supportive learning environment where all students feel a sense of success, wellbeing and belonging. A school must have cohesive systems and responsive practices that meet the specific learning needs of all students across the full range of abilities.
A supportive learning environment at Ashfield Public School manifests in many ways including Certificates of Success that reinforce positive behaviour for learning for each individual. It manifests in the comprehensive Triple E (Extension, Enrichment & Engagement) program that offers a wide range of high interest, high engagement activities where students can participate alongside students who share similar interests and/or ability. It manifests in differentiated learning across all key learning areas where students can engage in higher-order thinking and communicate substantively about what they are learning.
Nurturing talent also requires capable teachers who are charismatic, enthusiastic and who have excellent content and cultural knowledge. It requires teachers who can apply effective teaching strategies to identify talent and motivate individuals to develop their talent. These strategies include teachers engaging in ongoing formative assessment, having high expectations, providing timely feedback and implementing a well-structured and sequenced curriculum. At Ashfield Public School, teachers are supported to develop effective teaching strategies practices through ongoing professional learning.
Nurturing talent requires that issues of underachievement, as they arise, are understood and addressed, with a focus on decreasing the discrepancy between potential and performance. This can be achieved by sustaining and growing a whole school culture of high performance that motivates the individual student to engage in meaningful and satisfying learning. It can be achieved by the school’s commitment to implementing quality learning programs and maintaining strong relationships with families to overcome possible value, cultural and/or socio-economic barriers. It can be achieved by rigorous data collection and analysis so that every child is known, and every child is catered for.
Nurturing talent is a long term and ongoing educational pursuit. An effective education develops talent. It creates successful learners who can use their talent as confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens.
It is the job of every school to create the circumstances whereby each individual can come to know and understand their talent, develop it though persistent effort and daily practice, and successfully apply it to take advantage of the range of opportunities that life affords.
Revisiting gifted education. (June 2019) Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians