Equipped learner, how to identify it: for an effective inclusive education

In a school world engaged in the multiplicity of functions and bureaucratic obligations that often reduce the vital energy of the teaching staff itself, the recognition of gifted subjects still today proves to be a difficult task, also due to the absence of a common definition. of all. , and also for lack of knowledge in this area by the teachers themselves.

Teachers are certainly not the figures who can attest to the presence of a state of excess gift, but they are certainly the first to observe the presence of the typical characteristics and general features of each student.

For this reason, it is necessary and indispensable that teachers are trained in the subject, in the strategies to identify such cases, something that instead, as we know, does not often happen in the Italian school environment.

To date we do not have a single assessment test of talent as all professionals in the field agree, and there is not even a single score of a test that is able to give us all the useful information about a case of plus grants to better understand this situation, we need for more tests, more criteria and more time available and so that the observation, serious and attentive, can produce the desired results, useful both for the individual student and for the class context in which he is placed.

Recognizing the gifted student early allows you to work in school and non-school contexts that support him in his condition, stimulate and involve him to be able to immediately develop his potential, taking into account the needs also on the social level , emotional and behavioral.

What might the needs and satisfaction of the same be in a classroom context for gifted students?

Once they are observed and identified, the students gifted have special program needs, as much as students recognized as having deficits, the learning needs of gifted they are actually different and complex compared to their peers and that is why they need special education.

What can be encountered if adequate school support is not offered gifted it will be to create a classroom situation where the student gifted will turn out to be a disorganized student with significant academic difficulties in relation to inclusion and participation in educational and didactic dialogue.

Indeed, the gifted subjects need specific training capable of satisfying their emotional and cognitive needs in order to properly integrate them into the classroom context and achieve maximum educational success adequate to their potential. . If you do not intervene with sufficient and special pathways, the risk will be to lead the student onto the opposite path to success, i.e. dropping out of school.

For students giftedthere is no single teaching method, each student has their own learning needs, interests, talent and potential, it is necessary that the teaching programs in gifted is differentiated and designed individually based on the personal characteristics of each one of them, to allow them to achieve excellent results in the school environment, but also work with other aspects at the same time.

When this does not apply, from a scholastic point of view there may be a risk of underachievement etc underperformance, when the potential is not recognized and supported in a positive way (often the gifted subject tends not to show it and achieves extremely low performance compared to what he could do). You may also face a dropout or drop outto social isolation or even to loss of self-esteem.

What other risks could the gifted subjects run when they were not recognized for the high cognitive potential they possessed?

For the students gifted where, as mentioned above, there is no single teaching method, as each student has their own learning needs, it is necessary to work on other aspects at the same time to avoid the risk of school failure or even better distrust of their communication skills. In this regard, the following operational and observational indications to be carried out during the didactic action may be valid:

  • Misdiagnosis or absence of dual diagnosis, this often occurs in the case of students twice extraordinary which is part of the fifth profile of surplus appropriations proposed by Betts and Neihart. Since there is a masking effect of the high cognitive abilities, it is often difficult to identify them also from a surplus point of view, and thereby more emphasis is placed on the deficit. The most frequent misdiagnoses are oppositional defiant disorder, mood disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD;
  • Dysfunctional behavior;
  • Adolescent depression, at the time the subject gifted enters the complex world of adolescence without having been adequately identified and supported, may begin to show typical features of this condition, perfectionism, unusual sensitivity, introversion, loneliness and alienation, excessive self-criticism, lack of emotional intelligence. It is therefore necessary that the young person has a social network and is introduced to the environment for what it really is.

What indication could be useful in docimological research for these topics?

Against the background of the numerous difficulties in identifying surplus grants, in 2018 the National Council of the Psychological Association has drawn up official guidelines to be followed in the evaluation of the same, which we can summarize below:

  • Observation to primarily evaluate the communication and non-verbal aspects of the subject.
  • Interview with the subject to explain to him the reason for the exam and at the same time evaluate the level of adaptation in the different environments, the quality of social relations and his main interests.
  • Interview the parents to explain the situation to them and gather all possible elements useful for the final evaluation, such as elements that may also show the presence of a disorder.
  • Intellectual level test.
  • Questionnaires for parents, for the subject in question and for teachers in the latter to obtain all necessary information.

A major step forward in the identification of surplus grants at the school level was achieved with memorandum No. 562 of April 3, 2019 from the MIUR: students recognized as gifted are officially included in the system for students with special educational needs (BES).

In this way, the teachers will be able to find tailor-made solutions for the individual student in case of need and school difficulties.

This change in the Italian school world has made it possible to place more emphasis on surplus grants, without taking the students into account anymore. gifted as subjects capable of learning and succeeding on their own; In all this, inclusive education plays a very important role, thanks to which it is possible to offer the same opportunities to each student, but in a personal way adapted to the needs of each individual.

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