2011 was a very successful year in terms of raising awareness about issues affecting the inclusion of gifted children in schools in Ireland. Thanks to Brian Clavin of KPMG we were able to fund the distribution of a poster and information leaflet to every school in the country as part of Ireland’s first National Gifted Education Awareness Day. The combination of this event with the first EU Talent Day represented a new departure in bringing the needs of gifted children to the attention of teachers.
Several articles were published in the Irish Independent, the Sunday Business Post and importantly in the ASTIR, the ASTI publication that reaches 17,000 teachers (page 28). An advertisement for the Awareness day in INTOUCH, the magazine of INTO reached every primary school teacher on the island – north and south.
Our chat on gifted issues in Ireland (and elsewhere) on Twitter on Sunday evenings at 9pm has drawn a steady interest. #gtie is now a recognisable hash-tag among many significant advocates. Teach Ireland and Gifted and Talented Network Ireland are growing and 2012 should see further, positive developments on those fronts. The Network also has a presence on Facebook for people who want to connect, join discussions and share resources.
Last year also saw, for the first time, a reference to gifted students in a Programme for Government. Coupled with support from the Minister and the Department this really was the icing on the cake.
” I very much welcome the initiative to establish the first EU Talent Day on 9 April, together with the National Gifted Education Awareness Day in Ireland on 8 April. We must nurture and support talent and giftedness, if we are to meet the challenges which face today’s society. This is a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate talent in many disciplines, and to promote an inclusive education system which meets all our students’ needs.”
Ruairí Quinn, Minister for Education and Skills (courtesy of the Sunday Independent).
This year we decided to be a little more ambitious and promote Gifted Education Awareness Week. We have invited and will invite several fellow bloggers to contribute with a post on their site. We have a new leaflet in the pipeline to distribute to schools. And hopefully the media presence will come through. The main site for the week is gtnetwork.ie. Gifted and Talented Network Ireland is a network of advocates and Gifted Advocacy Support (GAS) groups in Ireland.
Awareness is not something that will suddenly take hold over night. However, I know that teachers are very interested in the idea of gifted children and how to meet their needs. And every step we take is one step closer to greater inclusion in schools.
Gifted Education Awareness Week (GEAW2012) begins on Monday February 27th and culminates in the annual CTYI Conference in DCU on Saturday 3rd March. The theme of the conference is ‘Gifted Children inside the classroom and out’. This is the theme we have adopted for the Awareness Week. It is fitting that the first event of the week will be a special #edchatie Twitter Chat at 8.30pm on Monday evening. Big thanks to Fred Boss of the NCTE who hosts #edchatie every Monday. #edchatie attracts a large number of teachers from all around Ireland and it is great to have the opportunity to chat directly with them. The title of the chat is ‘Gifted children inside the classroom and out’.
The logo (below) is the official Gifted Education Awareness Week logo. We think it’s pretty and speaks for itself.