Monday, March 28, 2011

Creative/Productive Giftedness

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In a paper by Emiliya Velikova, Svetoslav Bilchev, Marga Georgievae entitled:  
Identifying of Creative-Productive Gifted Students in Mathematics,                               the authors state:

"Every Society is interested in gifted persons who are able to develop their creative potential, enrich their knowledge and experience and apply them to socially useful areas and activities.
The formation of future creators is a long and hard process, which starts at school. Hence, the teachers play the most important role in the identifying process." 

The authors offer the following tables to help us understand the differences between schoolhouse giftedness and creative-productive giftedness: (This applies to other subjects besides math.)

Table 1. The comparison of the general characteristics of giftedness
Schoolhouse giftedness
Creative-productive giftedness”
Learning of lessons and quickly adapting to the school environment
Development of original product that has an impact on a particular audience in respect to the interest of the creator.
Motivation – success in education.
Motivation – success in the area of interests.
Easy identification.
Difficult identification.
It is stable over time.
It depends on abilities, interest, motivation, stimulus and etc.
High IQ.
Above IQ.
Different level of CQ(creative quotient)
High CQ.(creative quotient)
Customers of knowledge.
Creators of knowledge.
Development along well-known special programs.
Development by purposeful pedagogy interactions that follows activity of creative personalities in some mathematical area.
Paradigm: I know how to learn.
Paradigm: I know what I want and can do it.
Table 2. The comparison of the typological characteristics of giftedness
Schoolhouse giftedness in Mathematics
Creative-productive giftedness in Mathematics”
Quickly assimilating ideas of others.
The thinking is original but not quick.
Quickly going into the problem.
Slowly, step by step is building reasoning and the result is harmonious mathematical theory.
Quickly solving the problems in school, competitions, Olympiads.
Not solving easy problems within limited time and solving very hard problems in unlimited time.
Quick change of interests.
The interests are solid.
Interested in nonstandard problems which are solved with great investigation and technique. 
Having ability for overall evaluation of the problem, to investigate many facts in the mathematical area of interest and to create original problem.
Limited capacity for work on one problem.
Capacity for  work on one interesting problem within a long period of time.

 Creative-Productive giftedness cannot be found through a simple test, as these students do not always follow the rules that schools play by.

Joseph Renzulli has observed that creative-productive gifted students tend to possess three interlocking abilities, which aid in identification:
1) Well above average abilities (general and specific) general abilities, high level of abstract thinking, verbal and numerical reasoning, spatial relations, memory, and word fluency, adaptation to the shaping of novel situations encountered in the external environment, actualization of information processing; rapid, accurate, and selective retrieval of mathematical information
2) High level of creativity
3) High level of task commitment  
This is taken from an article by Joseph Renzulli entitled :A Practical System for Identifying Gifted and Talented Students.  To read the entire article, click here.
Joseph Renzulli, a pioneer in gifted education has a great article that talks about creative-productive giftedness.  The entire article can be accessed here. In the article, he describes why creative-productive students are so important.  He says: "Creative/productive giftedness describes those aspects of human activity and involvement where a premium is placed on the development of original material and/or products that are purposefully designed to have an impact upon one or more target audiences. Learning situations that are designed to promote creative/productive giftedness emphasize the use and application of information (content) and thinking processes in an integrated, inductive, and real-problem-oriented manner. The role of the student is transformed from that of a learner of prescribed lessons to one in which she or he uses the modus operandi of a firsthand inquirer. This approach is quite different from the development of lesson-learning giftedness which tends to emphasize deductive learning, structured training in the development of thinking processes and the acquisition, storage, and retrieval of information. Why is creative/productive giftedness important enough for us to question the "tidy" and relatively easy approach that traditionally has been used to select the top 3 to 5%? Why do some people want to rock the boat by challenging a conception of giftedness that can be conveniently defined and easily measured? The answers to these questions are simple and yet very compelling. History tells us that it has been the creative and productive people of the world, the producers rather than consumers of knowledge, the reconstructionists of thought in all areas of human endeavor, that have become recognized as "truly gifted" individuals. History does not remember persons who merely scored high on IQ tests and/or learned their lessons well." 
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So  how can we identify Creative-Productive students?  Mr. Renzulli has some great suggestions:
1.  Test Score Nominations-This process starts by using test scores to identify a Talent Pool.  Any child who scores above the 85th percentile (using local norms) would be a candidate.  This approach guarantees that all traditionally bright youngsters will automatically be selected, and they will account for approximately 50 percent of our Talent Pool. This process guarantees admission to bright underachievers.  
2.  Teacher Nominations-allows teachers to nominate students who display characteristics that are not easily determined by tests (e.g., high levels of creativity, task commitment, unusual interest, talents. or special areas of superior performance of potential), that were not identified by test scores.  
3.  Alternate Pathways-Alternate pathways generally consist of parent nominations, peer nominations, tests of creativity, self-nominations, product evaluations and virtually any other procedure that might lead to initial consideration by a screening committee. The major difference between alternate pathways on one hand, and test score and teacher nomination on the other, is that alternate pathways are not automatic. In other words, students nominated through one or more alternate pathways will be reviewed by a screening committee, after which a selection decision will be made.  
4.  Special Nominations (safety valve 1)-This procedure involves circulating a list of all students who have been nominated through one of the procedures in Steps 1 through 3 to all teachers within the school, and in previous schools if students have matriculated from another building. This procedure allows previous year teachers to nominate students who have not been recommended by their present teacher.
5. Notification and Orientation of parents
6.  Action information nominations (safety valve 2)-orientation related to spotting unusually favorable "turn-ons" in the regular curriculum is provided for all teachers.  Teachers learn to spot creativity when a student becomes extremely interested in or excited about a particular topic, area of study, issue, idea or event that takes place in school or the non-school environment.                                                                                                                   
Parents are generally very aware of high levels of creativity in their children and there is much that we can do about it outside of school.  Allowing children to take lessons: art, music, dance, gymnastics, etc is a great place to start.  Parents can also be aware of their student's interests and help them pursue finding someone to teach a child how to crochet, working in the garage with a child on a birdhouse, providing the materials and supplies needed to do art projects.

We have used several programs and companies to meet the needs of our gifted children:

Cub Scouts       Boy Scouts
4-H                  Creative Girl’s Club
Sports              Service to others
Hoby                Natural Helpers
4-H camp        Missoula Children’s Theater
Lessons            Church activities
Girl’s State      H.S. Speech and Drama
Boy’s State      Book Clubs
Museums        How-to books
Travel              Girl Scouts

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Work-real world work--learning to garden, can food, cook, use woodworking tools, roof a house, drive a tractor, run a chainsaw, pull weeds, paint a fence, feed and care for animals etc. etc.  Our children have learned creative problem solving and have used their creative talents doing chores and working together as a family.  They have become self-reliant adults who know how to use their creativity in their every day lives.  All of my married children have said that learning to work was one of the very best things that we taught them!

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