Equipped pupil, how to identify it: for an effective inclusive teaching

In the world of school 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 turns out to be a difficult task also due to the absence of a single definition shared by all. , and also for the lack of knowledge in this field by the teachers themselves.

Certainly teachers are not the figures who can attest to the presence of a condition of surplus gift, but they are certainly the first who can observe the presence of the typical characteristics and general traits in each student.

For this reason it is necessary and indispensable for teachers to be trained on the subject, on the strategies for identifying such cases, something which, instead, as we well know, does not often happen in the Italian school environment.

To date we do not have a single assessment test of the giftedness on which all professionals in the field agree, and there is not even a single score of a test that is able to provide us with all the useful information on a case of plus-endowment in order to better understand this situation, we need more tests , more criteria and more time available and so that the observation, serious and attentive, can give the desired results, useful both to the individual student and to the class context in which he is inserted.

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

What could be the needs and satisfaction of the same within a classroom context for gifted students?

Once observed and identified, the students gifted have special program needs, just as much as students who are recognized with deficits, the learning needs for gifted they are in fact different and complex compared to their peers and that is why they need special education services.

What can be encountered if adequate school support is not offered gifted it will be creating a classroom situation in which the student gifted will turn out to be a disorganized student with not indifferent academic difficulties in terms of inclusion and participation in educational and didactic dialogue.

The gifted subjects need, in fact, specific training that is capable of satisfying their emotional and cognitive needs in order to correctly integrate them into the classroom context and achieve maximum educational success, adequate to their potential. . If you do not intervene with adequate and special paths, the risk will be to lead the student on the opposite path to success, namely that of school dropout.

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 of the gifted are differentiated and designed individually on the basis of the personal characteristics of each of them, in order to allow them to achieve excellent results in the school environment, but also working on other aspects at the same time.

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

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

In order for the students gifted for which, 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 in order to avoid the risk of school failure or, better still, of mistrust in their communication skills. In this regard, the following operational and observation indications to be carried out during the didactic action could be valid:

  • Misdiagnosis or absence of dual diagnosis, this frequently occurs in the case of students twice-exceptional which are part of the fifth profile of surplus endowment proposed by Betts and Neihart. Since there is a masking effect of high cognitive abilities, it is often difficult to identify them also from the point of view of surplus endowment and thus greater prominence is given to the deficit. The most frequent misdiagnoses are, oppositional defiant disorder, mood disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD;
  • Dysfunctional conduct;
  • Adolescent depression, at the time when the subject gifted enters the complex world of adolescence without having been adequately identified and supported can begin to show typical traits of this condition, perfectionism, unusual sensitivity, introversion, loneliness and alienation, excessive criticality towards oneself, lack of emotional intelligence. It is therefore necessary for the adolescent to have a social network and be inserted into the environment for what it really is.

What indication could be useful in the context of docimological research for these subjects?

Given the numerous difficulties in identifying surplus endowment, the National Council of the Order of Psychologists in 2018 drew up official guidelines that must be followed for the evaluation of the same that we can summarize below:

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

A great step forward in the identification of surplus endowment at the school level was obtained with note no. 562 of 3 April 2019 of the MIUR: pupils recognized as gifted are officially included in the system of pupils with Special Educational Needs (BES).

In this way, in the event that there are situations of need and scholastic discomfort, teachers will be able to find customized solutions for each pupil.

This change in the Italian school world has made it possible to give greater importance to surplus endowment, no longer considering pupils gifted as subjects capable of learning and succeeding on their own; In all this, inclusive teaching plays a very important role, thanks to which it is possible to offer the same opportunities to each student, but in a personalized way adapted to the needs of each one.

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Equipped pupil, how to identify it: for an effective inclusive teaching – Orizzonte Scuola Notizie