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Busting the myths surrounding gifted learners

New short course will examine how to best support gifted students.

What does it actually mean to be gifted? And how can we make sure we support gifted students?

Dr Amanda J. Harper is an award-winning educator and is leading the University of Tasmania’s new online short course, Understanding Gifted Learners: Busting the Myths.

Dr Harper holds a PhD focused on gifted learners and said that the definition of gifted is often misunderstood.

A gifted learner is someone who is either performing in the top 10 percent, or has the potential to do so, across any learning domain.

Dr Harper said people generally associate being gifted with academic ability, but it also includes areas like sport, dance, art and music.

“Each area is equally important and it's important that learners of all ages are recognised.”

Dr Harper said there are a number of myths about gifted learners.

“Perhaps the most pervasive is that ‘they'll be right on their own’. This is completely untrue. 

Gifted learners not only need appropriate learning opportunities, but also the social and emotional stimulation that comes from spending time with like-minded peers.

“We're very familiar with the notion of 'talent scouts' in the sporting arena. Athletes with high potential are supported by specialist coaching and are able to mix with other equally-able athletes,” she said.

“Educators need to be similarly well equipped to identify gifts and talents and provide the appropriate support across all learning domains.”

Dr Harper said Tasmania has significant challenges in identifying and supporting gifted learners.

“Being gifted is not something someone grows out of when they are no longer of school age.

The better the understanding around giftedness, the greater hope there is that this very important cohort of learners, both of school age and older, will be appropriately catered for.

“It is my hope that Tasmanians will embrace the opportunity provided through this Short Course, to gain a greater understanding about gifted learners.”

Understanding Gifted Learners: Busting the Myths

Delivery: Fully online

Cost: $75

Interested in understanding Gifted Learners? Register for the short course here