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Talent development in preschool curriculum and policies: Explicit and implicit recognition of young gifted children
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies (from 2013). (UBB)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7113-647x
Mälardalens högskola.
2019 (English)In: Curriculum and Policy Network, 2019Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This study shares an analysis of early childhood curriculum text from five countries and two international macro policies, documenting implicit and explicit content relating to giftedness and talent development. Talent development includes the work of teachers in supporting children to develop their potential and future capabilities (Gagnè, 2015), and can be connected to the bioecological model for human development (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006).

Macro policy documents examined in this study were the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 1989), the Salamanca Declaration and Framework (UNESCO, 1994) and national preschool curriculum texts in English from five countries: Australia, Estonia, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. Content analysis of the texts included counting frequency of pre-identified and emerging terms. These terms included gift, talent, compet(ant)*, abilit*, capab*, strength*, capacit*, succe* develop*, learn, expect*, right/s, respect, stimulat*, equal, equity, challeng* and competiti*. Next, the national preschool curriculum texts were interpretatively analysed to consider meaning, power and negotiation. Ethical guidelines provided by the Swedish Research Council (2017) and the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (NHMRC, 2007) were followed. The text analysis relates to ethical issues of beneficence and respect.

The use of implicit terms with reference to giftedness and/or talent development in the analysed texts varied, but predominant terms used were develop, learn and abilities. Children’s, and all children’s, rights and opportunities were identified in the analysed texts, for example: positive expectations for all children; rights of all children to contribute and be heard; respect towards children; stimulating experiences in preschool; being considered an equal in preschool; application of equity to support disadvantage; positive challenges in preschool; and constructive competition. The results indicate a global as well as national commitment toward meeting children’s rights and needs, empowering children’s agency, respect, and fostering the learning and development of all children. However, our results also show an absence of explicit attention to giftedness and talent development, as defined by our criteria of five or more explicit rights included. This presents a risk for gifted children: the risk is that gifted children are unseen and not recognised in society at large as well as in preschools by preschool teachers and other staff members.

The study has relevance to Nordic educational research since it informs understanding of preschool curriculum texts from two Nordic countries and one Northern European neighbour country, alongside two Australasian curriculum texts, and two policy documents of global significance. Examination of who is included in a democratic discourse of ‘all’ is important in the context of globalization and social change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
gifted children, education, policy, curriculum, text analysis
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Educational Work; Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-74488OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-74488DiVA, id: diva2:1345092
Conference
Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA) conference, Uppsala, March 6-8
Available from: 2019-08-22 Created: 2019-08-22 Last updated: 2019-08-26Bibliographically approved

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Margrain, Valerie

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