Purpose and Role
The Concept Paper for the Institute states its main objective as the:
‘scientific, methodological and organizational imperative to ensure the system identifies, develops and supports gifted children and young people in the real socio-economic and educational environment of Ukraine’.
Its core purposes include:
- studying the phenomenon of giftedness and developing programmes, including technological support, for gifted learners at different stages of education, from kindergarten to higher education;
- reviewing and analysing promising directions in the education and support of gifted and talented youth;
- developing projects and programmes supporting the identification and physical, mental, social, spiritual and intellectual development of gifted learners as well as their legal and social protection;
- developing scientific solutions to pressing problems in the education of gifted children and youth;
- promoting the networking of institutions and organizations to work with gifted learners;
- informing social and public opinion and public awareness of the significance of talent development and support;
securing the Institute’s involvement in international information-sharing and partnership in gifted education.
These require the Institute to tackle a wide range of tasks including:
- theoretical and applied research into giftedness and related issues, based on systematic analysis of current theory and practice in Ukraine and other countries;
- identifying the psychological and physiological elements of human intelligence and its realization in scientific and practical activities;
- developing principles and creating tools and technologies for detecting the nature of ability in gifted learners;
- developing ‘intelligent online environments’ and an online portal for gifted learners;
- implementing a regional system for the discovery and development of gifted learners;
- publishing of educational literature on giftedness;
- introducing a network for advocacy support and professional development for teachers and school leaders;
- co-operating with other Ukrainian scientific and educational institutions throughout Ukraine;
- creating a system for monitoring overseas experience in identifying and supporting gifted learners and exchanging expertise in Ukraine and internationally.
The Institute is divided into eight departments:
Philosophy and Human Development – undertaking research into the nature of giftedness, establishing its psychological and educational foundations, investigating the social and psychological aspects of interaction between gifted people and society, developing models of the educational process, studying the formation of social and public opinion;
Diagnostic Assessment – developing a methodological basis for assessment and an environment that supports it; establishing mechanisms to identify creativity, testing new identification tools
Educational Design – creating educational content for gifted learners, developing a blend of psychological and pedagogical techniques that will meet learners’ needs and fit within the wider Ukrainian educational system, developing educational technology, conducting research on the inclusion of gifted learners, supporting the development of a regional system to identify and educate gifted learners;
Monitoring Giftedness – investigating giftedness at different stages of human development, monitoring the work of a national network of training centres, establishing a national information repository and national database on the identification and support of giftedness;
International Co-operation – establishing a system to monitor international practice, taking part in international activity in support of giftedness and exchanging expertise in the field with other countries;
Technological Development – developing learning models and technological platforms to implement them, creating an online bank of resources, including learning opportunities, and creating a single online environment to meet the needs of all involved. This team have been involved in the development of the ‘Island of Knowledge’ portal
Development Through Online Networks – creating the online dimension of a regional network supporting the education of gifted learners
Organisation and Delivery – promoting the development of a network of organisations and educational institutions, planning and organising events for learners and training for educators including national and international conferences.
The Institute has a five-strong leadership team (a Director, a Scientific Secretary and three Associate Directors, for Science, International Co-operation and General Affairs respectively).
A range of scientists and specialists from different fields are employed at the Institute including pedagogical experts, psychologists, system analysts, mathematicians and philosophers.
More on the Online Dimension
There is a strong link between the Institute and the Academy of Young Scientists of Ukraine (properly known as the National Centre Minor Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) which is formally part of the National Academy of Science and the Ministry of Education and Sciences of Ukraine). A 2010 publication by N Polikhun of the Institute reports that:
‘a high percentage of the most gifted children (40-60%) are underachieving…From the point of view of the Institute of the Gifted Child (IGC) of the [National] Academy of Pedagogical Science of Ukraine one of the ways to solve this problem is to create a stimulating intellectual medium, enriched with interactive programs of giftedness development, which give an opportunity to communicate through [a] virtual path. These programs are developed by specialists who have a huge experience in organizing of research activity in the learning process. We have also engaged outstanding scientists, inventors, honored teachers, winners of professional contests from all over Ukraine.
It was established that in the secondary school age the giftedness gets subject direction. One of its main characteristics is the domination of motives connected with the contents of studying (orientation to new knowledge and ways of its acquirement) and organization of the learning process itself. In order to enrich the content of gifted pupils education in Ukraine there were implemented interactive intersubject researching programs-contests, supported by IGC : science program “Kolosok”, all-Ukrainian contest in physics – “Levenia”, in history – “Leleka”, for young technicians – “Technic-Junior” and research program “My Planet Earth”…
For the further support of pupils` research works there is a governmental out-of-school institution called the Academy of Young Scientists of Ukraine (AYS). Its goal is to develop pupils` scientific creativity. As a rule, pupils of high school who are motivated to scientific search are involved in AYS work. IGC develops its own programs of high school pupils’ research activity support which are being implemented using IT on learning cooperation support server called “AYS Virtual School”. We’ve successfully launched and tested the “Virtual school of inventions”, the “Virtual School of Young Researcher” and have developed some other interdisciplinary projects. The main goal of these programs is the formation of basic creative skills, psychological support of gifted individuals and satisfaction of their intellectual needs.’
The Institute is heavily involved with the International Conference of Young Scientists (ICYS), an annual competition for secondary students aged 14-18 which originated in 1993. The 2008 event took place in Ukraine and the most recent, in Russia in 2011, had participants from fifteen countries. In 2010, the Institute established a national selection and preparation programme for ICYS which makes use of A Virtual School for Young Scientists.
Partnerships, Publications and Events
The Institute has several international partners including:
the Palace of Children and Youth of the city of Rostov in Russia
- the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut, USA
- the Halbert and Nancy Robinson Center for Young Scholars, University of Washington, USA.
In February 2010 the two organisations are said to have began ‘a multi-year collaborative effort that will provide the foundation for educating gifted children in Ukraine’, formalising a relationship that CFGE’s new Director, Tracy Cross, had been cultivating for over two years.
The agreement has three goals:
professional development for educators, counsellors, administrators and researchers; and
practical support for program development and implementation.
The first professional development symposium was to have occurred in Spring 2010 in Kiev when CFGE staff worked:
‘with representatives from all 25 regions of the Ukraine on the theoretical underpinnings of the intellectual and social and emotional characteristics, needs, and development of gifted children; conduct[ed] workshops on the implementation of the William & Mary curriculum and related teaching models; and shar[ed] advice from many years of center work on developing gifted programs in other countries.’
I can find no further information about the progress of this partnership.
The Institute publishes a series of scientific papers ‘Training and Education of Gifted Children: Theory and Practice, published biannually in May and October. It has produced 223 works overall.
The website includes an e-library containing well over 500 documents, but several of the web pages, especially those intended for parents – do not yet contain any material.
The Institute has begun a series of seminars and conferences. In Autumn 2010 it ran its Third International Scientific Conference on Gifted Children. There are also weekly national seminars providing an opportunity for theoreticians and practitioners to exchange perspectives.