Thursday, May 20, 2010

Petrosino (2009); Encyclopedia of Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent; Rocketry; Saturday U

The following article on using model rockets with gifted and talented students appears in the Encyclopedia of Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent (2009) published by SAGE Publications.

Featuring contributions by some 300 international academics, independent scholars, consultants, researchers, and mental health professionals, the Encyclopedia of Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent is the first comprehensive resource to focus on giftedness, creativity, and talent. The 400-plus A-to-Z entries from the fields of education, psychology, sociology, and the arts review research findings on giftedness, creating, and talent and their applications in education, training, science and the arts, government policy, and everyday fields.

In my contribution to this historic collection, I talk about how a widespread interpretation of Piagetian theory favors an oversensitivity to the things a child cannot do cognitively rather than a more optimistic and challenging emphasis on what children could do easily with the proper instructional sequence, structure, and social support. This more optimistic and empowering emphasis on the child's early competence and strength is both a more empowering basis for science instruction for the gifted child and is in accord with current learning theory. Moreover, much of this work looks upon the child in isolation rather than as a part of a community of learners like that in which rocket scientists engage in on a daily basis.

While I was in the Hoboken School District as the Assistant Superintendent of Schools ("BC" for those following), I oversaw the redesign of the gifted and talented program (expanding the John Hopkins Program
as well as the expansion, course redevelopment, and expansion of eligible students for participation in the Saturday U program). Unfortunately, the Saturday U Program has been all but abandoned by the Kids First Board of Education majority without public discussion, parental input, or a single voice of concern or protest. That means no gifted and talented program for dozens, if not hundreds, of middle school Hoboken Public School children who would have been eligible for Saturday U in the past.