NIAS-EGT offers programmes for creating awareness and training the following stakeholders:
NIAS conducts various workshops in the schools in both urban and rural areas. The teacher training workshops address twin objectives,
1. Sensitizing the schools and teachers about the issues and needs of the children with high abilities.
2. Identifying children who are potentially gifted.
In urban areas, teacher training workshops have been conducted for teachers from schools across India, these include Kendriya Vidyalaya, Parikrma center for learning, Sri Sri Ravishankar Vidya Mandir (SSRVM) J.P.Nagar Bangalore, Silver Oaks International school Bangalore & Hyderabad, Vidyashilp Academy Bangalore, etc. In rural areas, the workshops were conducted for various government schools in Chamrajnagar and Mysore districts in Karnataka. Teacher Training workshops were also conducted from Gvernment and Private schools in the state of Kerala, Andra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
In the past three years, NIAS-EGT Team has conducted over 30 teacher-training workshops for teachers from rural and urban areas. The training sessions facilitate the questioning of the already existing conceptions of giftedness, where giftedness is often understood as a “good” behaved/achieving boy or a girl. This myth had to be removed through live examples. The session then introduces the teacher to the 21 traits of giftedness by their active participation. The teachers fill one nomination form in the session through consultation with peers and the teacher trainer.
The teachers are encouraged to recall any incidence or activity inside or outside their classrooms where, one of their students have shown unusual creativity, problem-solving skills, leadership qualities or high abilities (mentioned in the nomination form). After the session, teachers were confident to identify children who are gifted in various fields. As an illustrative point, a teacher identified a gifted child of 8 years who had completed the electrical wiring of his house without any formal training.
Why teachers and school management?
The workshops are important to ensure a sustainable and scalable identification method for India since the teachers and parents are the first point of contact in the process of identification. Teachers specifically are our entry point into the education system as well as our most important collaborator in the effort to identify and nurture the gifted children. Teachers spend several hours a day with a large number of children, allowing them to observe the behaviour, abilities, and interests of children and to identify the children with exceptional potential. The rigidity of the Indian education system creates in many teachers a textbook-and-exam-based definition of giftedness or talent where other talents go unnoticed. In both urban and rural areas, the research data has similar findings where the concept of giftedness among teachers reflected achievements in exams and competitions and “good” behaviour in the classroom. In contrast, the research in the area of gifted education found that both underachievement and disruptive behaviour (for ex.questioning the authority or social adjustments issues) were pretty common among gifted children. These children are often not identified by the teacher and experience social isolation. In order to identify giftedness in its many manifestations, there was a need to orient teachers through the training.
NIAS-EGT has proposed to the government the need to have a module on giftedness in teacher training programmes at the national level. The programme aims to offer support to teachers through training and workshops. NIAS makes available for free reading material on education of the gifted on the ‘Knowledge Base’ section on the website.
NIAS organizes Master teacher-trainer workshop, where teachers or other school employees can become a trainer for teachers and avail NIAS resources on Gifted Education. They can further implement the identification and mentoring programme in their respective schools. The objective of the workshop is to increase the outreach of the program as well as to upscale the mentoring opportunities.
The NIAS- EGT Programme recognizes that mentors also require facilitation to interact with young children who are diverse in their needs and interests. The team has been organizing workshops and feedback sessions with mentors to understand their needs and share experiences and resources with the mentors. NIAS organizes mentors workshop in educational institutions like IISc to meet the postgraduate/doctorate/post-doctorate students who had volunteered to become mentors. The workshop is conducted with the objective of introducing the mentoring programme to the students. The workshops are in a form of the interactive session conducted by Prof. Anitha Kurup. The discussions during the sessions help the NIAS EGT team as it provides important leads to motivate students to mentoring young children effectively.
After short-listing of the students for the ALCs, the NIAS-EGT programme organizes training for facilitators who will be the crucial link between NIAS and the students. NIAS conducts facilitators workshops, where a curricular framework for the activities for the six months are drawn. The facilitators, workshop also provides a platform to critically review the programme and fix gaps that may be present in the programme. The workshop is also used to review the programmes of the ALC center and share experiences, which is mutually beneficial. The facilitators are provided with the training and feedback to ensure their engagement with children in an efficient manner. Apart from being trained at the time of induction, the facilitators constantly interact with the NIAS team during and after the ALC sessions. Post the training session, the facilitators develop a curricular framework to guide the activities in the ALCs. The framework provides broad guidelines with enough autonomy to introduce new ideas into the ALCs. The facilitators have to effectively coordinate between the students and NIAS by providing updates and necessary feedbacks and establishing a high standard of learning experience in the programme.
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