Every school has children with above-average scholastic abilities to go beyond mere rote-learning. A summer studies programme held recently aimed to develop the talent of such gifted children.
The Duke University Talent Identification Programme (TiP), held at the Infosys Global Education Centre in Mysore from May 15-June 4, saw the participation of 87 students from across 48 schools in India. The programme involves students, their families, and educators to identify, recognise, challenge and help academically gifted students excel.
The Summer Studies Programme 2011 in Mysore was designed to challenge these gifted students through coursework covering material at greater depths and at a faster pace than in standard schools. Students explored one topic in-depth, spending 38 hours in class each week. Five courses, JAVA for video games, environmental engineering, entrepreneurial leadership, and two sections of forensic science, were included in the programme.
> PROGRAMME MODEL
The programme model emphasised hands-on learning with a non-graded approach, encouraging students to take intellectual risks. Also, students were engaged in community-building activities, leadership skills and stronger social awareness. Activities ranged from interactive sports to reflective activities such as journal writing and painting.
One of the goals of the programme, an annual event, is to create a community of TiP alumni, both for students and parents. Besides, Duke TiP has a Facebook page which students are encouraged to join and stay connected with the latest in the programme, worldwide. Students are also encouraged to attend multiple summer programmes to build their community as well as shape their individual talent.
Facilitators of the programme said that students often return to their schools with greater interest in challenging work, and seek ways to engage at a higher level of study within their schools. For many students, being around other talented students in the programme also translates into a personal desire to tap into their talents and exploit their potential.