I said I would write a post about the logo for this site when I got a chance. It a bit naff and completely obvious but it gives me an opportunity to say a few things.
The logo is simply made up for the capital letters for Gifted & Talented Ireland in purple against a green background.
G is for Gifted. I know the word carries a load. The debate about whether we should continue to use it and what could better take its place rages on.
Personally, I think we need to get over it. There are labels everywhere but they only have the significance we give them. If I say a child is gifted, I am not saying they are better than another child, whatever better is supposed to be or mean. I am simply saying this child exhibits an intellectual capacity that creates a academic, artistic, musical, sporting, social or emotional need that must be addressed if this child is to reach their potential as a human being.
We can debate endlessly the merits and demerits of the word ‘gifted’. But this is not and can not be the core function of gifted advocates. Our core function must be to spread awareness of the presence of gifted children, specifically in schools, and to design or assist the design of appropriate provision to meet their needs. Built into this, of course, is the need to identify gifted children and identify best practice to resolve their needs.
T is for Talented. In Ireland, the council in charge of curriculum design for the school system, in their guidelines for teachers of gifted children, substituted the word ‘Gifted’ with ‘Exceptionally Able’. ‘Talented’ got lost in the mix. In the UK, talented is used to refer to children with an artistic, drama or sporting talent. Either way, ‘gifted and talented’ is by far the most readily recognised descriptor of our field – hence G&T.
I is for Ireland. There is hardly any provision for gifted and talented children in Ireland. There is a pilot scheme run by the SESS but this is not a substitute for systematic provision across the school system. ICEPE provides online training for teachers. CTYI provides enrichment activities and is the only specialist centre in Ireland in which research is taking place. Margaret Keane has done invaluable work raising the profile of gifted children. This needs to reach a larger audience. Dr. Catherine Riordan and Karen McCarthy – have been alone in proactively contributing a voice to education policy formulation from gifted perspective. And I have been doing a bit here and there. And everywhere, with Catherine and Karen. Plus there’s #gtie on Twitter (returning soon!). Anna Giblin moderates the public voice of the giftedkids forum. Leslie Graves, a self-styled ‘occasional lecturer, UCD’, gives a presentation as a parent of gifted children to the M.Psych class every year. Unfortunately the IAGC broke up in a regrettable manner; but Gifted and Talented Network Ireland was launched as the new national association for Ireland in April and this is growing excellently. 2011 has been an excellent year for awareness here with the first ever National Gifted Education Awareness Day and several sympathetic articles in national newspapers. The new school year will see further growth in this awareness.
The ‘T’ and the ‘i’ overlap to represent a figure, which to my mind is the gifted child. That worked out nicely! You’ll notice that the left arm of the child/T has a angled edge whereas the right arm is straight. This represents the fact that a significant percentage of gifted children are 2e – Twice Exceptional – meaning they are gifted but also have a learning difficulty – dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD etc.
The purple worked well against the background in green (figure that one yourself). There is no other particular reason for purple despite it’s many associations. I just thought it looked better and was less clichéd than orange.
You’ll notice the ‘G’ is a very round G – as if to convey a round peg in a square hole. Gifted children don’t fit very well into the square holes the school system creates for children – though we know gifted children would dearly like to ‘fit in’ in school. Some gifted children react and try to break out. This is represented by the left arm jutting out from the square background. This arm also represents the fact that gifted children have abilities that extend beyond the average – the square into which most children fit.
Back to the T. I was originally creating the angled edge for the arm on the right. But I wanted it to be forward looking. I put the angle on the left arm which makes it look like the gifted child is pointing forward. Gifted children want to move forward in their education. Gifted advocates must have this to the forefront of their minds. Is what you are doing moving forward the issue of improving the educational experience of gifted children? If not, what are you doing?
While we must debate, research, collaborate and even engage in business consultancy – in our work we must at all times be looking to see how we can apply what we learn from degree programs, research, day-to-day teaching and so on to helping gifted children be recognised and provided for in their education. That is what Gifted and Talented Ireland is all about.
>> G is for Gifted. I know the word carries a load. The debate about whether we should continue to use it and what could better take its place rages on… Personally, I think we need to get over it. <<
Personally, I never had any trouble with the label for either myself or my kid until my son’s father made a big stink about it, and was downright cruel – even though he grew up as an ‘underserved gifted kid in NW Germany’ himself. Thanks to US schools both my kid and I were more properly served but now we live in Germany. Meanwhile, I am still figuring out how to handle it as an adult. I had actually sort of thought people would be supportive when I grew up but have had mixed results. As an adult, quite honestly its not always clear when ‘that’s what’s affecting a situation’ and when that isn’t even what’s really ‘the issue’.