Grant & Piechowski. Educators tend to look to theories for ideas on how to educate gifted children. Theories are, however, not value-neutral explanations, but complex attempts to serve human goals that contain values and ideas for action, as well as explanations. When there is a disjunction between a theory and ideas about what is good for gifted children, the latter should be our guide. The most important value in gifted education, we argue, should be child-centeredness. Theories can serve this value by helping us to understand the perspective of a gifted child. Most models and theories (Maslow’s and Dabrowski’s being the primary exceptions) address the conditions that promote gifted achievement and do not illuminate the inner life of gifted children. And yet, the pressure to achieve often has negative consequences for the emotional well-being, of the child. Roeper’s education for self-actualization and interdependence offers an approach to gifted education that respects the inner life of gifted children and assists them in finding their own way in life.
1999_Theories and the Good: Toward Child-Centered Gifted Education
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