• Dunja Sønderkjær Christensen
  • Camilla Myrrhøj Olesen
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
According to the Salamanca-declaration the public schools has to include all children regardless of their abilities, including giftedness. Despite this intention the inclusion in practice is mostly focused on the not so academic students, while the students who are brighter than their peers are not shown any special consideration.

Our interest in the subject originated from a wish of raising more awareness of gifted children since we consider it to be an overlooked subject. We wanted to explore whether the elite schools creates a better foundation for the gifted children than the public schools, and also whether it can be considered exclusion when the gifted children are gathered in elite schools or if they are actually also included there. Hence, our subject of interest is which factors in the learning environment that have influence on gifted children’s experience of learning outcome and well-being in elite schools and the public primary schools respectively.

To conduct this study we used mixed methods approach with both quantitative and qualitative empirical data. We explored gifted children in the public schools by application of document analysis on both quantitative and qualitative data from an existing research project, and we explored gifted children in elite schools by using quantitative questionnaires filled out by gifted children on an elite school. Further, we had retrospective empirical data entailing questionnaires filled out by gifted children and parents of gifted children regarding the public primary school, and a semi-structured interview with a gifted adolescent who had attended both public school and elite school.

We found that there can be a tendency towards exclusion of gifted children from the community in the public school, which could indicate that gifted children will thrive better in elite schools. However, it was also found that the relation between competence and learning should not be too small, which could indicate that gifted students will profit better regarding learning and social development among average students where everybody has different qualifications and can learn from each other. We also found a tendency towards the best support against a feeling of otherness being given in the elite schools, because the children all are different there and thus not reminded of their otherness. However the analysis show that it can be a protected life on elite schools which can cause difficulties when the gifted students join the average students later on.

Further it was found that learning and well-being affect each other reciprocally and should both be present if the inclusion of gifted children shall succeed. It has been discussed whether it is inclusion when the gifted children are in the elite schools, but since much suggest that they learn and thrive better in the elite schools, it was found that it must also be inclusion when the gifted children are a part of the community in elite schools. Regarding this we found that the gifted children have a more intercourse capable relation pattern in elite schools than in public schools. This means that gifted children by default thrive better in elite schools, but that they with the appropriate support are able to develop the intercourse capable relation pattern in the public schools too and thereby thrive there as well.

Additionally there has been focus on bullying regarding the gifted children’s well-being, where we found that there is a tendency towards a socially oriented focus on bullying in elite schools and an individually oriented focus in public schools. Concurrently, we found that significantly more gifted children are bullied in public schools compared to elite schools, which leads to the assumption that there would be less bullying among gifted children in public schools if the focus there became more socially oriented.

Given that there are both pros and cons according to whether the gifted children have the best well-being and learning outcome in elite schools or public schools and the fact that it is differs when each individual feels completely included, it is found that it is dependent on the individual gifted child whether it will be better to be in a public school or an elite school. However, most of our findings indicate that due to the organisation of the public school system at the time of our empirical gathering the gifted children will profit to the greatest extent in elite schools both according to well-being and learning outcome. However, the public schools are in a development towards being more including and socially oriented which can influence the understanding of gifted children in public schools positively.
LanguageDanish
Publication date26 May 2015
Number of pages126
ID: 212924884