Expo 2020, Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The 1st World Giftedness Center International Conference organised by Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance concluded at Dubai Exhibition Centre, Expo 2020 on a positive note with the participation of 40 world-renowned researchers and practitioners from across 17 countries. By the end of the conference, organisers of the conference announced that the 2nd World Giftedness Center International Conference is slated to be held from 16 to 19 October, 2023 in Dubai.
The opening ceremony of the international conference witnessed the inauguration of the World Giftedness Centre (WGC), the first global platform for nurturing the gifted as well as the launch of two international awards, the first of which is the 'School Global Award Initiative of Gifted Education', and the second is the 'Applied Research Global Award of Gifted Education'.
Dr. Jamal Al Mehairi – Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Secretary-General of the Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance said,“We are very delighted to conclude the first edition of World Giftedness Center International Conference on a very positive note as the conference offered an ideal platform to highlight best practices in gifted education and talent development industries from all across the world. The conference throughout 4 days has set a high benchmark for skill development and talent mentoring across the globe where like minded participants were given the opportunity to share expertise and transfer best global practices and knowledge.”
Dr Al Mehairi added:“The main goal of this world-class conference we have held in the opening month of Expo 2020 Dubai was to exchange knowledge on giftedness and talent development with an aim of underscoring the best global practices of fostering giftedness to build a dynamic and fulfilled human being for the better of tomorrow.”
Dr Al Mehairi added:“The conference in its first edition has contributed in achieving WGC goals of disseminating and encouraging the culture of best practice and excellence in giftedness among the international community, share online accessible audio/visual materials/resources and best practice models with the global gifted education community, establish a worldwide network of excellent research institutions and mentoring hub in the field of gifted education and the establishment of an evidence-based informational and organizational hub for all stakeholders involved in the cultivation of excellence throughout the world.”
HE Dr. Saud Bin Saeed Bin Abdulaziz Almthami, the Secretary General at King AbdulAziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity said:“It was great to hold this international conference to discuss ideas and concepts pertaining to giftedness. The conference offers a global platform to foster gifted people in the world. It also instrumentally supports establishing an international network for researchers and scientists specialised in giftedness through scientific journals, meetings, publications and awards that were launched by the conference such as the 'School Global Award Initiative of Gifted Education', and the 'Applied Research Global Award of Gifted Education' that both aim at encouraging research and initiatives which focuses on giftedness and supporting gifted students across the world. Hamdan bin Rashid Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance works persistently with its partners to build a global platform for talented that attracts elite of scientists, students, researchers and experts and we at King AbdulAziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity felt this cooperation between both foundations through a series of partnerships to support giftedness for the prosperity of humanity.”
The conference focussed on the importance of cultivating talent as traditionally gifted educators have focused much attention on two measures, acceleration and enrichment—despite persistent signs in the research literature that accelerative and enrichment measures are insufficient. The traditional measures fall especially short when individuals are not satisfied with being merely good at something but instead are striving towards excellence in a talent domain. For achieving peak performance levels, learners need additional, targeted forms of support from gifted educators such as self-regulated learning skills and effective mentorship options.
The conference was a very meaningful event where experts and teachers in gifted education have shared their experiences and inspiring stories on coping and continuing to work creatively with gifted students. Participants in the conference have explored together the possible outcomes of creativity on gifted people from different aspects; personal, organizational, and social well-being.
Dr. Shane N. Phillipson, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Australia, outlined the usefulness of the actiotope model to describe the learning environments in a number of different international contexts. Drawing on techniques in machine learning, he also described efforts to model the interactions between the main components in a learning environment and the potential for the techniques to predict outcomes based upon changes in these components. The actiotope model represents a significant change in thinking about how schools can better manage their school's learning environment in order to enhance learning outcomes. More broadly, the model provides policy makers with the tools to make informed decisions on how best to manage resources, and to evaluate the success of their decisions.
Prof. Alejandro Veas from the University of Alicante, Spain presented on the optimal academic performance that is one of the fundamental goals of all countries, as it enables social and economic advancement. If in the 20th century research focused on a cognitive perspective, the current century has moved towards contextual positions in which multiple variables are included in mediational and conditional models. Traditionally, these research strategies have been directed towards identifying process for detecting talented students and improving their potential.
Dr. Jiri Mudrak, Institute of psychology, Czech Academy of Sciences introduced an integrative systemic framework that conceptualizes the development of competence as a process of ongoing interactions between individual learners (their achievement motivation, deliberate practice, and learning outcomes) and social environment (represented by developmental resources and demands). In this context, He discussed the role of“situated agency” in learning development and explore how learning individuals may effectively act as active agents of their learning, as well as individual and social conditions that enable and prevent such agency.
Dr. Eleftheria N. Gonida, School of Psychology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece presentation focused on the contribution of motivation to self-regulated learning in academically talented, gifted, and high-achieving learners. Self-regulated learning is an active multi-faceted process that includes cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, affective, and behavioral aspects, all of them interacting towards the accomplishment of a learning goal.
Dr. Annette Heinbokel, Bremen, Germany said that there are two main options for gifted children: enrichment or acceleration and its combinations. From all the research that is known enrichment is offered and accepted more often, however, acceleration is twice as effective. Accelerants report a beneficial effect on their intellectual as well as their emotional well-being.
Dr. Lianne Hoogeveen, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands said that to meet the needs of high ability students the curriculum needs to be adapted, there are different ways to do that; pull-out classes, compacting and enriching the programme, and/or accelerating the pace of the programme. Also, there are numerous ways to accelerate a student's education; some of them are less visible: Early entrance and skipping grades are the primary types of acceleration people seem to consider. She noted that other types of acceleration, like combined classes and ungraded schools, which allow for acceleration, are applied in many educational systems, but are less noticed and documented.
Dr. Bettina Harder, Chair of Educational Psychology and Research on Excellence, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany said that the South German Talent Centre is one of the two European Talent Centres accredited by the European Talent Support Network (ETSN) in Germany. It subsumes several research and fostering programs, connects professionals in the field and organizes events like monthly online symposia with expert talks reaching several hundred educators and parents.
Dr. Duarte Araújo. CIPER, Faculdade de Motricidade Humana, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal said that Action is not simply the displacement of pieces of anatomy in time and space. Action is an intentional relationship the person establishes with particular circumstances. When learning a skill, actions develop into more sophisticated actions.
Dr. Wilma Vialle, University of Wollongong, Australia said that despite decades of research, policy support and examples of good practice, acceleration remains one of the most contentious strategies to meet the needs of gifted students. The key reason that many educators are dismissive of acceleration practices is that they associate it with multiple whole-year skipping that results in students graduating from high school years before their age cohort.
Dr. Yan Kong, Department of Psychology, University of Science and Technology of China emphasized that considering the need for“Early training of talents, gaining early results” in China's development, the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) creatively established the Special Class for the Gifted Young (SCGY) in March 1978. SCGY enrolls 15 years old or younger students who have extraordinary intelligence and excellent achievements.
Dr. Tracy Riley, Massey University, New Zealand; World Council for Gifted and Talented Children said that talented children have the right to an education that acknowledges, develops and celebrates their abilities. It is the mission of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children to focus global attention on gifted children to ensure the realization of their potential to the benefit of humankind.
Dr. Jimmy K.Y. Wong, Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education said that Gifted children are often regarded as having exceptionally high intelligence, very focused, maybe great memory and sometimes very creative. He questioned how will these gifted talents prepare these“super children” to excel in the age of the internet and artificial intelligence where the cost of computer memory is almost free and can be stalled in the“cloud” rather than in our head and where A.I. is challenging and even overtaking human intelligence in even corner of our work and life.
Dr. Heidrun Stoeger, Chair of Research, School Development, and Evaluation, University of Regensburg, Germany said that when asked about their earlier talent development paths, eminent experts have at least one thing in common. They almost always describe having had various kinds of mentors during their talent development. Investigations of such reports have revealed that mentoring relationships are crucial as individuals traverse the often long, arduous pathways from novice to eminent expert within a talent domain.
Teachers With the objective of supporting quality pathways in the educational sector and encourage excellence and talent programs, the four-day conference hosted scholars who have displayed pioneering research findings from gifted education and talent development and practitioners with outstanding giftedness initiatives who have shared some of the best practice examples. It was attended by renowned global researchers, educationalists, psychologists, parents, and people interested in the field of giftedness from all across the world.
Throwing light on a diversity of important topics such as implementation of effective mentoring for talent development, underachievers, learning & learning resources, ecological dynamics and skill development, self-regulated learning, creativity, acceleration, advocacy, intelligence, twice-exceptional, and counselling among many others, the 1st World Giftedness Center International Conference was held between the 18th and the 21st of October 2021 virtually and at the Hall 1A North, Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC), Expo 2020 as part of Expo 2020 event.