|NEW YEAR, NEW RIZAL (or, 35 Mga Bagong Rizal Pag-asa ng Bayan project sponsored by the PCGE and exhibited during the 1st Anniversary Celebration at the UP College of Education last November)|
Vim Nadera: Or, is Philippine Association for the Gifted (PAG) in conflict with Philippine Center for Gifted Education (PCGE)?
Leticia Ho: The PCGE and PAG have similar purposes particularly in being able to provide support to the gifted and their parents in terms of programs, counseling and others. But unlike the PAG, the PCGE is more than an association and has a complement of professional staff assigned to carry out the functions such as student programs, parent support programs, professional training and research. It also actively searches for the Filipino gifted with emphasis on the financially disadvantaged who will otherwise will not get the opportunity to be identified and nurtured as such. PCGE also puts emphasis on the twice exceptional learners or those who are gifted but have developmental including sensory, social, behavioral, and other concerns that otherwise impede in their fulfillment of their potential.
VN: If we have gifted but underprivileged kids and/or twice exceptional learners – what must be done?
LH: In the first place, there has to be an effort or a program to actively search for the gifted underprivileged gifted children. Without this, only the achieving gifted will be included in the programs. Many underprivileged children will definitely be missed because they usually underachieved because of poor education and dire conditions. On the other hand, the twice exceptional will often be identified to have weaknesses and not be identified as gifted. On the other hand, those who are immediately seen as gifted might not be able to achieve according their potential because of their weaknesses which need to be addressed. Once proper identification is done, then these populationa can be adequately helped through academic programs, counseling, mentoring, etc.
VN: As parents, what ought to be done to bring out the future Da Vincis or Rizals in our kids?
LH: Parents can make or unmake the Da Vincis or the Rizals they have been gifted with. To help their potentially gifted children, parents need to refrain from making their potentially gifted children to live their lives by pushing the latter to an area they themselves were interested in; for example, a mother who wanted to be a medical doctor encouraged only academic skill and interests so that the child developed along this area. But she totally overlooked the child’s creativity which remained dormant until after latter finished medicine and decided not to practice medicine but did creative work such as interior design, cake decoration, etc. allow them to explore their interests at the same time opening more opportunities to develop these. If the potentially gifted child is very young, parents need to enable him/her to explore other areas of interest to make sure that other forms of giftedness are not unnecessarily overlooked. Try to develop the potentially child holistically with adequate social skills, emotional quotient, and adversarial quotient. Aspire to develop empathy and social responsibility so that they will learn to develop their gift for others; parents should not forget that their potentially gifted children are CHILDREN and would like to play and have fun like their peers. Allow them to be children and enjoy with them, too. Do not emphasize their children’ being gifted over other traits like being honest, responsible, God-loving, nationalistic, positive and intraceptive and many others.
VN: Are there public and private agencies ready, willing, and capable of helping them?
LH: There are associations for the gifted like the PAG but these have not been active in providing assistance needed by the gifted and their families. The schools should have guidance counselors who can help them, too. Professional organizations such as the Psychological Association of the Phlippines (PAP) or guidance and counselling associations should have training programs for professionals working with the gifted, Unfortunately, even these are not adequately equipped with the skills needed. This is where the PCGE expects to help.
VN: What are the roles of individuals and institutions in developing them?
LPH: First, properly understand what giftedness is (theory, types, development); who the gifted are (traits, developmental needs, concerns); programs for different types of giftednessprofessional development of those working with the gifted identification process. Second, know what programs to develop for different types of giftedness.Third, try to develop, implement, and monitor programs for different types and giftedness. Fourth, provide more opportunities for the identification and nurture of the potentially gifted particularly financially disadvantaged sector. Fifth, provide or solicit financial assistance for scholarships. Sixth, advocate for the gifted and gifted education by supporting different phases in the program. Seventh, and finally, do or enable research on any aspect of giftedness to provide bases for theorizing on it.