Exploring the Conception of Giftedness in Lebanon Paper
This study adopted a mixed research design in order to explore current elementary teachers' perceptions of the attributes of gifted students, as a starting point to understand where the lack of understanding in the construct of giftedness is. The purpose of this study is threefold:
- explore the perceptions teachers currently have on attributes of gifted students,
- survey the current practices used as forms of identification for gifted students; and
- explore the available services and programs used in schools for students with gifted needs.
Data was collected through 140 surveys from six schools, 15 semi-structured interviews and five focus group discussions with elementary school teachers in five private schools in the greater Beirut area. The results revealed various definitions from each school. A definition for giftedness was constructed from the findings which included a combination of three parts: High intellectual ability, high academic performance, and social intelligence. High intellectual ability includes high logical thinking, and that the gifted student's scores on the report cards should be the highest among the class. High academic performance means that gifted students excel in one or more academic subject area. Giftedness also encompasses social intelligence, which means that the student should be a natural leader, take charge of small groups, and be able to deal with real life situations that are mainly applicable in Lebanon, for example, the ability to bargain for better prices, and cutting in line to get the service or product faster. The constructed definition has some similar attributes to Sternberg's WISC theory and Renzulli's Three-ring model of giftedness, however with some differences as well. As for identification procedures, there was no official identification procedure available, due to a lack of an official definition on Lebanon, thus teachers reported that they tend to rely heavily on scores on the report cards, or consult with other teachers, principal, or parents. One secondary finding was the boys tended to be identified by teachers for giftedness more than girls. Finally, as for programs and services, no program seems to exist in Lebanon and in schools, according to the teachers.
Author(s): Sarah El-Khoury, (American University of Beirut, Beirut), Anies Al-Hroub, (American University of Beirut, Beirut)