On the Mathematically Gifted in the 21st century - Slovenian Viewpoint Paper
Author(s): Boštjan Kuzman, ((Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)
With thousands of years of its history, the science of mathematics represents an indispensable companion to the entire human civilization. Yet the circumstances in which new mathematical discoveries arise nowadays, are quite different from those centuries ago, when great minds of mathematics were either members of quasi-religious philosophical groups, court scientists or isolated geniuses. It is only seemingly a contradiction that good access to education, abundance of information and relatively good standard of living in the modern world motivate young people less for abstract thinking and hard work that is required for doing mathematics. That is why we are facing a big challenge, how to encourage young talents in today's society in order to develop their abilities to their full potential while also maintaining their prudent inner child, their creativity and encourage collaborative teamwork, which is becoming indispensable also in the field of mathematics in the digital age.
I will present some relatively successful examples of work with gifted in mathematics in Slovenia: school work in curricular and extracurricular activities, mathematical competitions, research projects and summer camps. I will compare the available data from international tests TIMMS and PISA to the performances of Slovenian high-school students at the international mathematical competitions, the results of research on the gifted in Slovenian schools and surveys of students with successful records in mathematical competitions.