The Bright and the Gifted
P.J. Hammel is a professor of Education at the University of
The main objective of this work is to provide “a realistic, practical and, hopefully, useful overview of what is presently happening in so-called ‘gifted education’ ...as the situation exists in North America in the mid-1980’s. Also, the authors propose to “describe the various ways in which a variety of educational jurisdictions in Canada and the United States are responding to the special needs of students who have the highest potential” and to consider “how their parents and both public and private schools can best help them to achieve their full potential to the benefit of both the young people themselves and society at large.
This 177-page work achieves that objective. Both theory and practice are examined, interpreted, and evaluated. Logically, the authors begin with the problem of identifying the bright child and a clear discussion of thinking, intelligence, and learning as exhibited by this child. After considering the child’s emotional development, they consider how parents can influence both intellectual and emotional development. Schooling and school programs are thoroughly examined; some 20 existing programs for elementary, junior high, and senior high schools are identified and described. To assist where programs do not yet exist, practical advice is offered for the organization of a parent advocacy group. Three appendixes offer additional readings, resource materials, and the names and addresses of useful organizations.
If there is a weakness in this work, it is that the authors tend to repeat certain information, so the reader periodically experiences the sensation of having already read a particular section; to illustrate, Saturday morning schools are discussed in three separate places. This is, nonetheless, a thorough, practical, and comprehensive treatment provided, generally, in a readable form. Parents, educators, and school boards who wish to investigate this area should start with this book.