"If teachers look at times when
students are at their personal best instead of when they are behind,
they can begin to provide educational experiences that nurture these
students’ strengths and interests. In truth, it isn't always the A
student who contributes significantly as an adult."
Dr. Susan Baum
Professor of Gifted Education
The College of New Rochelle
do you teach
College of New Rochelle?
I teach courses in
both our Creative Teaching and Learning Program and in our regular
education programs. I teach Introduction to Talent Development,
Curriculum Development for Enriched Teaching and Learning,
Differentiated Instruction in the Classroom, Creativity, Cognition and
Instruction, and Action Research.
What are the Gifted Education courses at CNR?
We have a Master's Degree program entitled Creative
Teaching and Learning. Housed within this program is a 6-course
sequence approved by the state to lead to an extension on a teacher's
license to teach gifted and talented students. We recommend that all
teachers take some of these courses for several reasons. First, all
teachers will have some gifted students in their classes and need to
understand what it is that these students require and learn specific
strategies for providing appropriate curriculum and instruction for
these students. Second, the most enriching ideas for education come out
of the field of gifted and talented. Many of these ideas are good for
all students. Our regular education programs are based on the
philosophy that students fare best with a strength-based approach. Such
an approach provides opportunities for students to develop their
strengths, interests, and talents as part of their educational program.
do we identify a gifted child?
Identification is based on one's
definition of giftedness. The federal definition includes areas of
general intellectual ability, specific aptitude, creativity, visual and
performing arts, and leadership. Depending on which talent you are
looking for one would use a variety of data. These may include test
scores, teacher check lists, and performance assessment in specific
gifted children be separated out of normal classrooms and taught
separately or is it better for them to be part of a regular classroom
Gifted children need opportunities to be
with their intellectual peers for at least part of the day. In these
settings gifted students can be stimulated by others with the same
interests and abilities. They can debate ideas, look into topics more
deeply with others who value what they do. Think about playing tennis.
If you are advanced, playing with beginners all the time will not
improve your game.
you say that all children are special and gifted in some way? How does
a new teacher (or any teacher!) recognize and encourage the creativity
us has strengths and interests. The degree to which they evolve into a
talent may depend on the opportunities we have to develop these
potentials. Teachers need to offer a variety of opportunities in the
classroom across all disciplines and intelligences. Teachers need to
encourage open ended questions in stimulating ways. If teachers look at
times when students are at their personal best instead of when they are
behind, they can begin to provide educational experiences that nurture
these students’ strengths and interests. In truth, it isn't always the
A student who contributes significantly as an adult.
addition to your teaching at The College of New Rochelle, do you teach
extensive consulting both nationally and internationally, most recently
were in Thailand shortly after the tsunami struck the Andaman coast?
That’s right. I arrived in Thailand two
weeks after the tsunami to teach scheduled special classes on gifted
education at the International School of Bangkok. It was part of my
work as an adjunct professor with the International Learning Center of
Buffalo State College.
you able to help during this crisis?
Yes, with another consultant from the
United States, we were asked to give classes for the International
School community and local counselors about what they-as counselors,
teachers and parents-- needed to do to deal with the tragedy that had
befallen their nation. It was a tragedy not only for the many thousands
who lost their lives, but also the thousands of others injured by the
killing wave, and also for those survivors and rescuers who rushed to
the island of Phuket to help. We also prepared a Thai counselor, who
was going to Phuket to assist villagers, with the skills he needed to
help people who had experienced such a tragic event.
An example of the
devastation witnessed by Dr. Baum on the island of Phuket.
your teacher responsibilities what are some of your other professional
I am active in the National Association
for Gifted Students, having served on the Board of Directors for six
years and as secretary of the organization for four years. I am active
in the Association for the Education of Gifted Underachieving Students,
an organization I cofounded in 1986.