Philosophy and Psychology as Influences on Gifted and Talented Education in the 21st Century Education

Philosophy and Psychology as Influences on Gifted and Talented Education in the 21st Century Education

Britt Tatman Ferguson (National University, USA) and Maximilian G. F. Napier (Kipp San Francisco College Preparatory Hgh School, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1400-9.ch002


The purpose of this chapter is to clarify varying beliefs of those within (and those commenting on) education. A review of literature on educational philosophy and educational psychology is followed by an analysis of what these various beliefs mean for those working with gifted and talented students, how these beliefs relate to technology, and the role technology can play to optimize gifted and talented students' education. The focus is on the teacher's beliefs about the truth and purpose of education and about how students learn these beliefs will influence instructional decisions and determine the value of technology in education.
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Basic Views Of Truth

Educational philosophy is comprised of varying beliefs regarding pedagogy and best practices. These varying beliefs influence the thoughts and actions of stakeholders (teachers, students, parents, etc.) and have implications for real-life. The hope for this section is that it provides an overarching framework of philosophical thought, peppered with short specifics of each philosophical view, in order to consider the state of affairs of gifted students.

Western Philosophy can be thought of as a discourse in search of truth. Four major philosophical views set the stage for beliefs that directly touch on education: idealism, realism, pragmatism, and existentialism. In beginning any discussion about pedagogy (teaching methods), it is necessary to establish a shared belief in what truth is and how it can be found, discovered, or created by teachers and by students. In Western thought, there are two primary theories which explain the different understandings: Idealism and Realism.

Key Terms in this Chapter

We: In this chapter refers globally to educators, or even more globally to human beings.

Cooperative Learning: A form of applied social psychology used to structure learning though 5 key elements: positive interdependence, individual accountability, face-to-face interaction, direct instruction of social and small group skills and processing.

High Tech: High technology, technology more advanced, cutting edge, complex, especially in electronic and computer technology.

Universal Design for Learning: A framework for learning that allows the teacher to provide for the learning needs of all students, based on three principles: Multiple Means of Representation; Multiple Means of Engagement, and Multiple Means of Action and Expression.

Software: Commercially or individually designed computer programs, especially those intended to instruct or improve learning through drill and practice, games, or programmed learning.

Gifted: Individuals are identified as gifted and/or talented when their ability, according to some objective measure, is above the norm for their age. Individuals may be identified as talented when they may be gifted in one or more areas, but objective measures do not detect said giftedness. For expediency only “gifted” is used in this chapter.

Technology: The application of knowledge for practical purposes, especially with regard to materials employed by teachers and students.

Psychology: The study of human behavior and mental processes, variables, in particular internal factors that impact them, and leading to understanding, such as for purposes of application in education; “how” we learn.

Low Tech: Low technology, technology less advance, complex or developed. Simple.

Philosophy: The basic search for meaning and truth of our knowledge and learning; “why” we teach.

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