A Problem Based Approach to Hidden Giftedness:Revealing the 'Me' Behind the Mask.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
This thesis explores possibilities for understanding hidden gifted learners better and for creating environments that engage these learners through opportunities to learn within their areas of interest. I present three students and their teachers as case studies and use a collaborative process for change to negotiate possibilities for engaged learning. This collaborative process for change is a framework for reflexive inquiry. It explores the use of Problem Based Methodology (Robinson & Lai, 2006) to frame conversations that lead to the negotiation of learning pathways with hidden gifted students, teachers and their Resource Teacher Learning and Behaviour. Through collective, critical reflection and analysis of identified theories of action (Argyris & Schon, 1978), learners, teachers and resource teacher gained a deeper understanding of the social and emotional characteristics of hidden gifted and the way inclusive practices influenced engagement. The understandings that have emerged from this research are grounded in collective praxis. Praxis is informed by reflexivity, a process of describing, informing, dialoguing and reconstructing. It is a process of disequilibrium whereby praxitioners (Mayo, 2003) are critically aware and in tune with multiple ways of knowing, seeking inclusive understandings and practices that continually challenge personal beliefs and values. In this way five outcomes have emerged from this research. Firstly there has been a developing possibility for untangling the complexities of engagement through reflexive processes for identifying and mapping action theories. This mapping is respectful of voice and enables the emergence of pathways for transformative change. Secondly, there has been an emerging understanding of reflexivity and how reflexive processes contribute to change. Thirdly we have explored the dynamics of reengagement for hidden gifted learners. Fourthly there has been the emergence of a process for facilitating collective praxis to engage teachers and learners in reflexive processes for shifting thinking beyond the descriptive to more informative and transformative reflection. Finally, the participatory action research methodology guiding this research has emerged as a possibility for a framework of practice for RTLB. This framework may resolve issues of philosophical difference related to inclusive paradigms and positions RTLB on a learning trajectory toward praxitioner research and the development of a critical pedagogy.