Systemic theory of gifted education

The article Lessons from goal orientation theory: expansion of systemic theory of gifted education by Cheng explains the construction of the individualized learning pathway which gifted students take. Cheng explores the goal orientation theory through the goals and environment of gifted education. Further enhancement comes through the Actiotope Model of Giftedness by Albert Ziegler who considers giftedness as a characteristic which change over time within an environmental context and is the result of various interactions between the individual and the environment. Through the article Cheng presents a two-fold of goals and structure to the potential direction for research. As actions of a person change the environment, achievement of goals streamlines an important factor within gifted children.
Cheng (2012) states, "I commend the attempt by Ziegler and Phillipson to discuss gifted education from a systemic and contextual perspective, which is inspiring in terms of theoretical advancement and practical reconsideration." The Actiotope Model of Giftedness consists of these main elements: actions, action repertoire, subjective action space, goals, environment, and interactions within the components. The model seems to be more descriptive rather than explanatory. "I think the theory will gain more explanatory and predictive power if the psychological mechanisms underlying the co-evolution and the interactions among components can be specified and explained," (Cheng, 2012). The article continues to explain how the model can develop through research to expand upon the elements.
"In goal orientation theory, goals refer to the reasons to achieve. Such a conceptualization of goals is distinct from that in the actiotope model," (Cheng, 2012). As goals equals standards of performance in particular domains, they are the heart of any given program. Gifted students need to have goals which they strive and work for achievement. The importance of goal setting is to develop greater intrinsic motivation so that students can reach achievement.
Cheng (2012) states, "The significance of goal orientation in predicting motivation and achievement is not limited to students in general but also to those who are gifted." For curriculum to be motivating for the gifted students, the individual student and his or her goals and values have to align with the environment. When setting goals for gifted students to achieve, there has to be a sense of commitment from the student. This highlights the importance of the IEP process where the school team comes together with the student and parent to build goals and objectives for student success. Gifted students who see their environment as friendly and safe are more likely to produce achievement-oriented behaviors.
The detection of social reasons presides within achievement of gifted students. Cheng (2012) states, "…students have some social reasons to achieve such as to fulfill obligations to parents or to maintain social relationship with peers." We need to appreciate and understand the variety of influences in social settings pertaining to gifted learners and the effectiveness which it will promote through their learning. "In terms of the actiotope model, social goals will correspond with the socially-oriented subjective action space," (Cheng, 2012.) Further research will help develop the significance in predicting motivation and achievement of gifted students.
"When students perceive their classroom or school as emphasizing learning and effort, they are more likely to endorse mastery goals; by contrast, when they perceive their classroom or school as emphasizing competition and ability, they are more likely to endorse performance goals," (Cheng, 2012). As affective development pertains to the social-emotional needs of gifted children, we should strive to give students vigorous varieties to choose from. When affective goals reflect strength-based and contain measurable statements that reflect development of personal, social, communication, leadership and cultural competencies students will have achievement. Cheng (2012) explains, "The interaction between personal goal orientation and goal structure in goal orientation theory is probably a subset of the interaction between the person and his/her environment in the actiotope model." As gifted children need to be active participants in setting their goals, this enhances the goal orientation theory where goals refer to reasons to achieve.
"In the actiotope model, development towards excellence is a long-term learning process with the support of the system," (Cheng, 2012). While some aspects of the regular curriculum adapt, others will add which may be unique to the gifted and talented students to reach the excellence through the learning process. To incorporate a successful environment, a variety of instructional groupings based upon individual program components and implementation. As keeping in mind, the number and needs of gifted and talented students, and available resources available to facilitate differentiated instruction. Cheng (2012) states, "Longitudinal study with cross-lagged design should be a promising research design in this area because it allows investigation on three types of relations simultaneously: First, concurrent relation (e.g., the relation between personal goal orientation and classroom goal structure within the same time period); second, cross-lagged relation (e.g., the prediction of personal goal orientation at Time 1 on student achievement at Time 2); third, longitudinal relation (e.g., the developmental changes of student achievement between Time 1 and Time 2)."
As this article supports the need for further research, the importance of the factors of goals and achievement have been a highlight. As goals reflect the standards, students must meet their goals with achievement. The achievement of the goals produces the expansion of action within the vigorous cycle of achieving along with updating goals that leads to a successive development toward excellence through the learning pathway. The goal orientation theory supports the view of goals referring to the reasons to achieve. As the development towards excellence is a long-term learning process, the research available to conduct is at an all time high.
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