In Greece, there are few opportunities in the public school system for gifted students to receive the kind of special services that are common in many other countries, including the U.S. Instead, students with exceptional ability receive the same lessons as their peers, at the same pace.
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An international, multi-university network is helping to change that, and the country recently hosted its first international conference on gifted education in Athens. Tracy L. Cross, the Jody and Layton Smith Professor of Psychology and Gifted Education and executive director of the William & Mary Center for Gifted Education, provided the main keynote address at the event.
Cross’s address, “What is Gifted Education and (Why) Do We Need It?” was presented to 400 educators, politicians, members of the media and the American Consulate. In his presentation, he described approaches and outcomes to engaging and uplifting gifted students to help them reach their full potential.
Cross worked for 16 years with the Midwest Academic Talent Search at Northwestern University, before becoming a part of the Centre for Talented Youth-Ireland, housed at Dublin City University (CTY-I). CTY-I is now the largest program for gifted students in Europe. In addition to teaching at William & Mary, Cross holds faculty status at Dublin City University and spent a Fulbright year conducting research in Ireland.
Two years ago, local professionals worked with Johns Hopkins University—the original Talent Search Program, to develop the Centre for Talented Youth-Greece, which now offers fast-paced, high-level weekend and summer courses for gifted students identified through a talent search program.
Together, the Centre for Talented Youth-Greece and Anatolia College organized the first conference to address gifted education, giving local teachers the opportunity to learn more about their high-ability students and strategies to help them grow and learn.
Jennifer Cross, research assistant professor and director of research for the Center for Gifted Education, also participated at the conference as part of a panel of experts on the topic of motivation and gifted students.
“The Center for Gifted Education made numerous friends and contacts during the time spent in Greece and we will continue our efforts to help the country serve its high-ability students for years to come,” said Tracy Cross.