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Moving Beyond Achievement in School: Nurturing Skills Necessary for Success in a Global Environment

Changing times call for changing strategies. Today’s students must prepare to perform on the global stage. Content knowledge remains critical but our brightest young people need to develop additional skills to achieve true success. Parents as well as teachers can play an important role in nurturing the necessary skill set. The Center for Talent Development is pleased to welcome Dr. Virginia Burney and Dr. Kristie Speirs Neumeister as Keynote speakers for our Opportunities for the Future family conference on June 23 at Northwestern University. We believe their presentation, summarized in this posting, will prove extremely beneficial for parents of academically talented children. Moving Beyond Achievement in School: Nurturing Skills Necessary for Success in a Global Environment By Drs. Virginia Burney & Kristie Speirs Neumeister, Achieving well in school provides our gifted children with a foundation for future success. However, in an era where a massive amount of information is instantly available, the advantage comes from being a knowledge producer not merely a knowledge consumer.  Indeed, we have left the information age and entered into the innovation age.  Simultaneously, a shift is occurring in relation to the competition for work.  Schools used to compare their students’ performance to that of students in the neighboring school district, across the state or even the nation.  Today’s competition is worldwide. Moving forward in this expanded global arena, competitive edge will stem from the quality of skills. To be knowledge producers, our students will need to develop additional skills beyond content knowledge.
  • Communication Skills:  Great ideas remain just that unless people can convince others of their value through effective communication.  With the aid of technology, our students need to hone their communication skills in oral, written and visual formats.
  • Collaboration:  In our connected society, people rarely work independently but rather share goals and responsibilities for project outcomes.  Our students must learn how to work well with others by developing both leadership and collaborative teamwork skills.
  • Critical and creative thinking skills:  With the exorbitant amount of information available, our students need skills in evaluating, summarizing, and analyzing information.   Students must learn to be flexible and adaptive thinkers as they figure out how to combine information to solve problems, create new perspectives, and generate new products and ideas.
  • Commitment and confidence:  Seeing a project through from its inception to completion requires the perseverance to continue despite obstacles and setbacks.  Such perseverance is built, in part, from confidence in one’s ability to succeed.   Our students need opportunities to work on complex, challenging tasks, so they can develop skills of targeted practice and commitment as well as experience the confidence that comes from mastering a difficult task.
  • Conscience: The problems of the future will be wrought with ethical considerations.  Our students need practice developing perspective by learning how to consider multiple points of view in order to make well thought out decisions that will contribute to the collective good.
Parents can make a decided difference in helping their child acquire these important learning and life set skills. At the CTD Opportunities for the Future Conference, we will explore each of these skills in-depth and discuss opportunities for parents to formally (through structured programs) and informally (through family discussions, games, and activities) nurture each of these skills within their children. Virginia Burney & Kristie Speirs Neumeister are scholars and authors in the field of gifted education. Dr. Burney is a Consultant for High Ability Education; she works with the Indiana Department of Education and teaches graduate courses in Educational Psychology relating to gifted education at Ball State University.  Dr. Speirs Neumeister is an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology at Ball State University where she directs the Gifted Licensure Program and teaches graduate courses in Educational Psychology relating to gifted education. She is President of the Indiana Association for the Gifted.  Visit our website to learn more about Drs. Burney and Spiers Neumeister and register for Opportunities for the Future family conference.

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