UGA hosting gifted education training for Korean teachers

ATHENS, Ga. – A contingent of 25 Korean science teachers will be going back to school for the next two weeks on the University of Georgia campus to learn how to provide programs for their gifted students.

This is the fifth such visit to UGA since the Republic of Korea began transforming some ordinary high schools into special schools for gifted students. Busan Science High School became the nation’s first science high school for the gifted and talented last March.

“This group is again emphasizing creativity and science, so the instruction is a collaborative effort among faculty from the departments of educational psychology, science education and entomology here at UGA, as well as teachers from schools in Clarke and Cobb counties,” said Bonnie Cramond, associate professor of gifted and creative education and co-organizer of the training sessions through the College of Education’s Torrance Center for Creative Studies. “We have gotten quite a good reputation in Korea for delivering effective training with quality instructors in a congenial atmosphere.”

The Koreans chose to collaborate with UGA’s gifted and creative education program in the department of educational psychology over those at four other universities they visited in December 2002: Connecticut, Iowa, Purdue and Yale.

That’s hardly surprising since UGA’s has one of the most respected gifted and creative programs in the nation. In fact, the department of educational psychology graduate program is ranked 10th in the nation in U.S. News and World Report’s 2004 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.”

The group of Koreans, which includes elementary, middle and high school teachers as well as two university faculty members, and two college instructors, will attend daily training sessions on topics such as characteristics and needs of gifted individuals, techniques to foster critical and creative thinking, Future Problem Solving programming, and how Georgia identifies students as gifted using multiple criteria.

The visitors will sit in on classes at Barrow Elementary on Jan. 20, and Cedar Shoals High School on Jan. 22 in Athens and South Cobb High School Academy of Mathematics and Medical Sciences in Atlanta on January 28.

“I believe that one reason they chose to study here is our focus on creativity. So there will be a heavy emphasis on creativity and social emotional needs of the gifted,” said Cramond. “It’s exciting for UGA to be in the position to have such an impact on a nation’s developing gifted program.”

The sessions will be taught on campus by UGA education faculty and graduate students including through Jan. 29.