Tim Jolliff reviews this collection of essays
Science education for gifted learners
Keith Taber (ed)
Abingdon: Routledge 2007 | Pp240 | £18.99 | ISBN 0 415 39534 2
Reviewed by Tim Jolliff
This book is a collection of essays on various issues relating to the teaching of gifted students in science. The product of a conference, Meeting the needs of the most able in science, hosted by Cambridge University, 15 authors contribute 16 chapters on the subject. Topics covered include identifying gifted learners, developing thinking skills, and strategies for provision for gifted students.
Although written for teachers, my opinion is that this book will appeal to only a small subset of science teachers. The main drawback is the use of 'edu speak' throughout the text so that a simple statement, eg 'giftedness is not fixed but can develop over time', takes hundreds of words to convey.
The emphasis is on the big picture and a theoretical overview of teaching science to gifted learners, which will be of interest to researchers in HE education departments. Less space is given to practical examples that teachers will want to use in their lessons. Making a connection between these theoretical principles and what happens in our classrooms is left largely to the reader but surely this most vital part would have been the most useful of all.
If you are an educational researcher, or a teacher profoundly interested in developing gifted students, this reasonably priced book may be for you. And if you do persevere with this book, it will make you think quite deeply about your science teaching.