Pues me parece lógico que hablando del Talent Search en estos últimos posts y los que siguen, os sugiera al única obra en español en la que se revisa el modelo con la máxima extensión.
El prólogo es del profesor Julian C. Stanley, lo que a mí me llena de orgullo, al tratarse de una de las figuras más sobresalientes en el estudio de la alta capacidad en el mundo, como ya conté en posts anteriores. Lo reproduzco aquí en su versión original en inglés (una traducción se encuentra en el libro).
La obra cubre con extensión un amplio abanico de investigaciones sobre las diversas modalidades de aceleración y atiende a los estudios que analizan el posible impacto negativo de la misma sobre el desarrollo social y emocional de los alumnos eventualmente acelerados. Pero antes de ello se centra en el análisis histórico del desarrollo del modelo de CTY, originalmente SMPY. La extensa bibliografía recoge más de 600 referencias que serán de gran utilidad para los estudiosos de este tema del que daré cuenta oportunamente más adelante. El contenido del índice del libro puede accederse desde este enlace.
Os recomiendo la lectura del prólogo del profesor Stanley que en pocas palabras dice cosas de gran interés. Hoy, cuando ya nos ha abandonado, estas palabras adquieren un valor histórico. En cualquier caso entrañables para los autores del libro.
The concept and practices of educational acceleration are widely discussed but often poorly understood. Even many specialists in the identification and education of intellectually talented (“gifted”) children believe that such acceleration chiefly means skipping school grades, such as going from the third grade, as I did, to the fifth grade without ever being a fourth-grader. Of course, that is one of the more radical ways to accelerate educational progress, but not necessarily the best for a given child. There are at least twenty other options to move ahead in grade- or subject-matter placement.
I must confess having added to the confusion about this. When I started my Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY) in 1971 there were few feasible alternatives to skipping grades. Thus, SMPY’s fi rst two math “prodigies” became full-time undergraduate students at my university at age 13, having completed only eight of the twelve grades in their school system. Both performed well academically; one received his Master’s degree in computer science with distinction at age 17 instead of the usual age 23 or more. Due to our vigorous, prolonged efforts and those of others across the United States, however, there are now many better ways to accelerate educationally, even though some grade skipping remains a method of choice for certain mature, well-motivated students. A good example of this enhanced set of supplemental educational opportunities is the route taken by one of our most-talented math prodigies. While in high school he excelled in national and international mathematics competitions, breaking many records. Also, he took college courses part-time to the extent that by the time he finished high school he had completed the undergraduate mathematics- major requirements of a fine university in his home town. In about another year he could have completed all the other work for a Bachelor’s degree from that university. Yet I counseled his parents to let him go away to Harvard University to experience college life and move ahead further in mathematics at the graduate level. In three years instead of the usual four he earned his Bachelor’s degree summa cum laude and national honors. A few years later he completed his Ph.D.- degree requirements at one of the country’s greatest universities. Then he won a coveted five-year fellowship at the best research center in the United States. One can hardly do better than that, and yet this brilliant young man skipped only one grade below the college level and another in college, two in all versus the likelihood that he could have earned a Bachelor’s degree by age 15 or so, as other of our prodigies have done. It seems to me that he is better off now socially, emotionally, and academically for not having done so.
Educational acceleration is crucial to the education of gifted children. They usually suffer if denied opportunities to proceed faster and better in their areas of special competence than their average-ability classmates do. It’s not a question of whether to accelerate in ways uniquely planned for each intellectually talented individual, but how. The authors of this fine, much needed book explore virtually all facets of educational acceleration, putting them into proper focus for educators, parents, journalists, the gifted child himself or herself, and, indeed, all thoughtful adults.
We are indebted to them for helping to clarify and extend this much-misunderstood concept. This book is likely to be published initially in Spanish. I hope that an English translation will become available to the English-speaking world. It could be especially valuable for educators in Great Britain who are launching ambitious programs for improving the education of their intellectually talented youth. We in the United States sorely need its survey, suggestions, and implications, too.
Julian C. Stanley
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland 21218, U.S.A.