Interview with Prof. Javier Touron (Spain), for the first Gifted Awareness Week in Germany
Javier Tourón has a Ph.D. in Biology and a Ph. D. in Education. At present is Full professor of Educational Research Methods at the Department of Education at the University of Navarra (Spain).
After a short period few years dedicated to research in the field of fisheries biology he decided to abandon that activity and reconvert his career to the field of education. He was secondary school teacher and principal and became a University teacher in 1979. After that moment he kept a close relationship with the education school system, in-service teacher training, etc. Associate professor at the University Complutense (Madrid) during 1990-93.
He was President of the European Council for High Ability (2000-2004). Founder and Executive Director of CTY Spain (2001-2011). Member of the national Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (2003-2011).
He is specialized in Quantitative Research Methods applied particularly to measurement (test validation and development) and evaluation. In the past 20 years he was devoted to the study and research of talent development.
He regularly makes presentations in professional meetings and is a frequent advisor of schools teachers and principal. At present he is interested in the implementation of the technology in the learning process as a tool to facilitate individualization and self-pace learning.
He published more than 140 research papers, many on gifted education. He is also active in the social networks: Twitter, Facebook, and edits a blog entitled “Talento y Educación” visited as average 8000 times per month.
Thank you for your time and this interview! I will publish it on our website for the first Gifted Awareness Week in Germany from June 3rd to June 9th 2013.
Here are my questions:
The Global Center for Gifted and Talented Children is organising the first Gifted Awareness Week in Germany. Could you please tell us, as one of the Scientific Advisory Board members of our center, about the importance of the gifted education in a country?
The most important asset in any country is its human capital, and particularly the talented people. Precisely those who, if properly served, will be able of making a shift in the state of the science, art, humanities, etc. A country that do not pay effective attention to the development of its talent is condemned to get serious delays with respect to others. And as we can see in the international education reports it is more a matter of will than of resources.
Tell us about your research in Gifted Education, your blog and your experience in Gifted education please.
I came to the field because of curiosity, probably due to my lack of knowledge, but I got so captivated by the importance of helping talented people to flourish that, from 1993, I have never left the field. This was more than 20 years ago!
As a full professor of Educational Research Methods at the University of Navarra, in Spain, I was particularly concerned with test development and validation, evaluation of programs and other related areas. My research was mostly focused on these topics.
Why is important to develop potential in our talented children?
Talent that is not cultivated might be lost. Commonly people think that "some are" gifted and "some others are not": a ridiculous point of view that is very harmful for children. Natural abilities need intentional provision to be developed, parents and teachers must be aware of this. Potential or natural abilities need particular actions to flourish, or to say it so to became developed competence in the different fields.
If we do not act responsibly in the schools with programs and diverse activities to foster our most capable youngsters we will be missing the focus. And do not forget that if we serve these children as they deserve, all the schools will benefit from it: "a rising tide lifts all boats".
What do you advise our teachers, educators and parents of gifted children?
Study, study, study. These "three things". One of the most perverse aspects in education is the lack of knowledge of teachers, parents and other professionals. And in my experience when people do not have clear ideas about the concepts, tend to act with prejudice. From this come terms as elitisim, segregation, egality and not equity, among others.
Fortunately when people acquire knowledge their prejudices and missconceptions tend to disappear.
What is your message for the first gifted awareness week in Germany?
Germany is a great country and the Global Center for Gifted and Talented is the kind of initiatives that a country deserves. Any activity helping to make the society and the professionals aware of the importance of talent development is of paramount importance. We are in a moment when technology can make a great difference in the way education is conceived. The borders of the schools and currículum are now fuzzy. We are in the era of the world school house, ignoring it would be a drama in the process of talent development. The GCTGC is a warrant that this will not happen.