Among the goals and objectives of education policy the most important place take the intellectual potential of the individual, the development strategy of intensive learning. One of the aspects of talents and abilities of students concern their good verbal skills, that include clear, crisp, grammatically correct writing; comprehension of abstract and complex written materials; a rich and varied vocabulary; and effective public speaking, that are important in almost all career spheres. Children show individual differences in each of these areas of verbal skills, so it is necessary to provide some educational programs for the verbally talented students.
It is important to mention that there are very few, and only few studies that evaluate the effects of specialized language arts curriculum on gifted learners. Also it is important to point out that some groups of gifted learners, like low-income and minority learners, are underidentified as gifted and underrepresented in gifted programs. So, there is a need of solutions to the problem of the underrepresentation of minority and low-income children in gifted programs and the achievement gap between them and nonminority advantaged children.
To increase the activity of students in independent gain knowledge, acquire skills and develop talents, it is necessary to apply innovative programs. Thus, students should be prepared for creative activity, and for that they must consistently educate planning this activity, as well as to create conditions for motivation for this type of activity. In dealing with this problem an important role for the additional educational projects aimed at organizing and conducting such innovative programs and methods.
So, let's consider an innovative program for low income middle-school students who have good skills and talents in verbal area. And evaluate the efficiency of the program as innovative, and its results by underlying the program effects on students.
Project LIVE was a program of enrichment and acceleration focused on the development of verbal talent created by the Center for Talent Development (CTD) of Northwestern University in partnership with Evanston-Skokie School District. It was was implemented for 3 years beginning with a group of sixth-grade students in 2005-2008. (S.-Y. Lee et all, 2010)
So, the LIVE - is an innovative project for middle-school students who are verbally talented that was designed to provide supplemental outside-of-school enrichment experiences to students who came from families with low and moderate incomes. (S.-Y. Lee et all, 2010)
The goal of the program was to provide students activities in critical reading and literary analysis, expository writing, and vocabulary development and language usage, and in future to enable students participate in the most challenging verbal courses available at their high school and better develop their verbal abilities. (S.-Y. Lee et all, 2010)
The project aims were to create conditions under which students:
• independently acquire the missing knowledge from different sources;
• use the acquired knowledge to solve cognitive and practical tasks;
• acquire communication skills, working in different groups;
• develop verbal skills in different spheres.
The project provided very wide range of activities during 2 year, that were the following:
An after-school reading and discussion in fiction and nonfiction; writing of responses to the reading selections.
Short courses on etymology, grammar, and usage to supplement the regular school English curriculum.
A 3-week writing workshop offered during the summer of 2005-2006 school year. During this period students were developing their nonfiction writing skills in essay writing, creative-writing focused on creating music compositions and writing song lyrics, using the state-of-the-art computer and music laboratory at ETHS.
The summer courses through the Center for Talent Development's Spectrum summer program , held on the campus of Northwestern University and taught by qualified instructors.
Saturday activities : field trips to museums, libraries, theaters and cultural institutions; sessions of poetry and writing workshops conducted by a poet or author.
The EXPLORE test for students in their sixth and seventh grades to assess their verbal abilities and give them practice and experience with the test before taking it in the eighth grade. (S.-Y. Lee et all, 2010)
So, all the activities of the project for verbally talented students were held to help students to develop their talents and abilities, and to get additional knowledge and skills.
After the 2 years of the program, according to the result 37 out of 45 students completed the program (82% completion rate). The Live project gave a lot of positive results for the students:
Increase of the level of their academic performance in verbal areas;
Significant improvements in the students' performances on the reading and English portions of the EXPLORE test;
Improvement of their reading and overall academic achievement, making them better prepared for advanced high-school coursework
So, it must be concluded the the main goal of Project LIVE was accomplished successfully.
Another aspect that must be pointed out, is a pre- to post-program change in parental expectations for their children's academic achievement. This means that parents' involvement and help to children's and children's reliance on their parents' assistance with schoolwork decreased significantly. Also, there was evidence that students became more independent of their parents regarding schoolwork due to the educational services and support provided by Project LIVE. (S.-Y. Lee et all, 2010)
So, in conclusion we must point out the results of the LIVE Program for Verbally Talented students and the innovation value of the program.
First of all, this program was the first created for some groups of gifted low-income and minority learners, that are usually underidentified as gifted and underrepresented in gifted programs. The LIVE students were diverse, unlike many other educational programs for gifted students where African American and Hispanic students are severely underrepresented. It increased students confidence in their academic abilities, positively impacted their self-concept as gifted and talented learners, and increased their interest in and commitment to academic achievement, enabled them to learn that they could compete successfully with other students who were of higher income or nonminority ethnicity.
So, this innovative program appeared as the solutions to the problem of the underrepresentation of minority and low-income children in gifted programs and the decrease of gap between them and nonminority advantaged children.
Also it is necessary to assume the positive results of the LIVE program, that it demonstrated that such innovative programs work, particularly ones that affect the achievement gap, and showed how and why they work, and that they are necessary for educational reform research.