The Twice Exceptional Students Education Essay

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In the final analysis, students who are both gifted and learning disabled must learn how to be their own advocates. They must ultimately choose careers that will accentuate their strengths. In doing so they will meet others who think, feel, and create as they do"(Baum, 199).

Twice- exceptional defined generally as students who had both eligibility criteria for giftedness and learning disabilities.

This research is about twice exceptional students those who are gifted and having learning disabilities (LD) in Saudi Arabia. This study will focus on the help needed for gifted with LD students, from teachers, administration and parents to be able to success.

Introduction

Working as elementary teacher and activities director in a school which integrate disable students with other students gave me the chance to met exceptional students, which develop interest in this topic.

Twice exceptional had not been identified in most schools in Saudi Arabia. The need of this study increases in order to: specify how to determine gifted student LD, what are their characteristics, what the strategies to use to help them succeed at school.

There are two separate programs in the ministry of education: one for gifted and talented, the second for learning disabilities, which means there is a need to put the outline for success strategies for exceptional students. The methods used are analyzing data from survey for teachers in khobar Girls Schools. The twice exceptional students are not recognizable in most of Saudi schools and there is one research which took the results from boys' schools.

The teacher's ability to recognize gifted LD students will specify the first step. The first step how is teachers or parents define them, what diagnostic method is used around the world in order to know the individual needs. What kind of help given to students after that. The effective placement where does it take place? Who determine the placement?

Literature Review

Teaching science through various instructional techniques in order to reach effective science learning was the aim of the teachers. The instructional strategies include strategies used in school in formal, or outside the school, which considered as informal learning. Informal science learning could occur in science museums, science centers, parks, zoos, and Natural History Park. The first definition of informal learning according to Crane Nicholson & Chen:

'Informal learning refers to activities that occur outside the school setting, are not developed primarily for school use, are not developed to be part of ongoing school curriculum, and are characterized by voluntary as opposed to mandatory participation as part of a credited school experience. Informal learning experience may be structured to meet a stated set of objectives and may influence attitudes, convey information, and/ or change behavior' (p. 3) .

There was anther difiniton for informal learning ,which support formal learning. For example the museum exhibit (Avi & Sherman, 1996).

According to Colin the process of informal learning , which occured in science centers start from attraction then engaging the visitor to end with ownership. This learning process reflects meaningful daily life. Colin thought it is hard to collect evidence of learning because it won't be seen during the visit (Johnson, 2005).

Measuring the learning outcome, and researching the effectiveness of student experience at the museum, would help to plan the future exhibit, which is one of the main aim of the developer of the museums and centers. From this prospective came the Marvel project (Museum Actively Researching Visitor Experience and learning) , which is methodological study as a collaborative work between the university of technology Sydney, the Australian Museum, Environmetrics Pty Ltd and the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.

The target of the study is to measure the effectiveness of the assessment tools developed for Australian Museum, and Botanic Garden, and could be used by any member without experience of evaluation, in order to investigate the degree, nature and outcomes benchmark of learning that take place in an exhibition, and share the results with others.

The team considers how visitor are learning not just what they learned. They reflect understanding of the influence of individual experience of his point of view on the same exhibit than other person. The approach to measure visitors' learning fall in three categories: ' visitors' understanding of the big ideas of an exhibition, visitors' personal declarations of their learning, and visitors' observable behaviours that indicated learning was happening' (p.5) . The team used different tools, and strategies to measure each one.

The strategies used for looking for understanding of the big ideas were two strategies. One of them is the narrative method, and the other open ended question.

Pty Ltd (Gillian Savage) invented The Modes of Learning Inventory (MOLI), which structure the interviews of the visitors' to reveal their own view of their learning from an exhibit.

The visitors' behaviours observed visually or by listening to the conversation to indicate how they learned. The behaviors toward exhibition were recorded every 30 seconds.

These strategies applied through three trials on the Australian Museum, and Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney. Modification and combination have been made to reach the best practice for each strategy.

The finding of this study indicates that to have a clear picture of the visitor whole experience should use all the strategies that have been implemented to give different sight of learning. Also it found the exit survey was the easiest and quickest way compared with the visual observation, which needs more time, and the tool which helps to gather much data was the listening tool (Griffin, Kelly, Savage, & Hatherly, 2005).

A study of guided school tours at a Museum of Natural History of Los Angles investigated how the content communicated to students, and weather it complete science reform recommendations.

The observation made on 30 school group from second grade to eighth grade. The main observation, that the docent used instructional method to lead the tour with factual or close- ended questions with concentration on the facts, and the stories ignoring the general concepts, and big ideas following specific scenario , without showing consideration to individual or cultural impact.

The teachers gave recommendations to improve the guided tours. The suggestions include offering more interactive activities through the exhibits or more un-structured time for the students to discover the exhibition freely, and link it to daily application.

The nature of the guided tour through this study as lecturing base, and the absence of social interaction goes against (Falk & Dierking, 2000) point of view of informal science learning, which see the learning as an interaction result of personal, sociocultural, and physical context (Cox-Peterson, D.Marsh, Kisiel, & M.Melber, 2003) .

Data collection

The Center

This study took place in Sultan Bin Abdul-Aziz science and technology center (Scitech) in Al- khobar city. The center includes seven main exhibit halls: Discovery Oasis, Earth and Space, The Living World, Our Beautiful Seas, Wonders of Science, and Amazing Technology, with different kind of exhibit including interactive exhibit, skeleton, objects, and simulators. There is also scientific dome with I-Max Theater, and an astronomic observatory (Scitech, 2012).

The school girls' experiences

Data collected through two ways observation to the structure of the school tour, and interviews (Cox-Peterson, D.Marsh, Kisiel, & M.Melber, 2003) with groups of eight girls public school visit from first Grade to sixth Grade. Each school group contain from 50-60 students with 2-3 teachers. The schools have been scheduled by the ministry of education in the time the data was collected cover the majority of poor neighborhoods at Khobar and Dammam.

As elementary schools the visit path was guided tour, and contains three exhibit halls, chosen by the science communicator of the center according to the elementary curriculum, and the I-Max Film. The halls are: Earth and Space, The Living World, Our Beautiful Seas. The films were " Arabia 3D ", and "Journey to Mecca".

The method used to observe students' experience was exit interview with the student and the teachers.

Four to seven students from each school (n=32) were asked the following questions:

What do you like most about your tour?

What is the unforgettable experience in your tour?

Which exhibit you like most?

What do you learn from the exhibition?

Ten Teachers were asked the following question:

Did you plan the visit including pre- visit or post visit activities?

What was your role?

What is your evaluation of the visit on scale of 1-5?

What do you suggest to improve the school trip to the center?

Analysis

The written observations of the structure of the guided tour and the behavior of students, teachers, and science communicators reviewed. The audio recorded for the students, and teacher interviews was played twice to make a general idea about the student experience at the science center then to specify the impact of the experience on girls: the most likeable part of the tour, the unforgettable experience, the enjoyable exhibit and what they learned.

This study was limited to the number of the group visited the center in the time of the collection of data, and the Grade level that all the groups were elementary public schools. It was hard to observe behaviors in the exhibit halls, because of the number of each group between 50 -60 girls move together in limited space.

Findings

The result will be presented in two sections. The first section is the structure of the tour, which is done through observations, and the second is students, and teachers' interviews that been recorded.

Structure of the tour

The tour structured by the science communicator to include three exhibits hall. Each science communicator is responsible about specific hall. The science communicator introduces the theme of the hall briefly, and started a group tour, which the students, teachers and the science communicator move together. The science communicator chose specific exhibits for each group putting inconsideration the Grade level of each group. After science communicator explanations of the exhibits students were given free time to explore the exhibit hall. The time for each hall was approximately fifteen minute for each hall. The total for the tour of the halls was forty-five minutes, and forty-five minutes for the I-MAX movie. The information below was collected for "The Living World" hall.

The guided tour:

Fifty fourth-grade girls from the sixth elementary school at khobar the trip started at 8: 45am. The science communicator J: gave description of the visit path then walked with the group through the hall entrance. She said: This hall is "The Living World" we will take a small journey with some exhibits to explore the human body, animals, and plants, and I will guide you through certain exhibits then you will have the time to explore and interact with exhibit you want at the hall.

She chose the skeleton exhibit, which is an interactive exhibit show how the skeleton moves when we ride the bike. One girl chose to ride the bike and the rest of the group observed the skeleton movement at the same time. The science communicator had to told the girls that they would try the same exhibit if their enough time. She asked different questions factual questions, such as," how many bones on human skeleton?", and question depending on observation of the exhibit like "what are the bone you can see moving when your friend rides the bike?" Most of the questions were close ended or factual, and the respond of the girls depend on previous knowledge.

The other exhibit was camel skeleton, which it grabs the girls' attention before the science communicators talk. The conversation between the girls was about "for which animal is this skeleton?" some girls thought that it is for a dinosaur while the other recognize it as a camel. They discuss the differences together, while the science communicator confirms that it is camel, and gave information about the camel, and his living habitat at desert. Also the fetal growth stages exhibit was introduced to the group in lecturing way. At 8:55 the girls had the chance to explore the hall freely.

The observations have been seen on the other hall "Earth and Space" was around" feel the power of an earthquake" exhibit. The science communicator introduces the exhibit by saying: you will have the chance to feel the power of an earth quick with three levels two, four and six Richter. She explains what Richter is, and how the power of an earth quick measured. The students asked to align in groups of seven to try the earth quick home. They were so excited to try it. After that they explore the hall freely. The science communicator role in this stage was limited to instruct the students on how to handle the exhibits and making sure of girls conduct.

The third hall is "Our Beautiful Sea". Science Communicator H talked to the girls about the aquarium different kind of fish, especially, the shark, the turtle, and the giant snake fish. The science communicator always has difficulty in this hall to made students listen to the information about the different aquarium. Instead the students go around the aquarium to observe the sea creatures, while it moves around. The statements heard for example were: "see the big fish .what it is?" "Shark the science communicator said" "how the small fish not was eaten by the big shark or beaten by the snake fish?" .The science communicator replay to them if she listen to their questions.

The analysis of the observation showed that:

Most of the science communicator focus on the

5 - 4 - 5 -7 - 4 - 4 - 3

4 teacher -3- 2

Conclusion

The study focuses on the identification of gifted students with learning disabilities, in order to help students. Twice exceptional had not been identified in most schools in Saudi Arabia. The need of this study increases in order to: specify how to determine gifted student LD, what are their characteristics, what the strategies to use to help them succeed at school.

The teacher's ability to recognize gifted LD students will specify the first step. The first step what kind of identification is suitable, what diagnostic test is used around the world in order to know the individual needs. What kind of help given to students after that. The effective placement where does it take place? Who determine the placement?

The characteristics of twice exceptional involves: Gifted characteristics and learning disabilities (LD), which form unique individuals, require special individual program Psychologists characterized gifted students with learning disabilities, more than 20 years age. Different suggestion was given without supportive research in psycho educational assessment, and some depend on recent researches

According to Whitmore and maker (1985), the population of gifted LD was seen as: Intellectually gifted individuals with specific learning disabilities are the most misjudged, misunderstood, and neglected segment of the student population and the community. Teacher, school counselors, and others often overlook signs of intellectual giftedness and locus attention on such deficits as poor spelling, reading, and writing. (p. 204)

In Saudi Arabia, in early 1990's a teacher preparation program in learning disabilities started .gifted program teacher preparation followed in late 1990's by King Saud University. Not all teachers get training on how to identify gifted or disabled students. Later the first study about exceptional student was presented by Abdullah Al-Musa with title " Factors Related to Saudi Teachers Identifying and Placing Students Who are Twice Exceptional: Gifted and Learning Disabled" (Al-mousa A. ).

This study conducted from teacher in Saudi Arabia. Surveys take a place at Girls Elementary School at Khobar city, which include gifted and talented cluster. The data collected measure the understanding of twice exceptional students' characteristics and needs from girls' teachers and the placement availability. This research will reflect the reality of gifted LD in gifted clusters.

Findings:

The result shows that the criteria needed to identify the characteristic of twice exceptional girls is well known and important to most of the teacher in the clusters. The gifted or talented with difficulties placement in most of school is in the gifted program or disabled and no special identification criteria or placement for twice exceptional.

The implication of the research is the need for identification toolkit to provide identification plan for schools (Mary & William, 2007) .

The right placement for twice exceptional individuals prevent from the impact of misdiagnosis .there is a need to create special program for twice exceptional, which is not available.

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