The 17th Asia-Pacific Conference on Giftedness(07 July, 2022 Newsletter)

The 17th Asia-Pacific Conference on Giftedness took place on July 7th, attracting over 600 guests, scholars, teachers, and students around the world to participate. The opening ceremony was emceed by Associate Professor Christine Chifen Tseng, and the ceremony started with the brilliant piano and violin performances by Gavin Chen and Emily Tsai.

Then, Political Deputy Minister of Ministry of Education Ching-Hua Tsai gave the congratulatory address, welcoming all the attendees in Taiwan and online from 39 countries with passion. The conference gathered everyone with the theme “Embracing Diversity, Blooming Talents.” Taiwan was honored to be the host of the conference and sincerely appreciated the participation of all

the attendees. President of National Taiwan Normal University Cheng-Chih Wu also gave his blessing in the opening ceremony, hoping the conference to succeed and attendees to have fruitful experience during the four days.

Subsequently, the first keynote speech invited Professor Del Siegle from University of Connecticut, USA. Professor Siegle began with “elephant in the room” to explore how to balance the identification of gifted education and provide services for the gifted students. Nowadays, the merit-based human development leads schools to spend millions identifying the qualification of the gifted, but it doesn’t require schools to provide services for these gifted students, which is the question worth re-thinking at the current phase. Professor Siegle suggested “Three-Legged Gifted Education Service Approach” to conclude that providing service is more crucial than identification.

Lisa Sigafoos from University of Texas at Austin, USA gave the second keynote speech with the topic “Empowering Disability Identity and Fostering Inclusivity in Postsecondary Classrooms.” She stressed on the four factors: (1) Building SAFE Learning Environment (selfconfidence, acceptance, fairness, encouraging), (2) Identity Empowerment, (3) Instructional Style, (4) The Inclusive Postsecondary Classroom.

Followed with keynote topics was the invited symposium with Dr. Usanee Anuruthwong from Association for Developing Potentials and Giftedness, Thailand, Professor Kyungbin Park from Gachon University, South Korea, and Professor Jan Burns from Canterbury Christ Church University, UK. They discussed the location and the importance of the twice- exceptional in special education. First, Dr. Usanee Anuruthwong suggested that in some cases with twice-exceptional Children, their high ability may not be recognized, due to problems with speech and communication, or with movement and coordination. Misdiagnosis has led to inappropriate placement, nurturing, and teaching. Understanding their uniqueness and seeking to turn on their potential to ignite their

giftedness—and at the same time, overcome their weaknesses—must become a new trend in all schools.

Then, Professor Park shared with us that the topic of twice–exceptional learners is still underexplored among many societies and researchers. The lack of special attention to twice-exceptional learners may pose a challenge to their talent development and the contributions they could make to human society at large. It is important for the society and the educational field to recognize and seek for solutions to nurture twice-exceptional learners’ unique giftedness. Finally, Professor Burns, an elite athlete with intellectual disabilities, shared that success for them is not just about athletic talent, and having the mind-set, determination, support and opportunity. The race might be more challenging, beset with inequalities, low expectations and less opportunities, in addition to compensating for what having intellectual disabilities actually means for sporting performance. In every journey, it is all about placing a marker in history, becoming a role model, and inspiring a whole generation of youth.

Professor Robert J. Sternberg from Cornell University, USA gave the next speech and shared that giftedness is usually conceived of a transactional personal characteristic. When identified as “gifted”, people are expected to perform well in all aspect, and in exchanged, they receive special benefits. The problem with this transaction between the individual and the school is that it takes into account the egocentric needs of the individual but not, sufficiently, the common good of the world. We should pay more attention to the identification and especially the development of transformational giftedness, which is giftedness directed toward creating a better world--toward making a positive, meaningful, and enduring difference to the world as a whole.

At the same time, in the workshop, Dr.Tobias Schüttler shared aerospace-related school student research projects, which indicate that stimulating project with clearly defined objective groups of gifted school students can raise their limits of previous knowledge. By means of self-structured team action they are enabled to conduct targeted research and develop a defined WORKSHOP FROM DR. TOBIAS SCHÜTTLER innovative result.

The first day of the conference also had six venues for paper and poster presentations.The inclusive education of “Embracing Diversity, Blooming Talents” has been the critical issues we are working on. The speakers and presenters of this international conference come from 40 countries worldwide.The research results fully demonstrate the value for creating high-quality learning environment, and inspiring students’ talents.

Sharing and discussing with partners for gifted and inclusive education from different countries online and in person must ignite more inspirations. We are looking forward that students with special needs are able to learn joyfully with peers.