Article of the year award 2020: Supporting gifted students is important

Nordic Mensa Fund granted four “Article of the year awards” in 2020.

The articles rewarded range from demographics to psychiatry, from psychology to education. They show the wide range of intelligence research. We now want to tell you a little more about each of the four recipients, in random order. This is number 2 out of 4.

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Sonja Laine was awarded for her article: Finnish elementary school teachers’ attitude toward gifted education published in the journal Roeper Review.

The study from the area of education examined Finnish elementary school teachers’ attitudes toward the gifted students and their education. On a general level, teachers’ attitudes toward gifted education were found to be positive. Teachers saw that gifted students have social value and that they need special services. Teachers’ attitudes toward specific gifted education options were in line with earlier Finnish research: teachers supported differentiated teaching but were more negative toward acceleration or separating the gifted into their own groups. Despite the supporting attitude in theory, teachers’ positions toward practice were more skeptical. Large class sizes and lack of time were described factors that hindered the possibility to support the gifted in practise. The study emphasized the importance of educating teachers about giftedness and especially generating more practical strategies for teachers to support the gifted students.

Dr. Sonja Laine is a lecturer at the Viikki Teacher Training School of the University of Helsinki, Finland, and a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the University of Helsinki. Her main research interests are conceptions of giftedness, gifted education, teachers’ and students’ mindsets in learning, and teacher education. She has published her research in international educational journals such as High Ability Studies and Journal for the Education of the Gifted. Laine has served as a national delegate of the World Council of Gifted and Talented Children since 2015.