Role of Social Emotional Learning in Developing Talent of Gifted Special Need Students Essay

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The role of social emotional learning in developing talent of gifted/special need students gifted and special needs

The role of social emotional learning in developing talent of gifted/special need students

The issue of social and emotional learning in relation to the development of talent in gifted and special need students is one that has received a considerable amount of attention in scholarly journals and research reports. One of the aspects explored in the literature is whether intelligence alone is enough to fully activate the potential and abilities of the gifted or special need individual. This is an aspect that is explored in an article by David W. Chan entitled Leadership Competencies among Chinese Gifted Students in Hong Kong: The Connection with Emotional Intelligence and Successful Intelligence.

A somewhat unique perspective in the study of the relationship between social and emotional learning and the gifted student is explored in Nurturing Social and Emotional Development in Gifted Teenagers Through Young Adult Literature by Thomas P. Hebert and Richard Kent. This study looks at the role that appropriate literature can play in enhancing the social and emotional skills of the gifted, which also implies a greater development of their talents.

On the other hand the term special need does not only refer to those students who are considered to be exceptionally gifted or intelligence in the eyes of society. Those students who are challenged in certain respects can also benefit from emotional and social learning. This form of learning allows the student to explore new avenues and explore the latent talents that he or she may possess.

These three articles will be analyzed and critiqued in-depth in the following discussion. The central point of reference in this discussion will be the role of social and emotional learning in the development and talents of the gifted as well as the special needs student.

Article One: Leadership Competencies among Chinese Gifted Students in Hong Kong: The Connection with Emotional Intelligence and Successful Intelligence by David W. Chan.

In this article the author suggests that intelligence and analytical skills alone are not sufficient to ensure that an individual achieves his or her full potential. Although a student may be gifted, without social and emotional skills their innate talents may not be fully actualized. The author uses leadership as a measure of talent and ability and expresses the central question that motivates the article as follows:

While it is generally believed that intelligence plays an important role in leadership, questions remain as to whether smart individuals are more likely to get to positions of leadership and whether bright individuals make more effective leaders.... (Chan, 2007)

The writer goes on to make the important point that intelligence and the activation of potential is dependent on a number of external as well as internal variables, such as context and situational factors. This necessities a "...broader conceptualization of intelligence in constructs that were believed to be associated with effective leadership"(Chan, 2007). These constructs include social aspects, such as social skills and social competence. The paper also refers to emotional aspects that can influence the development of the gifted child, such as emotional maturity.

A positive aspect of this article is that the author provides an overview of the past and present status of the importance of social and emotional factors in the development of gifted children and adolescents. As Chan notes; " Over the years, while intelligence researchers have recognized that there is more to intelligence than the mental abilities represented in traditional intelligence tests, and have advocated broader conceptualizations and multiple facets or domains of intelligence "(Chan, 2007).

The paper also provides a fairly comprehensive overview of the concept and history of emotional intelligence. From a theoretical perspective, the author also notes that emotional intelligence included "...perceiving emotions, using emotions, understanding emotions, and managing emotions"(Chan, 2007).

In the actual study, intelligence was assessed using the 15-item Chinese RRSL (RRSL-15), which yielded scores on the three components of leadership: self-efficacy, leadership flexibility, and goal orientation (Chan, 2007). Perceived emotional intelligence was assessed using the 12-item Chinese Emotional Intelligence Scale. The sample used was fairly large and included 498 primary and secondary students. The selection of students was also evenly distributed in terms of gender, which added to the interpretive value of the sample. Sound measurements methodologies such as the Roets rating scale for leadership were used. .

In general the study found that "...students who reported having high abilities in emotional management and regulation could be more effective leaders"(Chan, 2007). In other words, the study suggests that intelligence and analytical abilities are in many instances not as important emotional creativity and management. This also refers to the correlation between good social interpersonal skills and successful leadership abilities. In summary, the author states that;

….these findings served to emphasize the important contributions of both emotional intelligence and successful intelligence to leadership competencies, and highlighted the importance of considering and assessing more comprehensively the wider spectrum of abilities of students in terms of emotional intelligence and successful intelligence, and strengthening practical skills and tacit knowledge as well as emotional management in the training and development of effective leaders.

(Chan, 2007).

One critique of the paper is that the sample was intensely culture -- specific or limited to a certain cultural milieu. It was also not large enough to make general deductions. These two factors limit the value of the study. On the other hand, the study does provide some valuable insights, particularly in terms of emotional intelligence.

Another limitation of the study was that it relied on self-reporting techniques for assessment and measurement of leadership competencies and emotional intelligence. As the author admits, "....this might result in a slightly inflated correlation between leadership and intelligence due to a common method variance" (Chan, 2007).

Article 2: Nurturing Social and Emotional Development in Gifted Teenagers Through Young Adult Literature by Thomas P. Hebert, Richard Kent.

This extensive article provides an extremely interesting study of the way that literature can be used to help in the development of gifted students. The author points out that many gifted student are also highly sensitive and often experience emotional and social problems in the process of coming to terms with the world around them. "...gifted teenagers are often troubled by personal issues and often overwhelmed by the daily pressures facing young adults"( Hebert, Richard Kent,2000) . The study also cites prior research in this areas which suggests that "Gifted teenagers ...exhibit a heightened level of sensitivity, an intensity, or emotional overexcitability" ( Hebert and Kent, 2000) .

This author's suggests a way of dealing with these pressures as well as a means of providing social and emotional learning. This involves experiencing appropriate literature through which the young adult can learn to identify and come to terms with various developmental issues and problems. This process is termed 'bibliotherapy'. In essence the authors suggest using young adult literature as a therapeutic tool to address the emotional needs of the gifted teenager.

The article is divided into a number of sections, each section dealing with an aspect of this form of learning therapy. Among the main points is that young adult literature reflects the life-world of the adolescent and provides scenarios that the student can identify with. In brief, the idea is that the student reads in order to "...identify with a character from the story, reflect on that identification, and undergo some emotional growth as a result of that reading experience"( Hebert and Kent, 2000) . This is the process referred to as bibliotherapy and is defined as, "...the use of reading to produce affective change and promote personality growth and development"( Hebert and Kent, 2000).

One of the advantages of developmental bibliotherapy is that the instructor or teacher "…can identify the concerns of their students and address the issues before they become problems…" (Hebert and Kent, 2000). In the view of the authors, through this technique the social and emotional needs of the gifted student can be met to a great extent (Hebert and Kent, 2000).

The article goes on to describe how various works of appropriate literature function to enhance social and emotional learning and development. This also involves a case study of the way an individual was affected by the literature. The author's spend some time on explaining through specific examples, "…how the use of developmental bibliotherapy in a classroom has the power to enrich gifted students' understanding of themselves and of their adolescent experiences" (Hebert and Kent, 2000). The article also includes an annotated list of recommended books, which is extensive.

This is essentially a discursive and quantitative study and it is very useful in presenting the advantages of this form of learning for the gifted student. On the other hand one could critique the study from a number of different perspectives. In the first instance the article does not discuss any possible disadvantages or negative aspects of bibliotherapy. More importantly, the study is severely limited in that it does not provide any form of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Format

Role of Social Emotional Learning in Developing Talent of Gifted Special Need Students.  (2011, June 16).  Retrieved January 28, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Role of Social Emotional Learning in Developing Talent of Gifted Special Need Students."  16 June 2011.  Web.  28 January 2020. <>.

Chicago Format

"Role of Social Emotional Learning in Developing Talent of Gifted Special Need Students."  June 16, 2011.  Accessed January 28, 2020.