Foreword to Being Smart about Gifted Education by Rena Subotnik, PhD
Psychology has lots to offer gifted child studies and gifted education, and always has. Most of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the field were trained in the discipline, as were many of their rebellious “sons” and “daughters.” This wonderful volume continues that tradition by promoting evidence-based practices that have been carefully culled and vetted through psychological science, education and evaluation research, as well as by the deep expertise of the authors.
Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster’s conceptualization of “Mastery” versus “Mystery” approaches for gifted education and gifted child studies unveils the source of conflicting outcomes we see in the gifted education literature. They make it clear that unless the preparation provided to teachers and the consultations we provide to parents are grounded in some form of definitional consensus, our field will undermine its ability to play a greater role at the table of school reform and policy development.
The authors explicate the arena of gifted education in a number of constructive ways. They do not accept hearsay or ideology as an excuse for promoting practices in identification, curriculum, evaluation, or counseling services. They provide solid advice to parents, educators and decision makers in language that is accessible to all interested readers. Every reader, from those with little exposure to the field save experiences with their own children and their children’s teachers, to those who have been immersed for decades in serving the needs of gifted children, will find this book a welcome reference.
Rena F. Subotnik, PhD
Director, Center for Gifted Education Policy American Psychological Association