Developing a classroom science enrichment programme for gifted primary school boys in Saudi Arabia.
University of Southampton, Southampton Education School,
Enrichment is one of the important educational facilities that are provided for gifted students. However, the research on gifted enrichment programmes still requires further exploration in order to meet the diversity of gifted students. The purpose of this study was to determine the important components of an enrichment programme in science for gifted boys in the 6th grade of primary schools in Saudi Arabia. The current study has critiqued the components that are recommended in the literature pertaining to gifted programmes that include the Renzulli Model, VanTass- Baska Model, and Oasis Enrichment Model. Gifted programmes discussed are then discussed in relation to those that are provided to gifted students in schools and Universities in Saudi Arabia. Mixed methods were used in this descriptive study. Three methods have been used, documentary analysis, questionnaire, and interview. The documentary analyses of selected science textbook in 6th grade used mixed (qualitative and quantitative) approaches. The participants included 220 gifted students in primary schools in 6th grade from Dammam, Riyadh, and Jeddah city in Saudi Arabia, and 10 teachers and 10 supervisors of gifted education in science. Gifted students responded to questionnaires in order to ascertain their opinions about the current science textbook in 6th grade and what they would like to find in the Proposed Enrichment Programme (PEP). Interviews were conducted with teachers and supervisors of gifted education to examine in depth their IV perception about the current 6th grade science textbook and the Proposed Enrichment Programme in order to meet the needs of Saudi gifted students in 6th grade. The data from questionnaires were analysed in two phases. Firstly, the data were analysed and presented item by item for both the current science textbook ( ST questionnaire) and the proposed enrichment programme ( PEP questionnaire). All the items were examined by Chi square test to calculate whether there are any significant differences among each item in both questionnaires. Secondly, comparisons were made among the themes that emerged from the ST and PEP questionnaires. The responses of the interviewees were assigned to one of the content themes (attitudes to science, thinking skills, and contents and activities). Analysis of the words from respondents and counting frequencies of occurrence of ideas, themes, pieces of data, words (Cohen et al., 2007). The questionnaire data showed that the most important theme in the PEP for the gifted students is the “content of knowledge”. This reflects the students‟ views of the inadequacy of knowledge in the ST and their desire to further the development of content knowledge in the PEP. All the data from students and teachers and supervisors indicated that the ST needs to be improved to meet the needs of gifted students in two main areas: the level of thinking skills (e.g. evaluating and creating), and that the topics should be close to students‟ daily life and their environment. The findings of this research study showed agreement across all data collection instruments regarding the weakness of the activities in the 6th grade science textbook. This study considers that in order to enable gifted students to fulfil their potential in science in the regular classroom, it is necessary to provide further content and activities that require high levels of thinking, as provided by the PEP. The findings in this study clearly showed that there is a need for more challenge to stimulate gifted learners to learn which should be included in the PEP
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