Just off the Press

June 1991 Masthead

Rembrandt to Rembrandt: A Case Study of a Memorable Painting Teacher of Artistically Talented Students
Enid Zimmerman, Indiana University

The purpose of this study was to describe and analyze characteristics of a memorable teacher of 20 artistically talented 13 to 16 year old students in a two-week painting course at the Indiana University Summer Arts Institute. In this on-site case study, classroom observation, interviews with students and their teacher, time sampling, and analysis of student application forms and two observer journals, were used to collect data. These data were analyzed by content, comparative, and time sampling analyses.

The objective of the teacher, who was the subject of this study, was to have the students in his painting class learn about themselves and their art work. His emphasis on both cognitive and affective skills was evident throughout all phases of his teaching. He wanted his students to understand what it is like to be an artist and to paint adequate self-portraits. His belief that painting is a skill that can be taught was a pervasive factor in all his teaching practices. He was able to recognize when students were bored and frustrated and not performing adequately and he helped them reach their potential.

This painting teacher’s success due to his planned teaching strategies, individual attention to all students, positive attitude in public and private contexts, knowledge about art, and ability to make art class challenging and interesting through humor and storytelling contrasts with the popular misconception that if art teachers provide talented students with art materials they will create art.

Students were unanimous in their approval of this painting teacher. Compared to instruction from their regular art teachers, students felt they learned a lot more in this teacher’s class. Most students mentioned his stories as informative, serving to introduce history, humor, and facts into the painting class, thus keeping the students alert and reducing tension. The students also felt that when they-were bored this teacher was able to help them continue working and complete their art projects.

In this study, the importance of having artistically talented students study art in an accelerated program was evident. It was suggested that as artistically talented students progress at higher levels of achievement in the visual arts, they might be encouraged to attend college level-type classes and study with a mentor so that their knowledge, skills, and values are developed beyond what is normally possible at the junior high and high school levels.
This case study provides one model of successful teaching of artistically talented young adolescents. Information about other case studies of art teachers of talented students, undertaken at different sites with different populations, are requested so that generalizations from this study can be accepted or refuted.

To be published in Roeper Review (Winter 1991)

The Scientific Hypothesis Formulation Ability of Gifted Ninth-Grade Students
Steven M. Hoover, Department of Applied Psychology, St. Cloud State University
John F. Feldhusen, Department of Educational Psychology, Purdue University

An exploratory study was conducted to compare selected cognitive and noncognitive variables’ relationships with highly intelligent ninth-grade students’ ability to formulate hypotheses about realistic, ill-defined situations. Three hypotheses were tested in this study: Whether boys’ and girls’ abilities to formulate hypotheses differed; whether significant relationships existed between hypothesis formulation ability and cognitive and noncognitive factors; and the extent to which there was a relationship between the quality and the quantity of students’ responses. Results indicated that there were no differences between male and female subjects’ abilities to formulate hypotheses. The results of a principal-component analysis indicated that the ability to formulate hypotheses may be independent of intelligence for high-ability students. Finally, a positive relationship was found between the quality and the quantity of subjects’ responses.

Journal of Educational Psychology 1990, 82(4), 838-848

Predictive Significance of Early Giftedness: The Case of Precocious Reading
Joseph R. Mills, University of Washington
Nancy Ewald Jackson, The University of Iowa

Results of a longitudinal study of 59 10-12 year olds who had been precocious readers when first tested at 5-6 years of age suggest that extraordinary early achievement in reading predicts above-average, but not necessarily extraordinary, ability in reading and related skill areas during the middle elementary school years, as measured by performance on Level 18 of the California Achievement Test (CAT). Median CAT subtest scores were between 1 and 2 SDs above age-appropriate norms. Verbal Ability at 5-6 years of age predicted individual differences in precocious readers’ later reading comprehension accuracy as well or better than initial reading skills did. General Reading Ability, reading Speed, and letter naming speed at 5-6 years were associated with speed to compete the reading comprehension subtest of the CAT. This study illustrates theoretical and methodological issues that must be addressed in other investigations of early development of giftedness.

Journal of Educational Psychology 1990, 82(3), 410-419


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