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Photo of Albert Ziegler
  • Photo of Albert Ziegler

Interview by Balazs Hornyak

B: Besides your work at the university you will be the editor in chief of High Ability Studies after Heidrun Stöger between 2015 and 2018. What are your plans? How would you like to modify the work concerning High Ability Studies (HAS)?

 

A: First of all, I think HAS is already very successful, as far as I know, according to the latest data, the second most successful in the field of gifted education. So naturally, I want it to be the number one in terms of citation impact in the field of gifted education channels, and maybe increase citation impact also in the field of special education. It is certainly not an easy task because special education is rather strong from this point of view.

The point is to continue successful work and open up to new fields such as more general psychology and more general education. In the past couple of years many publications were very specialized and very narrow in the field of giftedness and if you take a look at the reference section of the articles, you will find that there are not a high number of quotations of works outside our field.

B: How would you like to involve other experts and what are those fields that you consider to be the most interesting for HAS readers?

A: I would take some steps to invite, of course with the proper review procedure, colleagues form other fields to work together with us in our field. I think, we are limited in terms of disciplines up to now. These disciplines are mainly education and psychology. I am personally interested in reaching out first biology and sociology and I intend to build a closer working relationship with people coming from various domains such as business.

B: What about arts education?

A: As far as I remember, we haven’t had more than one or two articles on arts education in the last five years in HAS, so we were lopsided a little bit. The only way to compensate for this is to actively advertise our field for other fields and open up.

B: Who can be an author of an article?

A: Similarly to last years’ practice, I would continue open article system. Whoever wants to publish an article is welcome for the channel. Certainly, we have high standards for this. We will also have special issues of HAS. I am planning to start with a special issue, and maybe we’ll have target articles. Target articles are written by someone with provided possibilities to make commentaries for ECHA members or also for people from other fields. This is also a way to share and disseminate our ideas.

B: What do you think of modernizing talent development? What should professionals and experts do?

A: We have to modernize this on all levels. Simple and straight forward communication might help financially, we need more recognition from the society as well as from the media. We need more highly qualified people in all levels of the field. Teachers, mentors, parents organizations are equally important. What we need to do is to create a functional and active web or a network. I strongly believe that ECHA will play a major role in this on the Continent, and ECHA has already made some steps in the right directions. We also need more and more research in the field of gifted education. So we have to be also innovative in what we are doing and research is crucial in this process. In addition, we need constant evaluations in this field, many of our programs are simply not properly evaluated. We don’t have control groups in certain cases, we have a kind of „smiley” evaluation, but not that of exact facts to really see if something works or not. In my opinion, we had many good ideas, but sometimes we forget about them and make the same mistakes from time to time. Now, after a hundred years of work in the field we have to turn to new challenges and plan the new aims for the future. The most important is to create this whole network of scientists, parents, administrators, advocates and politicians.

B: How would you define the importance of networking in Budapest during the Conference of 2014 and the 3rd European Talent Day?

A: Let me say something about networking in general. In my view, we have a lot of “bubbles”. Here is an activity and there is another one. After a while, they simple perish. In order to keep them alive we need a flourishing network. A network that combines that all. In my view, this European Talent Day is a good second step (because the first steps were already done), and a necessary one concerning this network building process. I hope that during the following ECHA conference in Ljubljana, we will be able to rethink and work with the ideas we have collected in Budapest and it will be beneficial to everyone. I have already talked to the organizers, the hosts of ECHA Conference 2014 and according to the plans there will be sessions where we will just talk about these ideas, because it takes some time to consider and rethink them. In my view, the 3rd European Talent Day is an extremely useful and necessary event in Budapest.

B: Talent development and the work of the experts in our field have changed a great deal during the past 20 or 30 years. What are your experiences in your country?

A: In my country there is an extreme change. Gifted education was a taboo in our society 30 years ago. In the view of the fact that we had an unfortunate history in Germany, with the Nazi regime, elite thinking, it was not surprising that our society was a little bit sceptical about this issue. Nowadays the situation has changed; it is very clear that we need gifted education, we have to invest into talent development. There are many studies, for instance economic studies, to prove that students in countries that are excelling at the upper level, are doing much better in many regards (PISA tests, etc.) Consequently, it is more important for the economic, cultural and social success of a country, if the top 5% of the students at PISA excel above the average level. Of course, everybody is important but the upper 5% is a little bit more important. That is why we have to invest in it, and it has been clear now in Germany that things have to be changed and they are being changed indeed. New schools, programs and educational institutions have been found for the gifted and the issue has become a valid issue in our society. We got rid of our fears and ready to rethink certain ideas as many other countries do on the Continent.

Read 3357 times Last modified on Friday, 05 September 2014 09:08