Inclusion and Giftedness – Eleonoor van Gerven


Challenging Education Conference Speaker Biography

Drs. Eleonoor Van Gerven studied the history and philosophy of education (educational sciences) at Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands). She is the managing director of Slim! Educatief, a Dutch private teacher education institute at postgraduate level. Eleonoor van Gerven specialises in teacher education courses in the field of educating able learners in an inclusive environment. She has published (in Dutch) more than 15 books about educating able learners. She has developed a digital toolkit for teachers, supporting them in the provision of education for able learners, based on the concept of RtI. Over 30% of Dutch schools are currently registered users of this toolkit. Eleonoor van Gerven has over 25 years of experience in teacher education. During these 25 years more than 4000 teachers have joined her courses and masterclasses. Graduates from her programmes are leaders in gifted education in The Netherlands. Eleonoor van Gerven has won a Mensa-award for a lifelong contribution to education in The Netherlands.
The teacher education courses of Slim! Educatief are all accredited by the Dutch Teachers Register ( The advanced education courses at post-master level “Specialist in Gifted Education” (one-year course) and “Specialist in Dual and Multiple Exceptionality” (two-year course) are also accredited and registered by the Dutch Society for Higher Education (Stichting Post-HBO Nederland).

Keynote Session outline:

Inclusion in education is basically nothing more or less than ensuring that every student gets the opportunity to develop himself and to become a qualified and socialised member of the society. In daily practice in education, this means that we have to ensure that every student gets the opportunity to learn: academically, socially, emotionally and physically. We do this with respect to individual differences in abilities and talents. Although it is never easy, we can see, understand and respond meaningfully to the educational needs of most of our students.
However, when it comes to the highly able or gifted students, we might feel a bit uncomfortable. Should our attention not be focused on students who otherwise might be left behind? We do understand that sports talents or musical and dramatical arts talents have different needs in order to develop their potential. But the academically gifted, do they really have needs that we should address differently? Why should we provide special attention for the academically gifted in our regular classrooms? Are we not creating an educational elite if we open special programmes for the gifted? If they are gifted, why do they need our special attention? Is being gifted not the same as being self-supportive in education?
In this keynote, the education of gifted students will be addressed from an inclusive perspective. We discuss three perspectives on giftedness. We travel through theory departing from “The Gifted Child Paradigm” with a focus on the identification of the gifted child, via “The Talent Development Paradigm” with a focus on recognising special talents, towards “ The Differentiation Paradigm” where educational needs and not a student’s label define meaningful educational responses. Each paradigm has different consequences for the educational practice. Being able to recognise and to understand these consequences offers the opportunity for a modern approach with respect for the student and the teacher.

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