(Hoog)begaafd? Een exploratief onderzoek naar de betekenis van begaafdheid voor leerkrachten in het eerste leerjaar van het lager onderwijs

Tom Van Ransbeeck
Onderzoek naar hoe leerkrachten denken over hoogbegaafdheid via diepte-interviews. Verschillende opvattingen blijken aanwezig, die samenhangen met de manier waarop de leerkracht zijn/haar lespraktijk invult.

Is het een vogel, een vliegtuig of een superheld? Elke leerkracht ziet hoogbegaafdheid anders

Uit een nieuw masterproefonderzoek aan de UGent blijkt dat leerkrachten een hoogbegaafd kind in de klas niet zo gemakkelijk opmerken als weleens wordt aangenomen. Tom Van Ransbeeck, master sociologie, interviewde 40 leerkrachten uit het eerste leerjaar van het lager onderwijs over hun werkwijze om hoogbegaafdheid bij hun leerlingen op te sporen. Het antwoord op de vraag over zogenaamde “identificatie van hoogbegaafdheid” bleek zeer complex.

                                                                                                  

Opsporing van hoogbegaafdheid is steeds het resultaat van het vaststellen van kenmerken van hoogbegaafdheid bij een bepaald kind. In de literatuur over dat onderwerp bestaat heel wat onenigheid; zo hebben hoogbegaafde kinderen doorgaans een IQ boven 130, maar kan er eventueel ook sprake zijn van een leervoorsprong en karaktertrekken die op hoogbegaafdheid kunnen wijzen. Voor ouders is het vaak niet evident om te zien of hun kind hoogbegaafd is. De leerkracht, daarentegen, brengt zeer veel tijd door met de kinderen, heeft vaak ervaring in lesgeven en heeft bovendien een referentiepunt in de vorm van de rest van de klas: zo kan de leerkracht in theorie gemakkelijker een hoogbegaafd kind herkennen. De complexiteit van het fenomeen zorgt er evenwel voor dat niet elke leerkracht te allen tijde alle kenmerken in het achterhoofd kan houden. Welke factoren zorgen ervoor dat de leerkracht sommige kenmerken herkent, en andere niet?

Iedere mens wordt gevormd door hetgeen hij of zij heeft meegemaakt. Onze gezinssamenstelling, hobby’s, klasgenootjes en studiegenoten, collega’s en zelfs het bedrijf waarvoor we (eventueel later) werken, zijn allemaal (sociale) factoren die onze persoonlijkheid beïnvloeden en vormgeven. Van Ransbeeck noemt dit “sociale beïnvloedingssferen”. Uit zijn interviews blijkt dat deze van onschatbaar belang zijn voor de vorming van de rolbeleving van de leerkracht. Het levensverhaal van de leerkracht, met eigen kenmerken en bijzonderheden, bepaalt immers in grote mate hoe hij/zij het leven ziet, en dus ook hoe hij/zij in het beroep staat. Van Ransbeeck peilde in zijn interviews naar wanneer de leerkracht vond dat zijn/haar job geslaagd was. Iedereen legde in zijn/haar antwoord de nadruk op eigen aspecten.Image removed.

Elke leerkracht wil bijvoorbeeld wel dat alle leerlingen goede punten halen (of minstens “over mogen”), maar sommige leerkrachten vinden het nog belangrijker dat ze goed in hun vel zitten, of dat die éne leerling bloeit, hetzij emotioneel, hetzij intellectueel. Van Ransbeeck herleidt deze mensen tot vier grote types leerkrachten: “de generaal”, “de herder”, “de mama” (m/v) en “de sherpa”. Hij plaatst deze in een assenstelsel op basis van twee criteria: of leerkrachten vooral kijken naar de klasgroep of de individuele leerling, en of leerkrachten het vooral belangrijk vinden dat leerlingen goede punten halen of goed in hun vel zitten. Concreet: de generaal drilt de klasgroep tot schools presteren, de herder concentreert zich op groepscohesie en emoties, de mama houdt zich met het emotionele leven van individuele kindjes bezig, en de sherpa wil met een of twee leerlingen “hoge toppen scheren”.

Welke leerlingen halen deze leerkrachten er nu uit voor een test of voor speciale begeleiding, hetzij voor hoog- of zwakbegaafdheid? De leerkracht blijkt ook maar een mens: die leerling van wie hij/zij merkt dat hij/zij de aangeboden stimulans het best (of net het slechtst) opslorpt, maakt de grootste kans om eruit gelicht te worden. Een “generaal”, die de hele groep tegelijk wil drillen en zo meetrekken naar geweldige punten op school, kan bijvoorbeeld zien dat een hoogbegaafd kind uit verveling de les stoort en dus het leerproces van de rest van de klas vertraagt. Ook een sneller of trager leertempo valt op door het contrast met het tempo van de groep. Van Ransbeeck noemt dit type leerling “de deserteur”, die ook in het leger het functioneren van de groep ondermijnt. Welke leerling het best bij de doelen van deze leerkracht aansluit, hoorde Van Ransbeeck persoonlijk in een van zijn interviews: “Ja, een klein generaalke eigenlijk, hè.” Bij de overige types leerkrachten bemerkte Van Ransbeeck hetzelfde verschijnsel: de “sherpa”, die telkens maximaal een drietal klimmers naar de top begeleidt, merkt het snelst kinderen op met wie hij het best kan klimmen (“de berggeit”) en kinderen met wie hij helemaal niet kan klimmen (zoals “de vis op het droge”). De “herder” ziet volgens Van Ransbeeck het snelst “herdershonden”, die hem helpen de groep tevreden te houden, en “zwarte schapen”, die emotioneel wat uit de boot vallen. De “mama”, tot slot, die zich concentreert op het mentale welzijn van enkele kindjes, merkt de “grote broer” het snelst op, die emotioneel zeer begaafd is en ook voelsprieten lijkt te hebben voor problemen bij klasgenootjes, en het kneusje, dat geen idee heeft hoe het interacties moet onderhouden met klasgenootjes. Aldus legt de mama een grotere nadruk op het emotionele aspect van hoogbegaafdheid zoals beschreven in de literatuur; ook de herder kan emotionele begaafdheid appreciëren in de vorm van een leerling die het belang van een goede sfeer in de klas aanvoelt. Bij de sherpa en de generaal staat eerder het schoolse voorop, en dit bemerkt Van Ransbeeck ook aan de betekenis die ze geven aan hoogbegaafdheid.

De invloed van de belevingswereld en de persoonlijkheid van de leerkracht op eventuele vaststelling van hoogbegaafdheid blijkt duidelijk uit Van Ransbeecks masterproef. Het belang ervan voor bijvoorbeeld de lerarenopleiding is dan ook niet te onderschatten. In de opleiding kan bijvoorbeeld meer worden stilgestaan bij welke kenmerken van leerlingen leerkrachten in verband brengen met hoogbegaafdheid, en welke niet, en bij het ontstaan van hun opvattingen hierover. Op die manier kunnen leerkrachten een groter bewustzijn ontwikkelen over hun rol in het vaststellen van hoogbegaafdheid in de klas. Bovendien toont dit onderzoek aan dat er geen consensus is onder leerkrachten over wat hoogbegaafdheid nu eigenlijk is. Dit kan betekenen dat bepaalde vormen van hoogbegaafdheid wel of niet worden opgemerkt en ondersteund in de klas. Dit onderzoek kan onderwijsinstanties stimuleren om een meer inhoudelijk debat te voeren over de manier waarop leerkrachten hun rol en de betekenis die zij geven aan hoogbegaafdheid kunnen invullen.

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Universiteit of Hogeschool
Master of Science in de Sociologie
Publicatiejaar
2016
Promotor(en)
Prof. dr. Peter Stevens
Kernwoorden
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