Domains of potential – Vaneeza's story
This video explores how Vaneeza's high potential in the social-emotional domain was recognised and how her talent was developed.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this video may contain the images, voices and names of people who have passed away.
The High Potential and Gifted Education Policy recognises that students may demonstrate high potential in and across one or more domains - intellectual, creative, physical and social-emotional. Students with high potential in the social-emotional domain may well become our next leaders, entrepreneurs, social advocates, philanthropists, diplomats and many other things. So that our young people can achieve highly in these four domains, it is important that we create an optimal environment for talent development. With these students in mind, the Department has developed a social-emotional discussion paper and supporting illustrations of practice. These resources assist teachers and leaders to apply evidence based practical strategies so that students can succeed and thrive to make positive contributions to their school and to their community.
Exploring the social-emotional domain
High potential and gifted education
Someone who I believe has high potential in the social-emotional domain is someone who has a deep understanding of how humans think, how we feel, how we react. So that really deep understanding of human psychology and also someone who is a really good communicator and someone who is able to display a lot of empathy.
Whether you're the principal or whether you're a student just new in year seven, everyone seems to know who Vanessa is. Academically, she is brilliant, but definitely within that social-emotional domain she is a highly gifted student. Probably one of her standout qualities is how compassionate and empathetic she is. I know a lot of her peers turn to her for that support or guidance or advice. She shows an incredible level of maturity for someone of her age.
Currently I'm involved in many extracurricular activities within the school. I'm vice chairperson of the Social Justice Club. Currently I'm music leader for senior Vocal, but I also do volleyball and I help out with library monitoring. I do have really strong morals, I believe, and I think that I've always had a desire within me to be able to think about my interests and think about what social issues that I want to impact, especially because we are going to be the next generation who are going to lead the world.
Her ability to sort of articulate quite a clear ethical point of view. One example was we looked at the end of World War Two and the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima. Now, her ability to move beyond any sort of nationalistic perspective, to really understand, you know, the impact that this would have on the people living and affected by what happened.
My role within the group specifically is to be able to guide the rest of the group with the campaign that we choose. So I'm able to take the ideas that they already have, and I'm just able to prompt them to think in different ways so that that idea can be communicable to a bunch of other people.
Also, the fact that her peers have voted her into this position is recognition of her leadership qualities.
Being a library monitor, I quite like just being able to help other people in small ways. I think that a lot of the time when we think about leadership, we think about it in terms of grand gestures. But I think that what I love the most is being able to give back in a small way because it's almost more intimate, almost more personal.
The way that we have supported Vanessa on her talent development journey, we have provided that co-curricular program, extracurricular activities, where she is able to pick and choose what it is that interests her and where her passions lie.
When you're in a choir, one of the biggest things that you learn is blending your voice with everyone else. And I quite like that sense of community that comes from that. And I quite like how you don't, you think about yourself as an integral part of the puzzle, but at the end of the day, it's the finished image that is the most important. Volleyball as a sport. It's been able to grow me as a person. I think what I've learned is you can learn the fundamental skills and perfect them as much as possible, but it doesn't really matter at the end of the day if you can't work together as a team because volleyball is truly a collaborative sport.
One of the key strategies that I've used to support Vanessa in the classroom is to provide that opportunity for open ended, classroom based discussion. She is able to draw other people in to that classroom discussion. You know, the beginning of it is somewhat a little bit slow and a little bit awkward. It is Vanessa who is able to get the other students talking. One final strategy is giving her a lot of choice over the way that she approaches her learning. I really try to give her a lot of free rein. I can think of an occasion when she played the role of every leader of World War One at the breakout of the breakout of war, and had the entire class, including myself, in stitches.
I think that the school already fosters an environment where students know that they are safe to think critically and that they're safe to explore their interests and issues which inspire them. I quite like the idea of service, and I think a lot of my time at school has been spent exploring what I can do to serve others.
Find the high potential
Develop the talent
Make the difference
© State of New South Wales (Department of Education), 2022
Professional learning questions
For school leaders
Vaneeza’s school has a social justice club where students consider issues and how to communicate perspectives and solutions to others. Are there any similar programs and processes in place at your school? How are students identified to be part of these and how is the effectiveness of the program or process monitored?
Vaneeza talked of the positive impact of ‘small ways of helping’ as a strength in social-emotional development. What ‘small ways of helping’ are encouraged and celebrated at your school to facilitate talent development in all students with high potential in the social-emotional domain? Consider how this could be developed from Early Stage 1 to Stage 6.
Students with high potential in the social-emotional domain often express the desire to give service in formal roles such as mentors. What opportunities for service exist at your school and between your school and the local community? How might you enhance collaboration between community and school to enable talent development in this domain?
Vaneeza eloquently explained how each of her extra-curricular activities helped her to develop as a leader and as part of a team. How can you facilitate your students to consider a range of opportunities?
Vaneeza’s definition of social-emotional potential included the ability to understand and have empathy for how others think, feel and react. Can you think of any students who do this well? How could their talent development be facilitated in a class, grade or stage?
Identifying the perspectives of world leaders at the beginning of World War 1 was given as an example of thinking critically in the social-emotional domain. How could identifying and understanding a range of perspectives be facilitated in a subject you teach?