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COMPREHENSIVE TRAINING OF STUDENTS WITH EXTRAORDINARY APTITUDES WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM IN MEXICO

A. Corona, M. Cervantes, L. Sbitneva

Morelos State University (MEXICO)
The right to have access an education in Mexico is guaranteed by the Constitution (Article 3). The general education law declares (Article 41) that there should be given more attention to students with specific educational needs: both, with disabilities and extraordinary aptitudes. Thus, during the last two decades there have been achieved remarkable results through the expansion of educational coverage as well as due to significant increment of the average level of knowledge. However, there exist certain circumstances that do not permit to all children to receive the educational instructions which guarantee the desired development. Thus, there have been programmed some activities in order to detect children who demonstrate extraordinary aptitudes in mathematics: this was achieved by application of special tests suggested by the Special Committee at the Institute of Basic Education of the State of Morelos (IEBEM).

So there have been implemented some pedagogical innovations in the framework of the Morelos State special educational program for gifted children through the project called "Program of integral development in the early stages of intellectual training for students of basic level with a focus on the exact sciences”. This project has been supported by the Secretary of Public Education (SEP) in order to meet the specific educational needs of children with extraordinary aptitudes, and it was especially arranged for a group of children selected from the public schools (10 -12 years old), The principal objectives of the program arranged by our group have been to design activities which would stimulate intellectual development and creativity with an emphasis on the logical mathematical thinking. Our theoretical framework is based on the results of investigation published in the book [1]. We follow the guiding ideas of Talizina’s that there should be paid much attention to interactions with objects related to the construction of concepts.

One of the tasks for the group of instructors engaged in the project has been to achieve the constructions of diagrams using pencil and paper, which demonstrate the relations between the concepts of the theme on space polyhedral (important in the Curriculum), including characteristic of Euler, which furthermore lead to constructions of space polyhedral figures gluing colored paperboard patrons produced by children. Another theme, is concerned to combinatorial techniques related to probability concepts: here it was successful a collaborative work, where children were engaged in some game activities specially designed so that the motor and mental coordination would be developed. Also we suggest a series of experimental activities that help students to assimilate the concepts of probability through exploration and interpretations of combinatorial tree diagrams, teamwork and cards with digits, so that children could gradually develop different skills and activate cognitive resources that are necessary for problem solving. In conclusion, it has been observed that the children prefer problems with attractive visual elements: colors, drawings, figures, textures. Final evaluations demonstrated that children developed their intellectual abilities and performed the problems of Mathematical Olympiad (Kangaroo) even those of a higher school grade.

References:
[1] Talizina, N. (2001). La formación de las habilidades del pensamiento matemático. Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí: Mexico.