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Seeing possibilities : envisioning gifted education Burd, Rosemary Alexandra 2016

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SEEING	POSSIBILITIES:		ENVISIONING	GIFTED	EDUCATION	by		ROSEMARY	ALEXANDRA	BURD		B.A.	(Honours),	Trent	University,	1983	B.Ed.,	The	University	of	British	Columbia,	2002			A	THESIS	SUBMITTED	IN	PARTIAL	FULFILLMENT	OF	THE	REQUIREMENTS	FOR	THE	DEGREE	OF		MASTER	OF	ARTS		in	THE	FACULTY	OF	GRADUATE	AND	POSTDOCTORAL	STUDIES	(Cross-Faculty	Inquiry	in	Education)		THE	UNIVERSITY	OF	BRITISH	COLUMBIA	(Vancouver)		April	2016		©	Rosemary	Burd,	2016	ii		Abstract		This	thesis	investigates	how	seeing	contributes	to	understanding,	communicating,	and	conceptualizing	ideas	around	giftedness	and	gifted	education.	Drawing	on	the	work	of	Arnheim	(1969),	Greene	(1998),	Johnson	(2007),	and	McGilchrist	(2009),	I	explore	seeing	as	an	act	of	inquiry,	a	form	of	visual	thinking	that	includes	looking,	visualizing,	understanding,	and	imagining.	Based	on	my	experiences	in	gifted	education,	I	employ	seeing	as	a	research	methodology	as	I	interrogate	the	visual	aspect	of	texts	from	the	field	of	gifted	education	and	my	own	personal	narratives;	based	on	my	experiences	as	a	visual	thinker,	I	use	seeing	as	a	visual	practice	of	working	through	and	communicating	ideas.	In	this	way,	I	use	both	words	and	images	within	this	thesis	to	explore	and	convey	ideas	around	concepts	of	giftedness,	equity	in	gifted	education,	identification	practices,	and	the	role	of	the	visual	in	developing	novel	ideas	and	insights.	I	conclude	that	in	order	to	see	more	possibilities	for	gifted	education,	the	field	of	gifted	education	must	embrace	a	greater	role	for	visual	thinking.		iii		Preface		This	thesis	is	original,	unpublished,	independent	work	by	the	author,	R.	Burd.		Permission	has	been	granted	by	the	publisher	to	reproduce	Figures	1,	2,	3	and	6	within	this	thesis.			iv		Table	of	Contents		Abstract	...................................................................................................................................	ii	Preface	...................................................................................................................................	iii	Table	of	Contents	...................................................................................................................	iv	List	of	Figures	..........................................................................................................................	v	Acknowledgements	...............................................................................................................	vii	Chapter	1:	Seeing………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………1		 Introduction...………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1		 A	note	about	formatting…………………………………………………………………………………………………4														Positioning:	Seeing	myself………………………………………………………………………………………………6		 Understandings:	Seeing	the	visual………………………………………………………………………………….9		 Seeing	as	a	research	methodology…………………………………………………………………………….…10	Chapter	2:	Looking	at	giftedness…………………………………………………………………………………………….17	A	chronology	of	significant	theories	of	giftedness	and	intelligence..........................…….18		 How	giftedness	is	seen	in	a	local	context……………………………………………………………………..21		 They	are	beginning	to	see	us:	Giftedness	and	equity..………………………………………………….23		 Looking	at	gifted	education	research……………………………………………………………………………27	Chapter	3:	Looking	for	giftedness	...............................................................................................	34	Kinds	of	attention......................................................................................................……..34		 Paying	attention	to	giftedness……………………………………………………………………………………..37	v			 Paying	attention	to	identification..……….………………………………………………………………..…….39	Chapter	4:	Visualizing	..................................................................................................................	50	Visualizing	information:	The	power	of	diagrams.......................................................……..52		 Visualization,	metaphor,	and	metacognition..………………..…………………………………………….58	Chapter	5:	Understanding,	or	"Using	vision	to	think"	................................................................	65	Chapter	6:	Imagining	....................................................................................................................	89	Looking	at	giftedness:	'Being	seen'	is	critical	to	an	equitable	construct	of	giftedness..........................……………………………………………………………………………………………91	Looking	for	giftedness:	The	search	for	giftedness	has	been	constrained	by	narrowly	focused	attention……………………………………………………………………………………………….………..92	Visualizing:	The	representation	of	ideas	in	diagrams	and	visual	metaphors	promotes	understanding..…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….93	Using	vision	to	think:	Visual	thinking	plays	a	significant	role	in	the	development	of	novel	ideas	and	the	emergence	of	insight………………………………………………………………………………93	Seeing	possibilities…………………………………………………………………………………………….…………94	References	...................................................................................................................................	96		vi		List	of	Figures			Figure	1		Metaphorical	concept	map……………………………………………………………………………………….28	Figure	2		Concept	maps….………………………………………………………………………………………………..........29	Figure	3		Metaphorical	concept	maps……………………………………………………………………………………...30	Figure	4		Concept	maps	illustrating	theoretical	or	programmatic	model………………………………….30	Figure	5		Concept	maps	illustrating	theoretical	or	programmatic	model………………………………….30	Figure	6		Metaphorical	concept	map………………………………………………………………………………………..31		Figure	7	Photocollage………………………………………………………………………………………………………………75						vii		Acknowledgements	I	am	grateful	to	many	people	and	wish	to	thank:		My	thesis	supervisor,	Dr.	Marion	Porath,	whose	unwavering	support	and	encouragement	allowed	me	to	realize	my	own	possibilities	within	the	academy;	Dr.	Rita	Irwin,	for	her	insightful	questions	and	comments;	Dr.	Carl	Leggo,	for	beginning	and	ending	this	journey	with	me;	and	others	within	the	Faculty	of	Education	who	also	influenced	my	work	–	Dr.	Susan	Gerofsky,	Dr.	Karen	Meyer,	Dr.	Patricia	O’Riley,	and	Dr.	Claudia	Ruitenberg;	My	critical	friends,	Nitya	Iyer,	Diane	Major,	Mary	Munro,	and	Merrie-Ellen	Wilcox,	for	your	generous	conversations	and	thoughtful	suggestions;		Ofira	and	Oren	Roll,	my	collaborators	and	catalysts,	for	your	gift	of	orange;	My	family,	whose	love	sustained	me:	my	mum,	Penelope	Burd,	who	cheered	me	on,	and	now	can	finally	stop	worrying;	Hannah	and	Alys	MacKenzie,	who	are	my	pride	and	joy;	and	finally,	Gordon,	who	supported	me	in	every	way.	You	handed	me	a	book	and	enabled	me	to	write	the	thesis	I	had	to	write.					 1 Chapter	1: Seeing				 	 Our	capacity	to	see	the	world	in	which	we	live	shapes	the	ways	we	think			 	 about	that	world.		 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 (Eisner,	1993a,	p.	66)		Introduction		The	search	for	possibilities	has	guided	my	MA	studies	from	the	beginning.	When	I	applied	to	the	Centre	for	Cross-Faculty	Inquiry	in	Education,	I	was	a	teacher	in	an	elementary	gifted	program.	I	was	concerned	by	what	I	saw	in	my	classroom:	“Students	who	just	want	the	right	answer,	who	prefer	the	confines	of	a	checklist	to	the	possibilities	of	a	blank	page”	(Burd,	2009,	unpaginated).	My	objective	then	was	to	“expand	the	space	of	the	possible”	(Davis,	Sumara	&	Luce-Kapler,	2000,	p.	20)	for	my	students,	and	for	myself	as	a	teacher.	During	my	studies,	my	own	art	and	writing	practice	evolved	through	my	coursework	in	a/r/tography,	embodied	cognition,	writing	and	philosophy,	and	I	saw	how	the	visual	and	physical	acts	of	painting	and	sketchnoting1	contributed	to	my	own	insights.	Seeing,	thinking	and	understanding	became	inextricably	entwined,	and	my	sense	of	the	possible	expanded.	Moving	into	the	role	of	gifted	education	consultant	in	our	large,	urban	school	district,	a	major	part	of	my	job	was	articulating	ideas	and	issues	around	advanced	ability	and	the	needs	of	gifted	learners	to	my	district	colleagues,	classroom	and	resource	teachers,	administrators,	parents	and	students.	Visual	aids,	from	presentation	slides	and	pie	charts	to	sketches	and	hand	gestures	helped	me	communicate,	and	helped	others	grasp,	potential	strengths	and	areas	for	growth,	and	possibilities	for	taking	learning	further.		Now	I	am	back	in	the	classroom,	trying	to	walk	my	consultant	talk	of	meeting	the	diverse	learning	needs	of	students	through	a	differentiated,	inquiry-based	program,	and	we	are	all																																																							1	This	is	the	term	that	Rohde	(2013)	uses	for	his	form	of	visual	notetaking.		 2 struggling.	Many	of	my	students,	whether	they	are	gifted	or	not,	don’t	care	about	exploring	the	possibilities	of	where	they	can	take	their	learning	–	they	still	just	want	the	right	answer,	still	prefer	a	checklist	to	more	open-ended	inquiry.	As	for	me,	figuring	out	where	each	student	needs	to	go	next	is	a	daunting	challenge.	I	am	happy	to	leave	my	consultant	role	behind	–	I	don’t	care	about	the	‘gifted’	label,	and	was	increasingly	uncomfortable	marking	out	the	boundary	between	‘gifted’	or	‘not’	and	so	categorizing	a	child’s	potential.	But	I	do	care	deeply	about	understanding	and	meeting	the	needs	of	my	students,	especially	those	advanced	learners	for	whom,	I	know,	“the	expectations	of	[their]	grade	and	age	group”	(BC	Ministry	of	Education,	2009,	p.	32)	are	not	a	stretch,	and	simply	exceeding	those	expectations	is	not	enough.	The	challenge	is	seeing	possibilities	–	for	my	students	and	for	myself	–	that	will	stretch	us	further.	But	in	order	to	see	possibilities,	we	need	to	first	understand	where	we	are,	and	who	we	are,	as	learners.	I	believe	the	visual2	can	help.		This	thesis	is	about	seeing.	It	is	about	the	shifts	in	perception	that	allow	us	to	see	possibilities.	At	its	heart	are	questions	about	meaning-making:	In	what	ways	does	the	visual	contribute	to	understanding?	How	do	observations	lead	to	insights?	How	do	visual	practices	–	like	sketching,	painting,	doodling,	diagramming	–	relate	to	the	thinking	process?	These	questions	matter	to	me,	and	it	appears	that	I	am	not	alone	in	thinking	that	the	visual	is	important.	Researchers	and	theorists	since	Arnheim	(1969)	have	argued	that	visual	perception	is	foundational	to	thinking	and	meaning-making	(Eisner,	1993a,	1993b;	Johnson,	2007;	McGilchrist,	2009;	G.	Sullivan,	2010).	In	the	past	fifteen	years,	a	flood	of	data	has	spurred	the	rapid	expansion	of	information	visualization	and	infographics	(Lima,	2011);	graphic	novels	have	become	mainstream	(MacDonald,	2013;	Medley,	2015);	graphic	facilitation	and	visual	recording	have	become	standard	business	tools	(Brown,	2011;	Roam,	2009;	Rohde,	2013).	Researchers	from	the	sciences	and	social	sciences	have	championed	a	role	for	the	visual	in	academic	writing	in	response	to	what	they	see	as	an	increasingly	visually	oriented	culture	(Chaplin,	2006;	Gooding,																																																							2	By	the	visual,	I	mean	things	that	are	valued	for	their	visual	properties,	such	as	colour,	form	and	line.	See	“Understandings.”		 3 2004;	Sadokierski,	2010).	In	education,	visual	thinking,	visible	learning,	visual	methodologies	are	all	part	of	the	lexicon.	But	where	is	the	visual	in	gifted	education?		Gifted	education	as	a	field	is	fractured	and	contested	(Ambrose,	VanTassel-Baska,	Coleman	&	Cross	2010;	Dai	et	al.,	2011),	and	it	may	be	because	of	this	that	it	feels	to	me	that	there	is	an	underlying	insecurity	in	the	tone	of	much	of	the	research,	as	though	the	reputation	of	the	field	itself	is	at	stake	with	each	new	study	presented.	Much	of	the	discussion	about	the	state	of	the	research	centres	on	the	replicability,	reliability	or	generalizability	of	studies	as	proof	of	their	scientific	rigour,	so	that	while	the	lack	of	the	practitioner	voice	in	research	may	be	bemoaned	(Coleman	et	al.,	2007),	it	is	the	scientific	method	that	is	expected,	and	teacher-researchers	are	cautioned	to	be	more	data-driven	and	rigorously	experimental	in	their	investigations	(Friedman-Nimz	et	al.,	2005).	Journals	within	the	field	are	heavily	biased	toward	the	quantitative	(Coleman	et	al.,	2007;	Friedman-Nimz	et	al.,	2005;	Dai	et	al.,	2011),	with	articles	that	are	dense	with	statistical	analysis,	and	largely	empty	of	visual	content	other	than	tables	or	graphs	of	data3.	Almost	20	years	ago,	Eisner	stated	with	confidence,	“The	dominance	of	quantification	and	correlation	and	experimental	research	methods	has	given	way	to	what	might	be	regarded	as	more	interpretative	approaches	to	the	study	of	educational	practice”	(Suppe,	Eisner,	Stanley,	&	Greene	1998,	p.	34),	yet	as	far	as	I	can	see,	quantification	and	correlation	are	still	seen	as	the	standards	for	research	in	gifted	education	today.	I	am	a	gifted	education	practitioner.	I	am	a	teacher-researcher.	I	am	also	a	visual	thinker,	a	sketcher,	a	synthesizer.	I	do	not	see	myself	reflected	in	gifted	education	journals.	This	suggests	to	me	that	an	important	way	of	thinking	and	understanding	is	missing.	How	is	giftedness	understood,	and	misunderstood,	when	the	visual	is	absent	or	sidelined?	How	can	the	visual	spark	insights	for	students,	teachers	and	researchers	and	extend	their	understandings?	How	can	visual	practices	extend	the	thinking	process,	and	help	advanced	learners,	their	teachers	and	gifted	education	researchers	take	their	thinking	further?																																																									3	See	the	section	“Looking	at	Gifted	Education	Research.”		 4 This	thesis	is	about	the	visual.	It	is	an	investigation	of	how	the	visual	contributes	to	understanding,	communicating,	and	conceptualizing	ideas	around	giftedness.	My	study	begins	by	considering	my	own	positionality,	and	what	‘seeing’	means	to	me.	In	Chapter	2,	I	look	at	theories	of	giftedness,	giftedness	in	a	local	context,	and	gifted	education	research;	in	Chapter	3,	I	explore	the	kinds	of	attention	that	shape	the	search	for	giftedness.	Chapter	4	focuses	on	visualization,	and	how	diagrams	and	visual	metaphors	communicate	information	and	promote	understanding.	I	focus	more	acutely	on	the	process	of	visual	understanding	in	Chapter	5,	exploring	first	what	others	perceive	as	the	contribution	of	visual	thinking	to	innovations	in	science	and	thought.	Then,	in	a	reflective	and	visual	turn,	I	deconstruct	my	own	process	of	visual	thinking	as	I	developed	a	reconceptualization	of	a	century	old,	yet	persistent	visual	representation	of	the	distribution	of	intelligence	–	the	bell	curve.	My	questions	about	the	role	of	the	visual	in	gifted	education	are	rooted	in	my	own	experience	as	a	teacher,	a	learner	and	a	researcher,	and	my	data	are	the	records	of	those	experiences,	from	written	journal	entries	to	sketchnotes4,	diagrams,	illustrations	and	paintings.	That	data	will	not	submit	to	statistical	analysis,	yet	I	believe	it	can	provide	the	grounding	for	conceptual	investigations	into	gifted	education.	In	imagining	possibilities	of	gifted	education,	I	believe	the	visual	can	help.	 A	note	about	formatting		Stylish	academics	do	not	write	“outside	the	box”	merely	for	the	sake	of	showing	off	their	intellectual	audacity	and	skill.	Their	aim	is	to	communicate	ideas	and	arguments	to	readers	in	the	most	effective	and	enaging	way		possible	–	even	when	doing	so	means	defying	disciplinary	norms.			 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 (Sword,	2012,	p.	169)		This	document	transgresses	one	of	the	structural	guidelines	for	a	thesis	set	forward	by	the	Faculty	of	Graduate	and	Postdoctoral	Studies,	UBC:	captioning	and	listing	as	a	‘figure’	or	‘illustration’	any	visual	that	is	included	in	the	thesis.	Here	is	my	rationale	for	this	transgression:																																																								4	Rohde	(2012)	pioneered	the	term	‘sketchnotes’	to	describe	his	style	of	visual	note-taking.			 5 The	foundational	premise	of	this	thesis	is	that	the	visual	is	integral	to	constructing	and	communicating	ideas.	To	put	forward	such	a	thesis,	and	yet	constrain	the	role	of	the	visual	in	order	to	meet	conventions	would	be	counter	intuitive	(Sadokierski,	2010).	Traditionally,	images	are	used	in	a	thesis	to	illustrate	a	point	otherwise	articulated	in	words,	and	are	captioned	as	‘figures’	or	‘illustrations’	(Chaplin,	2006).	Words	and	visual	devices	are	kept	separate,	with	the	written	word	predominant	and	the	visual	in	a	supporting	role	(Chaplin,	2006;	Marshall,	2007;	Sadokierski,	2010).	Within	this	thesis,	visuals	–	including	diagrams,	visual	notes,	and	original	artwork	–	are	an	equal	and	constituent	part	of	the	dialogue,	and	as	such	are	integrated	seamlessly	within	the	document.		The	majority	of	the	visuals	integrated	throughout	this	text	are	my	original	work.	These	are	not	captioned	in	any	way.	Images	that	I	reference	from	other	sources	have	been	listed	and	captioned	as	figures.		 	 6 Positioning:	Seeing	myself					 7 November	20125	1969	I	am	a	ten-year-old	girl	with	long	dark	hair	and	skinny	tortoiseshell	glasses.	When	I	read	fiction,	mostly	historical,	I	fall	into	books	so	deeply	that	I	feel	myself	climbing	back	out	of	stories	when	I	am	called	to	dinner:	as	my	eyes	raise	up	from	the	page,	I	can	feel	my	myself	re-forming	from	the	inside,	my	body	recalibrating	to	1969	from	whichever	century	I	was	inhabiting.	At	school,	I	am	in	an	enriched	class	and	my	grade	5	teacher	feeds	my	curiosity	with	a	curriculum	that	ranges	from	Greek	and	Roman	history	to	Early	English	rounds	and	maypole	dances.	We	play	Romans	and	Etruscans	at	lunch,	or	Horses,	depending	on	the	day,	and	whether	the	boys	are	playing.			1999	I	have	a	ten-year-old	daughter	with	long	blonde	hair	who	devours	books,	mostly	fantasy,	especially	the	medieval/fantasy	hybrid	of	Tamora	Pierce	and	others	who	weave	magic,	and	horses,	through	their	stories	of	young	heroines.	Always	a	book	in	her	hand,	walking	to	school,	making	a	snack,	even	brushing	her	teeth	–	she	is	always	reading,	totally	absorbed	by	another	world	that	gives	her	more	excitement,	more	enjoyment,	more	companionship	than	her	regular	school	day.	At	recess	and	lunch	she	reads,	or	walks	and	talks	with	the	supervision	aide	patrolling	the	playground,	and	she	comes	home	each	day	full	of	the	aphorisms	and	poetry	her	teacher	has	shared	in	her	grade	four/five	split	class,	but	rarely	speaks	of	her	classmates.	My	daughter	is	not	unhappy,	yet	I	ache	for	her	and	her	isolation.		Acceleration	is	not	standard	practice	within	our	board,	and	there	are	a	very	limited	number	of	pull-out	enrichment	programs	offered	to	elementary	school	students	each	year.	At	this	point,	my	daughter	has	never	been	to	a	Challenge	Centre	program,	nor	has	the	school	recommended	her	for	the	district	full-time	gifted	class.			2012	My	brother	calls	to	update	me	on	my	nine-year-old	niece.	After	hearing	about	M’s	Medusa	‘Trick	or	Treat’	Halloween	costume,	which	she	planned	in	exacting	detail	in	September,	and	her	Rubik’s	Cube	‘school’	Halloween	costume,	which	he	has	had	to	help	execute	in	order	to	meet	her																																																							5	Throughout	this	thesis,	excerpts	from	my	personal	journals	appear	in	italics			 8 standards,	he	tells	me	about	their	current	struggle	to	understand	her	learning	needs.	In	spite	of	protestations	from	the	school	principal,	for	whom	my	niece’s	mediocre	report	cards	are	proof	of	her	average	intelligence,	my	brother	and	sister-in-law	have	met	with	a	psychologist	to	have	M	assessed.	After	cautioning	them	that	many	highly	able	students	thrive	in	the	regular	system,	when	the	psychologist	reports	back	after	completing	my	niece’s	assessment,	she	advises	them	that	M	needs	the	challenge	of	higher	level	critical	thinking,	and	that	they	had	better	apply	for	her	to	attend	a	full-time	gifted	program.		My	interest	in	gifted	education	is	personal,	and	conflicted.	I	attended	a	gifted	program	in	elementary	school,	and	advocated	for	my	daughter	and	my	niece	to	be	considered	for	programs	during	their	elementary	school	years.	Yet	while	I	am	thankful	for	the	safe	places	these	programs	gave	me,	my	daughter,	and	my	niece	to	be	ourselves,	I	am	not	convinced	that	these	programs	truly	extended	our	capabilities,	or	gave	us	the	skills	or	awareness	to	stretch	ourselves	further.	I	taught	in	our	district’s	full-time	gifted	program,	taking	over	from	the	teacher	who	had	taught	my	daughter,	and	went	on	to	become	our	district’s	gifted	education	consultant	and	an	executive	member	of	my	teacher	union’s	provincial	specialist	association	for	gifted	education.	Yet	I	am	not	convinced	now	that	pull-out	programs	or	full-time	programs	are	desirable	or	defensible.	I	have	tested	hundreds	of	students,	screened	thousands	of	applications	for	programs,	and	spoken	with	countless	teachers,	parents	and	administrators.	Yet	I	find	the	term	‘gifted’	objectionable,	the	identification	of	giftedness	problematic,	and	the	designation	‘Gifted’	useless.		And	yet,	I	believe	whole-heartedly	in	the	intent	of	gifted	education.	Like	James	Borland	(2009),	I	could	support	gifted	education	without	gifted	children.	As	he	describes	it,	the	underlying	principle	of	gifted	education	is	applicable	to	all	education:		All	students	are	equal	in	their	right	to	and	need	for	an	appropriate	education….	Educators	must,	to	be	effective	and	ethical,	provide	educational	experiences	that	reflect	the	inescapable	fact	of	individual	differences	in	how	and	how	well	school	students	learn	at	a	given	time	in	a	given	subject.	(p.	1)			 9 I	also	believe,	as	Borland	does,	that	high-ability	or	high-achieving	students	suffer	when	curriculum	and	instruction	are	not	differentiated,	and	that	it	is	a	mistake	to	think	that	these	students	will	succeed	on	their	own,	and	wrong	to	think	that	meeting	their	needs	is	elitist.			And	yet,	I	am	also	conscious	of	the	students	whose	abilities	we	do	not	see,	whose	learning	at	any	given	time	is	hampered	by	the	complex	interaction	of	social,	emotional,	cultural,	and	socio-political	factors.	I	believe	our	perception	of	ability	is	biased	towards	highly	verbal,	extroverted	students	who	are	full	of	facts	and	dying	to	share	them	with	whoever	will	listen.	In	my	current	school,	located	on	traditional	Musqueam	territory,	within	a	highly	transient	community	of	predominately	English	Language	Learners,	I	believe	that	the	abilities	of	the	quiet,	the	introverted,	the	non-verbal,	the	marginalized,	and	the	newcomers	are	too	often	invisible.			And	yet,	and	yet….			Fractured,	porous,	and	contested	–	these	words	have	been	used	to	describe	the	field	of	gifted	education	(Ambrose	et	al.,	2010),	but	they	could	just	as	easily	describe	my	own	attitudes	and	beliefs.	There	is	tension	within	this	multiplicity	of	views.	They	pull	at	and	rub	against	each	other,	they	shift	and	overlap,	they	will	not	be	reconciled.				Understandings:	Seeing	the	visual		By	visual,	I	follow	the	Concise	Oxford	Dictionary:	“of,	concerned	with	or	used	in	seeing…	from	Latin	visus	‘sight’,	from	videre	‘see’”	(1995,	p.	1567).		By	the	visual,	I	mean	those	things	that	are	valued	for	their	visual	properties,	such	as	colour,	form	and	line.	Here	I	follow	Heath	(2000)	and	her	understanding	of	the	literate	eye	and	its	neurodynamic	“interplay	between	visual	images	and	symbolic	interpretation	for	thinking	and	expressing	meaning”	(p.	122).		 10 By	visuals,	I	mean	a	variety	of	created	visual	forms,	often	two-dimensional	–	blurring	images	(resonant	with	imagination),	representations	(re-presenting	a	likeness	of	a	thing),	graphics	(design	as	in:	graph,	a	diagram;	Greek	graphē,	writing),	and	gestures	(an	embodied	expression	of	thought	or	feeling).	By	visualization,	I	mean	the	act	of	making	some	thing	(tangible	or	intangible)	visible	to	one’s	eye,	or	mind’s	eye.	Here	I	align	with	Gooding’s	(2004)	understanding	of	visualization	as	“making	and	manipulating	images	that	convey	novel	phenomena,	ideas	and	meanings”	(p.	278),	but	insist	that	the	notion	of	‘making’	allows	for	the	emergence	of	an	image	(tangible	or	intangible)	through	a	physical	or	mental	act.		By	visual	thinking,	I	mean	thinking	that	involves	visual	perceptions:	thinking	in	images,	manipulating	images	mentally,	and	holistic	rather	than	sequential	thinking	(Kalbfleisch	&	Gillmarten,	2013).	I	look	to	Eisner	(1993b)	who	speaks	of	visual	learning	in	a	parallel	way:	it	is	our	“capacity	to	construe	meaning	from	the	visual	forms	around	us.	It	also	pertains	to	our	capacity	to	create	visual	forms	that	will	carry	the	meanings	we	intend	forward”	(p.	81).		I	have	wrestled	with	proposing	a	continuum	for	the	visual/visuals/visualization	that	pushes	the	pragmatic	to	one	end,	and	the	aesthetic	to	the	other,	yet	I	resist	this	dichotomy.	Such	a	polarity	too	easily	generalizes	to	include	other	equally	contentious	dichotomies,	such	as	representational:abstract;	scientific:artistic.	Yet	I	acknowledge	that	in	my	use	of	the	visual,	I	privilege	an	aesthetic	sensibility,	hence	my	judgement	that	the	visual	is	not	readily	visible	in	gifted	education.			Seeing	as	a	research	methodology		How	to	see?	Where	to	see	from?	What	limits	to	vision?	What	to	see	for?		 	 	 	 	 	 	 (Haraway,	2002,	p.	681)		I	have	been	living	this	inquiry	now	for	years.	I	have	been	reading	and	thinking,	painting	and	writing	and	drawing,	talking	and	listening.	My	questions	have	started	and	stuttered,	they	have		 11 circled	and	turned	and	returned	in	an	ongoing,	discursive,	recursive	dialogue.	Through	all	of	this,	I	have	been	looking.	And	I	have	been	stopped.		How	to	see?		Where	to	see	from?		What	limits	to	vision?		What	to	see	for?		I	have	not	known	how	to	proceed.	I	kept	looking,	but	I	could	not	recognize	my	methodology.		May	14,	2015		I	look	in	the	mirror	and	a	middle-aged	white	woman	stares	back	at	me.		“So?	Nothing?”	I	watch	her	lips	repeating	my	words.	“You,	lady,	are	no	help.	I	am	trying	to	be	recursive	and	reflexive	here.”	She	shrugs,	and	looks	away.	She	has	no	theory	to	offer,	no	methodology	to	suggest.	“What	are	you	looking	at?	The	door?”	I	groan.	“OK.	OK.	I’ll	go	and	look	again.	Be	right	back.”	Down	the	hall,	my	books,	papers,	and	sketchbooks	are	scattered	across	the	bed.	My	paintings	are	stacked	against	the	wall,	a	square	wooden	board,	untouched,	still	wrapped	in	plastic,	propped	beside	them.	A	large	piece	of	white	paper	is	taped	to	a	piece	of	plywood	leaning	against	the	bookshelf.	The	paper	is	scrawled	with	notes	and	quotes;	there	are	index	cards	grouped	by	colour	taped	to	different	quadrants.		My	thesis.	“OK.	It’s	still	there.	Hasn’t	moved.”	She	doesn’t	laugh.	(I	don’t	think	she	has	much	of	a	sense	of	humour.	She	looks	tired.)	“I	could	go	with	hermeneutics.	Gadamer.	You	like	Gadamer.	Or	phenomenology.	We’ve	talked	those	over	–	I	could	work	with	one	of	them.	But	I’m	just	not	sure....”	She	sighs.	So	do	I.	“I	want	this	to	be	me	writing.	I	don’t	want	to	borrow	or	appropriate	or	misappropriate.	I	cringe	when	I	read	bell	hooks6,	because	it	could	be	me	she	is	talking	about.	Listen	to	this:	Often	individuals	who	employ	certain	terms	freely	–	terms	like	“theory”	or	“feminism”	–	are	not	necessarily	practitioners	whose	habits	of	being	and	living	most	embody	the																																																							6	hooks,	1994,	p.	62		 12 action….	Indeed	the	privileged	act	of	naming	often	affords	those	in	power	access	to	modes	of	communication	and	enables	them	to	project	an	interpretation,	a	definition,	a	description	of	their	work	and	actions,	that	may	not	be	accurate,	that	may	obscure	what	is	really	taking	place.		“I	know	you	agree	with	me	on	this,	I	see	you	nodding.	I	am	a	middle-aged,	middle-class,	middle-school-teaching,	heterosexual	white	woman	–	what	theory	do	I	embody?”	She	doesn’t	answer.	“I	was	revisiting	a/r/tography,	and	rereading	Stephanie	Springgay7.	She	describes	her	own	identity	as	‘…leaky,	porous,	performed,	and	partial…’	and	that	she	struggles	with	labels.	She	struggles	with	labels?	She	sounds	so	sure	of	herself!	I	struggle	with	labels!	I	am	a	teacher	who	doubts	her	own	practice,	an	art-maker	who	hesitates	to	proclaim	herself	an	‘artist’,	a	researcher/student	in	the	academy	who	is	struggling	to	find	an	academic	voice	that	rings	true.	I	am	‘partial’,	I	am	‘almost’.”	She	returns	my	tirade	with	a	calm	gaze.		“I	just	need	somewhere	to	begin.”	(Did	she	raise	her	eyebrow?	I’m	sure	she	raised	her	eyebrow.)	“You’re	right	–	I	have	begun.	I’ve	been	at	this	for	almost	six	years…	It	just	keeps	changing,	shifting.	Everything	keeps	changing.”	I	watch	as	she	thinks	this	over.	“Yes,	that’s	life.	So?”		“Just	do	it?	That’s	your	answer?	Umberto	Eco8	was	a	bit	more	eloquent:	“You	must	write	a	thesis	you	are	able	to	write.”	Now	that’s	easy!”	She	starts	to	protest,	but	I	cut	her	off:	“I	was	joking.	You	take	things	so	literally.	Any	other	bright	ideas?”	She	looks	thoughtful.	“Look	for	something	about	looking?	And	being	stuck,	not	knowing	how	to	proceed?	You	are	right	–	that	describes	my	current	situation.	I’ll	see	what	comes	up.”		Some	time	later…	“OK	–	Antoinette	Oberg,	Paying	Attention	and	Not	Knowing9.	You’ll	like	this.	As	a	graduate	supervisor,	Oberg	noticed	that	students	often	got	stuck	when	faced	with	prescriptive	requirements	around	method	or	literature	reviews.	Sound	familiar?”	We	nod	in	sync	with	each	other.	“So	Oberg	listened	thoughtfully,	paying	close	attention	to	how	the	students	described	their																																																							7	Springgay,	2004,	p.	71		8	Eco,	2015,	p.	8	9	Oberg,	2003		 13 struggles	….”	I	watch	her	face	carefully,	and	I	can	see	that	she	is	thinking,	searching	to	make	a	connection.	“Yes,	that	does	sound	like	watchful	listening,	just	like	Lorna	Williams10	describes.	Oberg	watched	and	listened	as	the	students	talked	about	their	work,	and	noticed	patterns	in	their	inquiry	that	were	present	elsewhere	in	their	lives.	That	became	the	methodology.”	We	looked	at	each	other	and	smiled.		“So	all	I	have	to	do	is	keep	looking	and	drawing…	and	maybe	talking	to	myself.”	She	laughs	out	loud,	and	so	do	I.		How,	then,	to	see?	In	the	realm	of	educational	research,	qualitative	researchers	call	for	learning	about	phenomena	by	giving	them	sustained	attention.	What	is	the	nature	of	the	researcher’s	attention?	How	do	we	learn	to	attend	with	keen	eyes	and	fine	sensibilities?	(A.	Sullivan,	2000,	p.	211)		What	is	the	nature	of	my	attention?	How	do	I	understand	seeing?				I	map	out	the	word	and	the	meanings	and	connections	that	resonate	with	me:		 																																																							10	Sanford,	Williams,	Hopper	and	McGregor,	2012:	“Watchful	listening,	an	openness	to	listening	beyond	our	own	personal	thoughts	and	assumptions,	always	being	aware	and	conscious	of	our	surroundings	as	we	focus	on	the	task	at	hand”	(p.	24)			 14 	 15 Seeing	is	not	merely	recognition,	attaching	a	label	to	an	object	(Eisner,	2009).	Seeing	goes	beyond	simply	taking	in	information	to	thinking	about	what	is	seen.	Seeing	is	a	fully	embodied	cognitive	process	that	encompasses	“[a]ctive	exploration,	selection,	grasping	of	essentials,	simplification,	abstraction,	analysis	and	synthesis,	completion,	correction,	comparison,	problem	solving…combining,	separating,	putting	in	context”	(Arnheim,	1969,p.	13).	Seeing	entails	the	activation	of	curiosity	and	the	engagement	of	wonder.	Seeing	is	an	act	of	inquiry:	in	looking,	visualizing,	understanding,	and	imagining,	seeing	opens	up	possibilities.			Seeing	is	looking.	It	is	noticing,	observing,	attending.	Seeing	means	learning	“how	to	select	and	focus”	(Eisner,	1993b,	p.	84),	attending	to	“the	complexities	of	surface	detail	and	also…to	what	lies	beneath	those	surfaces”	(A.	Sullivan,	2000,	p.	221).	I	understand	seeing	as	a	compassionate,	empathic	act	(McGilchrist,	2009;	New,	2005).	It	is	being	mindful,	attentive,	tender;	it	is	being	present	and	savouring	what	is	seen	(Eisner,	2009;	Greene,	2001).			Seeing	is	visualizing.	It	is	constructing,	testing,	contesting.	It	is	“our	ability	to	map	interactions,	experiences	and	cognitive	operations	across	concepts	to	form	images”	(Heath,	2000,	p.	124).	It	involves	“making	and	manipulating	images	that	convey	novel	phenomena,	ideas	and	meanings”	(Gooding,	2004,	p.	278).	It	involves	creating	metaphors	“not	just	as	a	reflection	of	what	has	been…but	the	means	whereby	the	truly	new…may	come	about”	(McGilchrist,	2009,	p.	179).			Seeing	is	understanding.	Seeing	is	the	“intensive	back-and-forth	conversation”	of	Gadamer’s	(2006)	hermeneutics	(p.	71).	“Visual	perception	is,	at	its	heart,	a	form	of	thinking”	(Johnson,	2007,	p.	228).	Concepts	‘take	shape’	because	the	very	perception	of	shape	marks	the	beginnings	of	concept	formation	(Arnheim,	1969).	I	share	with	Johnson	his	view	that	art	is	“a	way	of	worldmaking”	(p.	210),	and	his	alignment	with	Dewey	in	comprehending	aesthetics	as	not	just	about	art	and	beauty,	but	rather	about	“how	human	beings	experience	and	make	meaning”	(p.	212).					 16 Where,	then,	to	see	from?		I	see	from	a	biological,	ecological,	phenomenological,	social,	cultural	body	–	a	complex,	interactive,	lived	body-mind	“from	which	[the/my]	world	and	experience	flows”	(Johnson,	2007,	p.	275).	I	see	from	a	“complex,	contradictory,	structuring	and	restructuring	body”	and	its	situated,	partial	perspective	(Haraway,	2002,	p.	683).	I	see	from	the	fractured,	porous,	contested	space	of	gifted	education.	I	see	from	the	transdisciplinary	space	of	a	consultant-gatekeeper/teacher-researcher/visual	thinker.		What,	then,	limits	vision?	“Vision	is	always	from	a	specific	point	of	view,	filtered	by	a	specific	consciousness”	(A.	Sullivan,	2000,	p.	221).	My	vision	is	limited	by	my	expectations	and	experiences,	my	privileges,	my	presuppositions,	and	my	prejudices.	“Who	gets	blinkered?	Who	wears	blinkers?”	(Haraway,	2002,	p.	682).	My	vision	is	limited	by	the	role	I	inhabit,	and	the	stance	that	I	take.	My	vision	is	limited	by	my	positionality,	the	orientation	of	my	body,	and	my	movement	through	the	world.	My	vision	is	limited	by	the	nature	of	my	attention,	and	by	the	direction	of	my	gaze.			What,	then,	to	see	for?		Seeing	is	imagining.	I	see	to	imagine	that	things	could	be	otherwise.	I	see	to	theorize,	reaching	back	to	that	word’s	roots	in	ancient	Greece,	where	“theory”	meant	“‘viewing’,	a	‘sight’,	a	‘spectacle’”	(Smith,	2008,	p.	261).	I	see	not	to	simply	confirm	my	expectations,	but	rather	to	surprise	myself	(Gadamer,	1992).	I	see	to	problematize,	to	make	the	familiar	strange,	and	the	strange	familiar.	I	see	to	understand	anew,	to	search	out	openings,	and	to	expand	possibilities.		 17 Chapter	2: Looking	at	Giftedness	There	are	populations	of	children	who	are	invisible	to	our	school	systems,		children	with	enormous	capacity	to	invent,	innovate,	achieve,	and	create.		 	 	 	 	 	 	 (Kalbfleisch,	2008,	p.	159)					 18 A	chronology	of	significant	theories	of	giftedness	and	intelligence			There	is	no	consensus	about	the	definition	of	giftedness	(National	Association	for	Gifted	Children,	2010).	The	following	chronology	highlights	some	of	the	major	constructs	that	have	been	proposed	over	the	years.		The	field	of	gifted	education	in	North	America	can	be	traced	to	the	work	of	Terman	in	the	early	twentieth	century	and	his	development	of	the	Stanford-Binet	Intelligence	Scale	as	a	measure	of	giftedness	(Borland,	1997;	Subotnik,	Olszewski-Kubilius,	&	Worrell,	2011).	Conceptions	of	giftedness	within	the	field	of	education	research	have	changed	substantially	since	Terman	and	Hollingworth	studied	American	students	in	the	1920s	(Plucker	&	Callahan,	2014).	And	yet	it	is	this	early	research	that	gave	rise	to	traditional	and	enduring	notions	of	giftedness,	conceived	as	a	static	personal	trait	correlated	with	high	IQ	as	measured	through	intelligence	testing	(Matthews	&	Dai,	2014;	Plucker	&	Callahan,	2014;	Porath,	2006;	Reis	&	Renzulli,	2010).	For	the	next	50	years,	concepts	of	giftedness	moved	towards	more	‘multi-dimensional	constructs’	that	incorporated	creativity	and	a	shifting	view	of	intelligence,	but	remained	focused	on	identifying	and	developing	individual	ability	with	scant	attention	to	the	environmental	factors	that	might	inhibit	it	(Plucker	&	Callahan,	2014;	Reis	&	Renzulli,	2010).				Three	widely	adopted	models	of	giftedness	or	intelligence	were	developed	during	the	1970s	and	1980s	and	expanded	the	idea	of	giftedness	and	where	to	find	it	(Plucker	&	Callahan,	2014).	Renzulli’s	(2005)	three-ring	conception	of	giftedness	conceived	of	giftedness	as	the	intersection	of	above-average	ability,	task	commitment,	and	creativity;	Gardner’s	(2012)	Theory	of	Multiple	Intelligences	recognized	a	range	of	human	abilities	in	eight	intelligences	from	logical-mathematical	to	naturalistic;	and	Sternberg’s	(2001)	Triarchic	Theory	of	Successful	Intelligence	suggested	that	intelligence	was	a	combination	of	three	aspects:	the	analytic,	the	creative,	and	the	practical.	These	three	models	represented	a	trend	away	from	Terman’s	essentialist	view	of	intelligence	as	a	fixed,	innate	trait	toward	a	more	functional	view	of	intelligence	as	a	“dynamic,	functional	state”	(Matthews	&	Dai,	2014,	p.	336).	A	fourth		 19 model	developed	in	1985	by	Gagné	can	be	seen	to	bridge	the	divide	between	those	who	saw	giftedness	as	innate	intellectual	ability	and	those	who	equated	giftedness	with	advanced	achievement.	Gagné’s	(2004)	Differentiated	Model	of	Giftedness	and	Talent	proposed	a	distinction	between	gifts	and	talents	that	accounted	for	discrepancy	between	potential	and	actual	achievement:	giftedness	was	defined	as	“the	possession	and	use	of	untrained	and	spontaneously	expressed	natural	abilities”	(p.	120)	that	placed	an	individual	in	the	top	10	per	cent	of	age	peers	in	at	least	one	ability	domain	(a	fixed	trait);	and	talent	was	described	as	“outstanding	mastery	of	systematically	developed	abilities	(or	skills)	and	knowledge	in	at	least	one	field	of	human	activity”	(p.	120),	again	measured	as	performance	within	the	top	10	per	cent	of	age	peers	(a	functional	state).	Each	of	these	models	or	theories	of	giftedness	(Renzulli,	Sternberg,	Gagné)	broadened	the	concept	of	giftedness	beyond	IQ	to	encompass	a	“multidimensional	construct	of	giftedness	that	incorporates	a	variety	of	traits,	skills,	and	abilities	which	are	manifested	in	multiple	ways”	(Reis	&	Renzulli,	2010,	p.	308).			Issues	around	identification	gave	rise	to	two	contrasting	models	of	giftedness	in	the	1980s	and	1990s	that	address	a	pivotal	question:	Is	giftedness	defined	by	achievement	or	character?	For	Matthews	and	Foster	(2005),	the	key	to	giftedness	is	found	in	achievement.	Matthews	and	Foster	described	as	a	paradigm	shift	the	move	from	“a	belief-based	‘mystery’	model	to	a	‘mastery	model’	of	giftedness	and	talent	development”	(p.	64),	where	giftedness	was	no	longer	conceived	as	“somewhat	mysteriously	defined	attributes	and	learning	needs”	(p.	64)	but	rather	as	subject-specific	mastery	achieved	within	Vygotsky’s	(1978)	zone	of	proximal	development.	In	their	proposal,	Matthews	and	Foster	moved	the	focus	of	identification	from	labeling	the	gifted	child	(identified	early	on	through	tests	and	checklists)	to	matching	advanced	learning	needs	(determined	by	ongoing,	dynamic	assessment)	with	appropriate	educational	challenge.	In	contrast,	responding	to	what	they	perceived	as	an	increasing	focus	on	gifted	production	at	the	expense	of	gifted	children,	in	1991	the	Columbus	Group	put	forward	a	definition	of	giftedness	that	described	asynchronous	development	as	an	inherent	affective	attribute	of	gifted	children	(Silverman,	1997).	Drawing	heavily	on	Dabrowski’s	‘overexcitabilities’	(as	cited	in	Silverman,	1997),	the	model	of	asynchronous	development		 20 related	giftedness	to	innate	characteristics,	positing	that	gifted	children	were	literally	“out-of-sync	both	internally	and	externally”	(Silverman,	1997,	p.39),	as	their	“advanced	cognitive	abilities	and	heightened	intensity	combine[d]	to	create	inner	experiences	and	awareness	that	are	qualitatively	different	from	the	norm”	(Silverman,	1997,	p.	39).	Subsequent	integrated	models	suggested	that	defining	giftedness	through	achievement	or	character	attributes	alone	is	an	oversimplification,	yet	the	notion	that	high	achievement	or	quirky	behaviours	are	legitimate	identifiers	of	giftedness	is	a	persistent	and	prevalent	belief	in	school	culture	today.11		Coinciding	with	the	rise	of	complexity	theory,	other	models	from	the	1990s	on	sought	to	understand	the	factors	that	support	the	‘emergence’	of	giftedness	(Dai,	2009).	Barab	and	Plucker	(2002)	proposed	an	‘integrated’	model	of	giftedness	based	on	their	observations	of	the	reciprocal	nature	of	learning.	In	their	model,	abilities	and	talents	do	not	reside	in	the	individual	but	rather	in	the	“person-in-situation”	(p.	174)	–	intelligence	is	seen	to	be	“distributed	across	and	situated	in	the	transaction	among	subject,	available	tools,	and	the	community	context”	(p.	171).	Ziegler’s	(2005)	Actiotope	Model	of	Giftedness	similarly	articulates	a	systemic	development	of	excellence	through	ongoing	and	adaptive	interactions	between	the	individual	and	their	environment,	but	identifies	two	determinants	as	critical	factors	in	the	achievement	of	excellence–	an	‘action	repertoire’	which	encompasses	possible	actions,	and	a	‘subjective	action	space’	which	is	influenced	by	perceived	limitations	such	as	an	underestimation	of	competency.	Researchers	like	Subotnik	(Subotnik	et	al.,	2011)	and	(Ericsson,	Nandogopal,	&	Roring,	2005)	refined	the	idea	of	giftedness	as	eminence	or	expertise,	popularized	by	Gladwell	(2008)	as	the	‘10,000	hour	rule’.	From	the	expert-performance	perspective,	giftedness	is	developed	through	years	of	daily	deliberate	practice	shaped	by	reflexive	cognitive	and	physiological	adaptations,	and	nurtured	through	access	to	increasingly	advanced	resources,	superior	training,	and	mentoring	(Ericsson	et	al.,	2005;	Subotnik	et	al.,	2011).																																																							11	See	next	section:	How	giftedness	is	seen	in	a	local	context		 21 	If	there	is	no	universal	definition	of	giftedness,	a	common	idea	runs	through	many	of	the	models	and	concepts	outlined	above:	Giftedness	is	a	construct	that	depends	on	seeing	‘something’	in	a	child	or	student	that	sets	them	apart,	“it	is	something	that	we	discover	in	students”	(Borland,	1997,	p.	9).	While	this	can	lead	to	a	troubling	dichotomy	that	reduces	human	diversity	to	two	distinct	groups,	the	gifted	and	the	rest,	it	also	points	to	the	narrow	scope	of	vision	constraining	the	search	for	possibilities.	Where	is	the	visual	in	these	concepts	and	models?	Most	of	the	above	models	of	giftedness	address	artistic	talent	as	a	domain-specific	aptitude	to	be	nurtured,	and	most	incorporate	creativity,	especially	divergent	thinking,	either	as	an	innate	trait	of	a	gifted	child	or	as	a	skill	to	be	developed.	However,	the	contribution	of	visual-spatial	ability	and	visual	thinking	to	the	identification	and	development	of	giftedness	is	rarely	considered.	In	Chapter	3,	I	will	take	a	closer	look	at	the	extent	to	which	visual-spatial	ability	factors	into	concepts	and	identification	of	giftedness,	and	the	implications	of	neglecting	the	visual.			How	giftedness	is	seen	in	a	local	context		Since	2006,	the	following	definition	of	giftedness	has	been	used	in	the	BC	Ministry	of		Education’s	manual	for	special	education:	A	student	is	considered	gifted	when	she/he	possesses	demonstrated	or	potential		abilities	that	give	evidence	of	exceptionally	high	capability	with	respect	to	intellect,	creativity,	or	the	skills	associated	with	specific	disciplines.	Students	who	are	gifted	often	demonstrate	outstanding	abilities	in	more	than	one	area.	They	may	demonstrate	extraordinary	intensity	of	focus	in	their	particular	areas	of	talent	or	interest.	However,	they	may	also	have	accompanying	disabilities	and	should	not	be	expected	to	have	strengths	in	all	areas	of	intellectual	functioning.	(BC	Ministry	of	Education	2013,	p.	53)		Deconstructing	this	text,	it	is	possible	to	see	the	influence	of	concepts	and	models	outlined	in	the	previous	section.	‘Demonstrated…abilities’	relates	to	talent/expertise	models;	‘potential	abilities’	suggests	innate,	possibly	latent	gifts;	‘high	capability	with	respect	to	intellect’	sounds		 22 like	the	traditional	view	of	intelligence	as	proposed	by	Terman	(1922);	creativity	connects	to	Renzulli	(2006)	and	Sternberg	(2001);	‘skills	associated	with	specific	disciplines’	could	come	from	Renzulli	(2006),	Sternberg	(2001),	Gagné	(2004),	Matthews	and	Foster	(2005),	Subotnik	(2011)	or	Ericsson	(2005);	‘extraordinary	intensity	of	focus’	may	relate	to	motivation	and/or	task	commitment	or	asynchronicity;	and	asynchronicity	could	also	account	for	a	disparity	between	abilities.	While	it	may	seem	almost	too	generalized	to	be	useful,	this	definition	is	based	on	well	researched,	widely	held	ideas	about	giftedness.	The	manual	goes	on	to	suggest	that	identification	and	assessment	should	rely	on	a	range	of	information,	from	teacher	observations	and	student	and	parent	interviews	to	formal	assessments,	and	that	no	single	criterion	should	be	used	to	include	or	exclude	a	student	from	gifted	education	services.	These	too	are	widely	supported	views	within	gifted	education.			The	school	district	that	I	work	for	uses	the	same	definition	of	giftedness	and	the	same	criteria		for	identification.	On	paper.	In	reality,	our	practice	looks	quite	different:		In	my	large,	urban	school	district,	‘gifted‘	often	means	‘qualifies	for	a	‘P‘	designation’12,	and	‘consultation‘	translates	as	‘Come	have	a	look	and	tell	us	whether	this	student	is	gifted’	–	in	other	words	“Take	a	look	at	this	student	and	tell	us	if	he/she	qualifies	for	a	‘P’	designation.”	My	colleague,	an	experienced	Case	Manager,	puts	it	more	succinctly	as	she	passes	over	a	file:	“Tell	me	if	you	see	any	‘P-ness’	in	here.”	(Author’s	personal	journal,	June	18,	2013)	It	is	common	knowledge	among	teachers	and	administrators	in	our	district	that	a	student	needs	a	psycho-educational	assessment	or	a	‘C’	level	test	score	to	be	gifted	(Friedman-Nimz,	O’Brien,	&	Frey,	2005;	Sherlock	&	Skelton,	2015).	If	the	school	or	parents	have	either,	the	Gifted	Educational	Consultant	should	be	called	to	look	at	the	score	to	see	if	it	is	in	the	gifted	range.	It	is	also	common	knowledge	that	gifted	kids	are	odd	or	quirky,	so	whether	or	not	the	school	has	gathered	any	other	supporting	evidence,	the	Gifted	Education	Consultant	should	be	called	to	look	at	any	funny-looking	kids	(FLKs,	in	staffroom	jargon)	to	tell	you	if	they	are																																																							12	A	‘P’	designation	refers	to	the	code	assigned	to	gifted	students	by	the	BC	Ministry	of	Education	(2009b).		 23 gifted.	And	it	is	common	practice	to	regard	the	observations	of	others	outside	the	school,	any	private	assessments,	or	parent-identified	gifted	students	(PIGs),	with	suspicion.				“Our	capacity	to	see	the	world	in	which	we	live	shapes	the	ways	we	think	about	that	world”	(Eisner,	1993a,	p.	66).	We	need	a	way	to	see	the	world	that	allows	for	possibilities	–	for	students	and	teachers,	for	schools	and	families.	I	believe	the	visual	can	help.			They	are	beginning	to	see	us:	Giftedness	and	equity		February	2014		Two	powerful	experiences	in	the	past	ten	days:	an	email	shared	by	a	teaching	colleague,	and	an	address	by	National	Chief	Shawn	Atleo	as	part	of	a	district	Professional	Development	day13.	The	email,	written	by	a	parent	and	shared	with	her	permission,	outlined	the	transformational	effect	of	a	student’s	placement	in	a	gifted	program.	As	the	parent	recounted,	her	child	–	a	complex	child	with	gifted	traits,	sensory	disorder,	attention	deficits,	and	oppositional/defiant	behaviour	–	had	been	viewed	in	a	regular	classroom	primarily	as	a	behaviour	problem,	with	few	options	for	enrichment,	and	little	likelihood	of	being	accepted	in	our	district	gifted	program.	In	another	jurisdiction,	information	from	the	child’s	psycho-educational	assessment	was	sufficient	for	entry	into	a	gifted	class,	where,	by	the	parent’s	account,	the	child	was	thriving:	engaged	intellectually	in	projects	and	curriculum,	engaged	socially	with	like-minded	peers,	and	publicly	acknowledged	for	leadership	and	diligence.		The	parent’s	purpose	in	writing	was	two-fold.	She	wanted	both	to	share	her	child’s	current	success	with	the	teachers	and	administrators	who	had	worked	with	her	child,	and	also	to	make	a	plea	for	other	children	whose	complex	profiles	might	be	a	barrier	to	inclusion	in	our																																																							13	Public	Education	and	Urban	Aboriginal	People:	Reconciliation	and	Collaboration,	Vancouver	School	Board,	February	21,	2014 		 24 district	gifted	program.	Her	email	was	timely	–	we	are	in	the	process	of	reviewing	candidates	for	our	gifted	program,	and	some	of	these	candidates	are	equally	complex.		Shawn	Atleo’s	address	began	by	stressing	the	cultural	importance	of	acknowledging	each	other,	‘seeing’	each	other:	that	traditional	aboriginal	greetings	or	opening	remarks	make	connections	through	lineage	as	a	reminder	of	how	we	are	related;	that	these	greetings	equally	remind	us	to	be	‘mindful’	of	those	whose	territory	we	are	visiting,	and	whose	laws	apply.	He	described	the	‘power	of	ceremony’	in	the	opening	invocation	or	prayer	chant	as	a	universal	that	seeks	to	connect	spirit,	heart	and	mind.	He	continued	with	an	anecdote	about	being	in	the	House	of	Commons,	with	his	grandmother	at	his	side	in	June,	2008,	when	Stephen	Harper	apologized	on	behalf	of	Canadians	for	the	Indian	Residential	Schools	system.	As	Harper	spoke,	his	grandmother	turned	to	Shawn	and	said	“They	are	beginning	to	see	us,	grandson.”			It	is	not	difficult	to	understand	why	gifted	education	is	seen	as	elitist.	Its	many	definitions	are	predominately	exclusionary,	focusing	on	selective	traits	and	measured	statistical	rarity	(aptitudes	and	achievements	described	in	percentiles),	and	these	definitions	lead	to	exclusionary	identification	practices.	The	inevitable	result	is	seeing	students	as	either	‘gifted’	or	‘not’.			‘They	are	beginning	to	see	us’.	For	the	mother	of	a	child	with	both	gifted	abilities	and	learning	disabilities,	and	a	First	Nations	grandmother,	the	experience	of	being	seen	was	powerful.	Being	seen,	being	recognized,	being	acknowledged	is	critical	to	any	construct	of	equity.	Within	gifted	education,	being	seen	–	being	identified	–	is	central	to	any	discussion.	An	ongoing	topic	of	conversation	and	debate	within	the	field	is	the	issue	of	which	students	are	not	being	seen.	There	is	widespread	agreement	among	researchers	and	policy-makers	that	the	many	students	who	experience	racial,	gender	or	cultural	discrimination,	poverty,	or	physical	or	learning	disabilities	have	been	under-identified	and	under-served	by	gifted	education	programming	(Levy	&	Palley,	2010;	Matthews	&	Foster,	2005;	NAGC,	2010;	Plucker	&	Callahan,	2014;	Reis	&	Renzulli,	2010;	VanTassel	Baska,	Feng	&	de	Brux,	2007).	In	my	own	experience,	I	have		 25 witnessed	how	teachers	and	parents	more	frequently	nominated	boys,	native	English	speakers,	extroverts,	high	achievers,	and	West-siders,	for	screening	and	programs	in	my	district.	A	commonly	suggested	remedy	for	this	inequality	has	been	to	focus	on	developing	more	equitable	identification	practices	that	take	into	account	barriers	to	attainment	such	as	language,	culture,	and	underachievement	(Matthews	&	Foster,	2005;	Plucker	&	Callahan,	2014;	VanTassel	Baska	et	al.,	2007).	This	is	the	direction	I	chose	during	my	tenure	as	gifted	consultant,	and	while	I	met	my	goal	of	expanding	our	gifted	screening,	literally	and	figuratively	‘seeing’	more	students,	I	don’t	know	how	much	of	a	difference	it	really	made14.		I	am	not	sure	that	my	expanded	screening	could	have	made	a	difference,	because	I	believe	now	that	what	really	needed	to	change,	was	not	simply	the	instrument	or	process	of	identification,	but	the	very	construct	of	giftedness	and	concept	of	identification.	I	take	up	the	problematization	of	giftedness	and	identification	from	James	Borland,	whose	work	over	the	past	two	decades,	while	advocating	for	appropriate	challenges	for	high-ability	or	high-achieving	students,	has	questioned	the	validity	and	morality	of	labeling	some	students	‘gifted’,	and	by	extension,	some	students	‘not’	(Borland,	1997,	2005,	2009;	Shaughnessy,	Moore	&	Borland,	2014).	His	work	resonates	with	me	deeply,	because	it	is	in	his	project	of	gifted	education	without	gifted	programs	or	gifted	students,	that	I	can	see	possibilities	for	all	students.		Borland	(2005)	sees	the	concept	of	the	gifted	child	as	“logically,	pragmatically,	and…morally	untenable”	(p.	1).	He	characterizes	the	construct	as	a	concept	dreamed	up	in	the	20th	century	in	response	to	sociocultural	and	socio-political	forces,	and	argues	convincingly	that	the	rise	of	the	mental	testing	movement	can	be	seen	as	a	response	to	the	increasing	diversity	of	the	school	population	resulting	from	both	waves	of	immigration	and	the	enforcement	of	compulsory	education	laws	in	post-World	War	I	America.	Drawing	on	Foucault’s	(1995)	technologies	of	power,	Borland	contends	that	mental	testing	can	be	understood	as	a	form	of																																																							14	My	experiences,	and	issues,	with	testing	and	identification	will	be	expanded	in	Chapter	3.		 26 “hierarchical	observation”	(p.	5),	and	as	an	instrument	of	“normalizing	judgement”15	(p.	5)	in	which	“students	whose	IQs	fell	below	a	certain	score	become	‘the	subnormal’…whereas	students	whose	IQs	exceeded	a	certain	threshold…became,	in	the	original	terminology,	the	‘supernormal’…the	‘gifted’”	(p.	6).	Within	this	framework,	the	‘normal’	and	the	‘gifted’	are	both	seen	as	invented	constructs	of	an	inequitable	society.			That	some	students	have	advanced	learning	needs	is	not	at	issue	–	as	Borland	notes,	“human	variation	is	multifaceted,	multidimensional”(p.	6).	The	problem	that	he	sees	is	that	‘technologies	of	power’,	such	as	quantitative	psychometric	measures	of	IQ	and	verbal	and	mathematical	achievement	or	qualitative	assessments	of	ability	and/or	creativity,	persist	as	ways	of	categorizing	and	labelling	children,	and	perpetuating	inequity.			How	then	to	proceed?	How	to	see?	Is	it	possible	to	have,	as	Borland	(2005)	suggests,	gifted	education	without	gifted	children	or	gifted	programs?	Can	gifted	education	become	more	democratic	in	seeing,	and	extending,	the	abilities	of	students?	Van	Tassel	Baska	(2007)	calls	for	a	new	paradigm	of	identification	that	includes	non-traditional	measures	(such	as	the	observation	of	students	engaged	in	learning)	that	is	able	to	see	the	different	ways	students	display	their	abilities.	In	recognition	of	the	plasticity	of	development	and	the	“problematic	consequences	of	labelling”	(Matthews,	2009,	p.	94),	Matthews	proposes	labelling	advanced	learning	opportunities	rather	than	students.	Eisner	(1993a)	advocates	for	the	role	that	the	visual	can	play	in	recognizing	the	extraordinary	diversity	of	human	intellectual	capacity.	He	states:	Our	capacity	to	see	is	crucial….	As	we	broaden	the	forms	with	which	children	interact,	we	expand	the	avenues	through	which	more	and	more	children	can	succeed.	Indeed,	educational	equity	is	significantly	rooted	in	the	kinds	of	learning	opportunities	that	children	with	different	aptitudes	are	afforded.	(p.	66)		 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 	Borland	(1997)	puts	it	another	way:																																																							15	I	return	to	this	idea	in	Chapter	4	as	I	explore	the	reconceptualization	of	the	bell	curve.		 27 I	think	our	primary	task	is	either	to	construct	the	most	educationally	rewarding	and	equitable	concept	of	giftedness	we	can	or	to	find	a	way	to	move	beyond	the	construct	altogether	to	a	vision	of	human	development	and	learning	that	embraces	the	indescribable	diversity	of	human	consciousness	and	activity	in	a	way	that	places	limits	on	no	child	(or	adult).	(p.18)		 		 	 	 	 	 	 	 	Here,	finally,	is	a	project	I	can	embrace	without	reservation:	to	move	beyond	the	construct	of	giftedness	to	a	new	vision.	I	have	been	uncomfortable	being	the	surveyor	who	marks	the	boundary	between	‘gifted’	or	‘not’,	and	have	been	perplexed	by	a	system	that	sees	labels	as	an	answer:	here	is	a	way	of	moving	past	those	labels.	I	don’t	want	to	mine	a	file,	looking	for	scores,	like	glimpses	of	gold,	to	categorize	a	child’s	potential:	here	is	a	vision	of	learning	that	encompasses	limitless	human	potential,	that	creates	possibilities	for	all	learners.	It	starts	by	seeing	each	learner,	their	abilities,	and	possibilities.	Our	capacity	to	see	is	crucial.				Looking	at	gifted	education	research		Where	is	the	visual	in	gifted	education	research?	Not	here:			 28 There	were	lots	of	visuals:	tables,	graphs,	and	a	sprinkling	of	concept	maps.	But	with	one	exception,	there	was	nothing	that	stood	out	visually	to	me.	A	survey	of	recent	articles	in	gifted	education	journals	confirmed	my	suspicion	that,	other	than	data-heavy	tables	and	graphs,	there	was	almost	no	other	visual	content	in	gifted	education	research	articles.	knew	that	I	had	come	across	very	little	of	visual	interest	in	my	research,	but	wanted	to	check	against	a	more	random	sampling.	I	reviewed	64	articles	from	High	Ability	Studies,	Gifted	Child	Quarterly,	and	Journal	for	the	Education	of	the	Gifted,	approximately	20	from	each	source,	and	all	published	between	2012	and	2014.	The	use	of	tables	to	organize	data	was	most	prevalent	(51	of	the	articles	included	tables),	followed	by	figures	(graphs	were	used	in	14	of	the	articles	and	concept	maps	were	used	in	12).	Ten	articles	included	other	kinds	of	figures	such	as	statistical	path	models	or	examples	of	research	materials	such	as	survey	questions	or	math	problems.	Twelve	articles	had	no	visual	content	whatsoever15	From	those	64	articles,	one	single	image	stood	out	for	its	attempt	at	visual	impact:		 	Figure	1	Metaphorical	concept	map	(Baum,	Schader,	&	Hébert,	2014,	p.	315,	copyright	©2014,	SAGE	Publications,	by	permission)		The	absence	of	the	visual	in	gifted	education	research	journal	articles	may	seem	inconsequential	to	most	researchers,	as	there	is	nothing	out	of	the	ordinary	about	it.	A	quick	survey	of	recent	issues	of	Educational	Researcher	demonstrated	a	similar	bias,	and	even	an	article	entitled	‘Image	as	Insight’	(Marshall,	2007)	in	the	journal	Studies	in	Art	Education	Baum et al. 315grade. However, his emotional issues increased, and he began to struggle with productivity. He required an extra year to finish all the requirements and was then accepted to a drama program in a state university.Amy: Academically advanced but diagnosed with autism, Amy had difficulty staying focused and transitioning from one task to another. She was rude and abrasive to faculty and peers. She skipped eighth grade and graduated a year ahead of her peers, receiving a scholarship to attend a noted women’s college; however, her parents insisted on declining the offer. Amy then attended a local community college and continued to visit the school frequently during that year, spending time with the school counselor and friends from her original cohort.Beth: With diagnoses of Asperger’s, ADHD, ODD, and GAD, Beth had been seen by three therapists, was taking medication, and was enrolled in a social skills class when she entered the school. Her highly variable WISC III pro-file ranged from a score of 147 on Perceptual Organization Index to a low of 69 on the Freedom From Distraction Index. She was a voracious reader, adding insightful com-ments during discussions, yet only on her own terms. Her defiance led to standoffs with peers and faculty. By her senior year, Beth had completed most of her assignments on time but continued to need support with writing. Her talent in art flourished during high school resulting in her acceptance by a well-known college for the arts.Denzin (2006) suggests extending participants to include other stakeholders, therefore we also included information from parents and teachers who taught these students at different grade levels, as well as staff members who witnessed the students’ growth from middle school to graduation.ProgramMultiperspectives Process Model. To create the highly support-ive program, faculty and staff developed a team decision-making model (Figure 1) that synthesized important elements critical to understanding 2e students. Starting from a strengths-based, talent-focused philosophy, use of the MPPM encouraged collaboration among the professionals working with the students and their families that resulted in a cohesive, consistent approach where the different perspec-tives were considered and aligned. To assure fidelity to the model, an enlarged, visual diagram of the MPPM was used at team meetings in order to guide discussions.The MPPM is best described as student-centered. Both the talents and challenges of 2e students are viewed simulta-neously, highlighting the dynamic interplay between and among five critical variables gleaned from both research on 2e learners and experience. The variables are gifts, talents, and interests; learning differences; social and emotional readiness; disabilities; and the family context.Gifts, talents, and interests: This variable is always con-sidered first. Its priority stems from knowledge that such a focus opens avenues for engaging student attention (Gardner, 2004) and finding avenues for them to develop positively (Neihart, 2002; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).Learning differences: Style differences (personality, cog-nitive, multiple intelligences profiles, and learning styles) affect how 2e learners process information and organize their lives (Baum & Owen, 2004; Gardner, 2004; Silverman, 1989). Because a strengths-based perspective requires careful attention (Tomlinson, 2004), the MPPM team uses students’ profiles to align instructional goals appropriately.Social and emotional readiness: Social and emotional well-being is foundational for good learning to take place. Psycho-social and emotional issues are prevalent in students with dual diagnoses (Assouline, Nicpon, & Whiteman, 2010; Moon, 2002; Reis & Colbert, 2004; Webb et al., 2005). Twice-exceptional students tend to be anxious, as well as socially and emotionally imma-ture (Baum, Dann, Novak, & Pruess, 2009; Eide & Eide, 2006). These issues may compromise their readi-ness to cope with age- or grade-level demands. For these reasons, readiness is weighed carefully by the team.Figure 1. The multiperspectives process model. at University of British Columbia Library on August 12, 2015gcq.sagepub.comDownloaded from 		 29 followed	a	standard	conservative	academic	journal	format	and	did	not	include	any	accompanying	images.	In	academic	journals,	where	the	target	audience	is	predominately	other	researchers	and	academics,	the	visual	is	not	apparent.	Despite	all	the	advances	in	data	visualization	in	the	past	fifteen	years	(	Davies,	2011;	Lima,	2011),	the	graphs	and	tables	used	to	communicate	results	in	most	articles	offer	no	visual	clues	for	interpretation	to	the	viewer,	and	depend	on	an	insider’s	knowledge	of	statistics	to	be	fully	understood16.	It	would	appear	that	within	gifted	education	research,	data	and	design	have	not	yet	met.	Concept	maps	seem	to	be	one	area	where	more	attention	is	paid	to	the	visual.	Many	concept	maps	are	simple	schematics	laid	out	with	basic	geometric	shapes	and	arrows	or	lines	indicating	relationships,	such	as	the	maps	below,	used	to	document	development	of	graduate	student	knowledge:		Figure	2	Concept	maps	(Diket	&	Abel,	2001,	p.	27,	copyright	©2001,	SAGE	Publications,	by	permission)	Another	map	from	the	same	article	attempts	a	more	visual	turn,	using	fish	instead	of	ovals,	although	any	metaphorical	meaning	is	not	ascribed:																																																								16	By	way	of	contrast,	the	graphics	that	Hattie	(2015)	uses	to	report	effect	sizes	and	other	data	from	his	meta-analysis	of	educational	interventions	are	immediately	understandable	to	a	layperson,	like	the	average	teacher.		 30 									Figure	3	Metaphorical	concept	map	(Diket	&	Abel,	2001,	p.	28,	copyright	©2001,	SAGE	Publications,	by	permission)	Concept	maps	appear	the	most	visually	developed	when	they	are	used	to	illustrate	theoretical	or	programmatic	models	such	as	Renzulli’s	(2005)	three-ring	conception	of	giftedness	or	the	Amphitheatre	Model	for	Talent	Development	(McCluskey,	Treffinger,	Baker,	&	Lamoureux,	2013):			Figure	4	has	been	removed	due	to	copyright	restrictions.	It	was	a	diagram	of	the	three-ring	conception	of	giftedness	by	J.	Renzulli.	Original	source:	Renzulli,	J.	(2005)	The	three-ring	conception	of	giftedness:	A	developmental	model	for	promoting	creative	productivity.	In	R.	Sternberg	&	J.	Davidson	(Eds.),	Conceptions	of	Giftedness	(pp.	246-279).		Figure	5	has	been	removed	due	to	copyright	restrictions.	It	was	a	diagram	of	the	amphitheatre	model	for	talent	development	by	K.	McCluskey	et	al.	Original	source:	McCluskey,	K.,	Treffinger,	D.,	Baker,	P.,	&	Lamoureux,	K.	(2013)	The	amphitheater	model	for	talent	development :	Recognizing	and	nurturing	the	gifts	of	our	lost	prizes.	International	Journal	for	Talent	Development	and	Creativity,	1(1),	99–112.		Much	like	the	concept	map	in	Figure	1,	in	which	cog	wheels	were	a	visual	metaphor	for	interconnecting	perspectives,	these	concept	mappings	make	an	attempt	at	visual	cohesiveness	and	impact:	the	use	of	centrally	located	circular	forms	(three	overlapping	circles	in	Renzulli’s	model,	a	central	circle	in	the	amphitheatre)	is	suggestive	of	holistic	focus;	the		 31 houndstooth	background	pattern	of	Renzulli’s	is	distinctive17;	the	tiers	of	the	amphitheatre	model	are	suggestive	of	increasingly	higher	levels	of	enrichment.	This	suggests	to	me	that	gifted	education	researchers	are	aware	of	the	efficacy	of	using	a	well-thought	out	or	distinctive	visual	to	communicate	ideas,	especially	if	a	portion	of	the	intended	audience	for	those	ideas	will	be	teachers,	administrators	and	others	outside	academia.	Of	all	the	concept	maps	I	came	across,	one	stood	out	for	its	visual	impact:			Figure	6	Metaphorical	concept	map	(Ambrose,	Van	Tassel-Baska,	Coleman	&	Cross,	p.	458,	copyright	©2010,	SAGE	Publications,	by	permission)	An	actual	mapping	of	a	concept,	Ambrose	and	his	colleagues	propose	a	metaphorical	understanding	of	the	lay	of	the	land	in	describing	the	nature	and	relationship	of	four	analytic	levels	in	gifted	education.	The	field	of	gifted	education	is	presented	as	a	continent	“with	theoretical	valleys,	philosophical	mountain	peaks,	and	farmland	of	varying	fertility”	(Ambrose	et	al.,	2010,	p.	457),	tilled	by	practitioners,	surveyed	by	researchers,	and	explored	by	theorists																																																							17	Although	it	certainly	adds	to	the	visual	impact	of	the	image,	and	makes	it	memorable,	the	significance	of	the	houndstooth	pattern	in	Renzulli’s	graphic	eludes	me.		 32 and	philosophers.	The	metaphor	plays	out	in	a	number	of	ways.	First,	it	literally	grounds	the	researchers’	investigation	by	situating	philosophy,	theory,	research	and	practice	in	terms	of	the	scope	of	their	specific	viewpoints,	and	their	relationship	to	each	other.	For	example,	lack	of	philosophical	content	in	practice-based	research	can	be	seen	via	this	metaphor	as	an	issue	of	distance	and	focus.	Second,	it	provides	a	way	to	understand	the	structure	and	dynamics	of	the	field:	fragmentation	is	seen	as	the	feudalism	of	interest-based	camps,	porosity	refers	to	the	openness	of	borders,	and	the	contestation	of	different	views	or	practices	becomes	a	skirmish	between	tribes.	Finally,	the	metaphor	serves	a	metacognitive	purpose	by	adding	a	filter	of	analysis	to	the	researchers’	overview	of	the	field,	continually	lifting	the	discussion	from	description	back	to	the	level	of	analysis.	Although	the	metaphor	has	its	limitations,	I	can	respond	to	it.	I	am	a	practitioner	in	the	field;	I	am	a	surveyor,	measuring	with	my	tools;	I	bring	a	philosopher’s	view	to	my	investigation.	But	mostly,	I	see	myself	as	an	explorer	coming	to	the	continent	of	gifted	education	from	the	distant	unexplored	interdisciplinary	territory	of	the	visual,	bringing	with	me	my	own	way	of	looking	at	the	field.	Visual	research	methods	are	scarce	in	gifted	education	research.	Qualitative	methods	may	have	enjoyed	acceptance	in	other	areas	of	educational	research	for	years	(Eisner,	1993b),	but	overviews	of	gifted	education	research	suggest	that	quantitative	methods	still	dominate	the	field	(Coleman,	Guo,	&	Dabbs,	2007;	Dai,	Swanson,	&	Cheng,	2011;	Friedman-Nimz	et	al.,	2005;	Leech,	Collins,	Jiao,	&	Onwuegbuzie,	2011),	and	that	many	researchers	are	unclear	about	the	use	and	value	of	qualitative	procedures	in	gifted	education	research	(Coleman	et	al.,	2007).	The	lack	of	clarity	around	procedure	and	quality	was	demonstrated	in	the	review	carried	out	by	Coleman	and	his	colleagues	that	found	that	only	a	third	of	the	studies	they	reviewed	were	actually	consistent	with	the	qualitative	paradigm.	Dai	and	his	colleagues	(2011)	are	among	those	researchers	who	recognize	the	benefits	of	qualitative	research,	identifying	how	the	valuable	‘up-close	look’	at	students	and	their	school	and	home	situations	afforded	by	qualitative	methods	contributes	to	a	deep	understanding	not	attainable	by	other	methods.	Yet	they	note	that	within	their	survey	of	ten	years	of	empirical	studies	on	giftedness	and	gifted	education	that	only	25%	of	the	studies	were	qualitative	in	nature.	In	the	qualitative	studies	discussed,	interviews	and	case	studies	were	by	far	the	most	common	methods	used	to		 33 collect	data,	used	in	75%	–	85%	of	the	studies	(Coleman	et	al.,	2007;	Dai	et	al.,	2011);	the	only	arts-based	method	identified	was	narrative	inquiry.	The	visual	is	noticeably	absent.	I	am	a	gifted	education	practitioner.	I	am	a	teacher-researcher.	I	am	also	a	visual	thinker,	and	I	do	not	see	myself	reflected	in	gifted	education	journals.	The	concerns	for	quantification	and	correlation	are	not	my	concerns;	the	language	of	statistical	analysis	is	not	my	language.	I	might	consider	myself	an	explorer	bringing	with	me	a	new	way	of	seeing,	but	when	I	read	these	research	journals,	I	just	feel	like	an	outsider	looking	in.			As	outlined	in	this	chapter,	giftedness	can	be	seen	as	a	socially	constructed	concept	that	has	changed	over	time	in	response	to	changes	in	society	and	culture,	and	an	ever-evolving	understanding	of	the	psychological	and	physiological	process	of	learning.	And	yet,	a	whole	way	of	thinking	is	being	ignored	when	the	visual	is	left	out	of	research	on	giftedness	and	gifted	education.	How	is	giftedness	understood,	and	misunderstood,	when	the	visual	is	absent	or	sidelined?	As	will	be	explored	in	the	following	chapter,	the	neglect	of	visual-spatial	ability	can	traced	in	part	to	sociocultural	perceptions	of	academic	and	intellectual	achievement	that	privilege	verbal,	mathematical,	and	logical	reasoning	and	devalue	visual	and	spatial	abilities	(Andersen,	2014;	Liben,	2009;	National	Research	Council,	2006;	Smith,	2008).	And,	as	will	be	seen,	the	result	of	this	neglect	is	that	the	gifted	abilities	of	many	students	remain	invisible.					 34 Chapter	3: Looking	for	giftedness	 Attention	changes	what	kind	of	a	thing	comes	into	being	for	us:	in	that		way	it	changes	the	world.		 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 (McGilchrist,	2009,	p.28)			Kinds	of	attention		I	had	been	reading	graphic	artist	Lynda	Barry’s	Syllabus	(2014).				 35 		Five	words	from	a	page	filled	with	words	and	images	caught	my	attention,	and	triggered	a	connection,	a	recollection.	I	rewatched	an	animated	video	of	McGilchrist	talking	about	the	divided	brain	(RSA,	2011)	then	tracked	down	his	book	so	I	could	read	for	myself	what	he	said	about	attention:			The	brain	has	to	attend	to	the	world	in	two	completely	different	ways,	and	in		so	doing	brings	two	different	worlds	into	being.	In	the	one,	we	experience	–	the		live,	complex,	embodied,	world	of	individual,	always	unique	beings,	forever	in	flux,		a	net	of	interdependencies,	forming	and	reforming	wholes,	a	world	with	which		we	are	deeply	connected.	In	the	other	we	‘experience’	our	experience	in	a	special		way:	a	‘re-presented’	version	of	it,	containing	now	static,	separable,	bounded,	but	essentially	fragmented	entities,	grouped	into	classes,	on	which	predictions	can		be	based.	This	kind	of	attention	isolates,	fixes	and	makes	each	thing	explicit…			(McGilchrist,	2009,	p.	31)		Sitting	with	a	book	in	my	hand,	feeling	its	weight,	the	texture	of	the	paper,	connecting	the	words	on	paper	to	an	experience;	hearing	the	tick	of	the	clock,	muffled	noises	from	the	street,	the	living	room	there	in	my	peripheral	vision,	all	the	while	looking	at	the	whole	of	Barry’s		 36 densely	illustrated	two-page	spread:	this	is	‘live,	complex,	embodied’	attention.	Focusing	on	the	page,	decoding	each	word,	examining	each	image	–	this	is	the	kind	of	attention	that	“isolates,	fixes	and	makes	each	thing	explicit”	(McGilchrist,	2009,	p.	31).		McGilchrist	(2009)	sees	these	two	different	kinds	of	attention	–	an	embodied,	global	and	flexible	attention	and	a	focused,	narrow	and	fixed	attention	–	as	the	active	work	of	the	two	hemispheres	of	the	brain.	The	division	of	the	brain	that	McGilchrist	describes	is	not	the	neuromyth	left	side/right	side	polarization	popularized	in	the	1960s	and	70s,	which	wrongly	characterized	the	left	as	the	side	containing	reason	and	language,	and	the	right	as	the	side	of	emotion	and	visual	imagery	(Kalbfleisch	&	Gillmarten,	2013).	As	McGilchrist	points	out,	both	sides	are	now	known	to	be	involved	in	these	functions	(RSA,	2011).	But	there	is	recent	research	that	suggests	that	the	two	cerebral	hemispheres	differ	in	their	response	to	cognitive	novelty	and	cognitive	routines	(Kalbfleisch	&	Gillmarten,	2013;	Kounios	&	Beeman,	2014;	McGilchrist,	2009,	2011).	The	right	hemisphere	engages	in	coarser	semantic	coding	(Kounios	&	Beeman,	2014);	it	sees	the	whole	before	it	is	deconstructed	in	an	attempt	to	know	it	(McGilchrist,	2009,	2011).	The	right	hemisphere	attends	to	the	peripheral	field	of	vision:	it	is	therefore	more	“vigilant	for	whatever	it	is	that	exists	‘out	there’”	(McGilchrist,	2009,	p.	40).	The	left	hemisphere	operates	locally;	its	bias	is	toward	finer	semantic	coding	(Kounios	&	Beeman,	2014)	and	the	identification	of	parts	(McGilchrist,	2009,	2011):	therefore	it	“actively	narrows	its	attentional	focus”	(McGilchrist,	2009,	p.	41).	These	differences	between	the	two	hemispheres	and	their	modes	of	attention	lead	to	a	critical	conception	of	how	the	world	is	‘known’	through	our	senses,	and	how	insights	arise.			Insight	can	be	described	as	a	burst	of	understanding	that	yields	a	novel	idea	or	interpretation	(Kounios	&	Beeman,	2014).	Cognitive	neuroscientific	studies	of	insight	suggest	that	the	right	hemisphere	contributes	relatively	more	to	insight	than	analysis,	and	that	the	reverse	is	true	of	the	left	hemisphere	(Kounios	&	Beeman,	2014)18.	This	makes	sense	in	light	of	McGilchrist’s																																																							18	See	Chapter	5	for	a	more	detailed	discussion	of	insight.		 37 (2009)	description	of	how	the	right	hemisphere	engages	with	novelty.	Anything	novel	must	first	be	present	to	the	right	hemisphere	before	it	can	be	focused	upon	by	the	left:	the	right	hemisphere	alone	“can	direct	attention	to	what	comes	to	us	from	the	edges	of	our	awareness”	(p.40),	while	the	left	hemisphere	“is	remarkably	entrapped	by	its	vision”	(p.	162),	and	sees	what	it	expects	to	see.	In	short,	the	right	hemisphere’s	embodied,	global	and	flexible	attention	is	able	to	perceive	the	new;	the	left’s	focused,	narrow	and	fixed	attention	grasps	the	known.	“We	need	both	types	of	attention,”	McGilchrist	(2011)	acknowledges,	“But	their	relation	is	not	symmetrical…the	right	hemisphere	is	aware	of,	and	understands,	more	than	the	left;	but	the	left	is	more	able	to	articulate	and	use	what	it	knows”	(p.	1068).				 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 	Paying	attention	to	giftedness		With	McGilchrist	(2009,	2011)	in	mind,	I	will	return	to	some	of	the	significant	theories	of	giftedness	and	Intelligence	that	I	outlined	in	Chapter	2,	and	take	a	closer	look	at	the	kinds	of	thinking	that	are	embraced	or	ignored	in	current	concepts	of	giftedness	and	in	the	identification	process.	Visual-spatial	abilities	–	such	as	thinking	in	images,	the	mental	manipulation	of	images,	and	holistic	rather	than	sequential	thinking	–	have	long	been	overlooked	in	the	search	for	giftedness	(Kalbfleisch	&	Gillmarten,	2013).	Researchers	have	established	that	visual-spatial	skills	are	important	to	creative	production	in	STEM	(Science,	Technology,	Engineering	and	Math)	occupations	(Andersen,	2014;	Kalbfleisch	&	Gillmarten,	2013;	Liben,	2009;	Lubinski,	2010);	in	understanding	complex	mathematics	(Boaler,	2015;	Kalbfleisch,	2008b;	O’Boyle,	2008;	Prescott,	Gavrilescu,	Cunnington,	O’Boyle,	&	Egan,	2010);	and	in	developing	scientific	theories	(Andersen,	2014;	Gooding,	2004,	2010;	Lubinski,	2010;	Smith,	2008).	And	yet,	as	Lohman	(2011)	points	out	in	a	discussion	of	results	from	his	own	cognitive	skills	assessment,	the	CogAT	7:			 38 Students	who	show	a	nonverbal	strength	are	often	not	well	served	by	our	educational	system….	Few	programs	have	any	systematic	options	for	the	development	of	visual	spatial	abilities.	Those	that	do	are	often	more	concerned	with	fostering	creativity	than	with	developing	visual	thinking	and	reasoning	abilities.			(unpaginated)		If	visual-spatial	abilities	are	so	important,	why	have	they	been	overlooked?	As	noted	earlier,	the	neglect	of	visual-spatial	ability	can	traced	in	part	to	societal	perceptions	that	place	a	high	value	on	the	verbal,	mathematical,	and	logical	reasoning	skills	associated	with	academic	success,	and	devalue	visual	and	spatial	abilities	(Andersen,	2014;	Liben,	2009;	National	Research	Council,	2006;	Smith,	2008).	While	the	1971	Marland	Report	expanded	the	definition	of	giftedness	beyond	intellectual	and	academic	ability	to	encompass	creativity,	visual	and	performing	arts,	and	psychomotor	ability	(Flint,	2014)	–	areas	where	the	importance	of	visual-spatial	abilities	would	seem	uncontestable	–	the	recognition	of	visual-spatial	abilities	in	gifted	screening	and	programming	was	still	not	assured.		A	surge	of	interest	in	creativity	in	the	1970s	gave	momentum	to	a	shift	of	focus	in	gifted	education	from	academic	content	to	thinking	skills	(Borland,	1997).	Creativity	was	embraced	as	a	component	of	giftedness,	as	seen	in	the	models	proposed	by	Renzulli	(2005)	and	Sternberg	(2001),	in	the	development	of	assessments	such	as	the	Torrance	Tests	of	Creative	Thinking	(TTCT;	Torrance,	1974)	and	in	programs	like	Future	Problem	Solving,	also	developed	by	Torrance	in	1974	(Treffinger,	Solomon,	&	Woythal,	2012).	The	qualities	of	fluency,	flexibility,	originality,	and	elaboration	–	the	four	components	of	creative	thinking	that	Torrance	identified	–	can	be	seen	to	align	with	the	global,	insightful,	flexible	vision	of	the	right	hemisphere.	Yet	while	creative	thinking	remains	a	goal	for	gifted	education,	visual	thinking	is	nowhere	to	be	found.	It	is	possible	that	something	else	was	lost	with	the	rightful	debunking	of	the	neuromyth	of	right-hemispheric	dominance	in	visual-spatial	abilities	(	Kalbfleisch,	2008a;	Kalbfleisch	&	Gillmarten,	2013;	McGilchrist,	2009;	Prater,	2002).	It	would	appear	that	many	researchers	subsequently	approached	new	theories	around	hemispheric	asymmetry	cautiously	(Kalbfleisch	&	Gillmarten,	2013),	and	chose	to	focus	on	analytic	rather	than	visual-spatial	skills	in	their	research	(Kalbfleisch	&	Gillmarten,	2013;	Kounios	&	Beeman,	2014;		 39 Smith,	2008).	McGilchrist	(2009,	2011)	might	see	in	this	a	familiar	pattern:	could	it	be	that	the	devaluing	of	visual-spatial	abilities	has	to	do	with	the	left	hemisphere’s	reason	asserting	itself	over	the	right	hemisphere’s	insights?	Visual-spatial	abilities	are	included	in	intelligence	tests	(Liben,	2009),	and	visual-spatial	intelligence	is	incorporated	in	Gardner’s	Multiple	Intelligences	(Gardner,	2006;	Liben,	2009),	yet	visual-spatial	abilities	are	not	measured	by	most	academic	achievement	tests	(Andersen,	2014;	Lohman	&	Gambrell,	2011),	and	rarely	included	in	criteria	for	gifted	programs	(Andersen,	2014;	Liben,	2009).	Even	non-verbal	assessments	that	appear	to	test	visual-spatial	skills	in	the	end	capture	more	information	about	fluid	reasoning,	or	divergent	thinking,	than	visual	thinking	(Lohman	&	Gambrell,	2011).	This	is	telling.	As	Liben	(2009)	notes,	“We	assess	what	we	value	and	we	value	what	we	assess”	(p.	71).	Visual-spatial	thinking	is	“underrecognized,	undervalued,	underappreciated,	and	therefore,	underinstructed”	(National	Research	Council,	2006,	p.	15).	The	result	is	that	the	gifted	abilities	of	many	students	remain	unseen	by	those	who	are	looking	for	giftedness.			Paying	attention	to	identification		We	see,	but	we	do	not	see:	we	use	our	eyes,	but	our	gaze	is	glancing,		frivolously	considering	its	object.	We	see	the	signs,	but	not	their	meanings.		We	are	not	blinded,	but	we	have	blinders….		 	 (Horowitz,	2013,	p.	9)		In	her	book,	On	Looking,	Horowitz	(2013)	describes	11	walks	that	she	takes	in	her	familiar	neighbourhood	with	different	‘experts’	–	ten	people	and	one	dog	who,	as	Horowitz	says,	“have	distinctive,	individual,	expert	ways	of	seeing	all	the	unattended,	perceived	ordinary	elements	that	I	was	missing”19	(p.	3).	Each	of	these	guides	focused	Horowitz’s	attention	on	specific	features	and	details	that	mattered	to	them,	and	that	Horowitz	had	previously																																																							19	Horowitz	uses	‘seeing’	in	both	the	literal	and	figurative	sense,	as	several	of	her	guides	were	consciously	following	senses	other	than	sight,	like	hearing	and	smell.			 40 overlooked:	the	geologist	noted	rocks	and	stonework,	the	naturalist	pointed	out	plants	and	bugs,	the	typographer	remarked	on	lettering.	With	one	notable	exception20,	the	expert	eyes	saw	with	the	kind	of	focused	attention	that	I	call	noticing	or	observing,	and	it	is	based	in	re-cognition,	responding	to	the	familiar	or	known.	The	expert	eyes	knew	what	to	look	for.		The	problem	with	paying	attention,	Horowitz	(2013)	observes,	is	that	“no	one	tells	you	how	to	do	that”	(p.9).	Focused	looking	can	actually	be	taught,	and	it	does	not	always	rely	on	subject-specific	expertise.	A	study	of	nursing	students	found	that	their	clinical	diagnostic	skills	were	improved	following	participation	in	an	art	museum	experience	(Pellico,	Friedlaender,	&	Fennie,	2009).	After	a	90	minute	session	where	students	looked	intently	at	artworks,	and	learned	from	a	docent	and	an	educator	how	to	“discriminate,	compare,	and	contrast	artistic	intentions…how	to	decode	objects’	meanings	and	extract	information	by	direct	observation”	(Pellico	et	al.,	2009,	p.	650),	participants	subsequently	made	significantly	more,	and	more	detailed,	observations,	and	offered	more	alternative	diagnoses	than	the	control	group	when	examining	patient	photographs	in	a	clinical	setting.	The	nursing	students	who	attended	the	museum	experience	and	the	control	group	had	the	same	amount	of	clinical	knowledge	when	it	came	to	making	observations	of	patients,	they	knew	equally	well	what	to	look	for;	where	the	museum-going	nurses	differed	from	the	control	group	was	that	they	simply	understood	better,	after	only	90	minutes	of	noticing,	observing	and	talking,	how	to	look.		Knowing	what	to	look	for,	and	how	to	look,	matters.																																																													20	The	exception?	Artist	Maira	Kalman	whose	gaze	appeared	unrestricted	in	its	enthusiasm	–	“She	did	not	see	a	space	as	defined	by	an	edge,	but	as	an	infinitely	explorable	openness”	(p.	87).			 41 															The	problem	as	McGilchrist	(2009)	sees	it,	is	that	when	focus	narrows,	the	left	hemisphere’s	view	of	the	world	asserts	itself	to	the	exclusion	of	the	right.	This	affects	“what	kind	of	thing	comes	into	being	for	us”	(p.28).	The	left	hemisphere	wants	to	make	things	certain	–	it	responds	to	familiarity,	and	it	processes	information	according	to	known	categories	or	procedures:	“When	we	say	we	understand	something,	what	we	mean	is	that	we	have	likened	it	to	something	else	that	we	think	we	know”	(McGilchrist,	2011,	p.	1069).	McGilchrist’s	(2011)	concern	is	that	this	leads	to	a	narrowed	view	of	the	world:	“We	close	down	perception	to	a	certainty,	instead	of	opening	up	to	possibility”	(p.	1069).	This	reminds	me	of	my	checklist-oriented	students,	who	gobbled	up	facts	like	empty	calorie	snacks,	yet	were	resistant	to	more	open-ended	inquiry.	In	looking	at	student	thinking,	it	would	appear	that	the	left	hemisphere’s	cognitive	process	is	supported	in	its	mission	by	various	affective	thinking	processes	or	dispositions	that	also	lead	to	narrowed	options.	Closed-mindedness,	intolerance	of	ambiguity,	certainty	orientation,	and	a	need	for	cognitive	closure	have	been	found	to	contribute	to	a	dogmatic	‘premature	settling’	of	beliefs	in	high-ability	students	(Cross	&	Cross,	2012);	fixed-	 42 mindsets	have	been	shown	to	predispose	students	to	avoid	greater	or	novel	challenges	for	fear	of	failure	(Dweck,	1986;	Mueller	&	Dweck,	1998),	and	a	high	preference	for	certainty	has	been	positively	correlated	with	performance	avoidance,	and	negatively	related	with	mastery	goals	and	deep	processing	of	content	(Harlow,	DeBacker,	&	Crowson,	2011).	What	are	the	implications	for	the	identification	process?	In	the	next	section,	I	will	consider	how	a	narrow	focus	shapes	how	schools	look	for	giftedness	in	students,	and	promotes	an	orientation	towards	certainty	in	teachers	and	administrators.			October	7,	2012Octob	I	open	the	big	brown	envelope,	and	a	pile	of	forms	slip	onto	my	desk.	A	resource	teacher	(RT)	has	sent	in	four	requests	for	‘P’	designations21.	Reason	given:	scored	in	the	gifted	range	on	a	test	of	cognitive	skills.	Required	documents	are	duly	attached:			I	drive	to	the	school	to	look	at	the	complete	student	files.	The	new	secretary	has	put	them	in	order	just	for	my	visit:	papers	sorted,	collated,	colour-coded.	From	documentation																																																							21	A	‘P’	designation	refers	to	the	code	assigned	to	gifted	students	by	the	BC	Ministry	of	Education	(2009b).			 43 presented,	how	can	I	differentiate	between	‘high	achieving’	and	‘gifted’	students?	Both	may	have	glowing	report	cards	(or	maybe	not	in	the	case	of	the	‘gifted’	student);	both	may	have	been	referred	to	our	Challenge	Centre	programs	(referrals	might	be	based	on	student	need,	but	might	also	be	based	on	a	teacher’s	desire	to	reward	a	good	student).	In	the	case	of	these	four	students,	the	‘P’	designation,	which	anoints	these	students	as	‘Gifted’,	appears	to	hinge	on	a	single	score	from	a	single	test.		Everyone	here	has	done	their	job:	the	resource	teacher	has	collected	the	requisite	documents,	the	secretary	has	organized	the	paperwork,	the	School	Based	Team	has	signed	off	on	the	forms	and	submitted	them	to	Central	Screening.	FYI,	it	turns	out	that	I	am	Central	Screening	for	all	‘P’	designation	referrals.	Central	Screening	is	the	committee	that	makes	decisions	about	who	does	and	does	not	qualify	for	a	‘P’.	Central	Screening	is	a	committee	of	one:	me.			Central	Screening	notes	the	following:			In	the	incident	described	in	the	above	journal	entry,	a	single	number,	a	test	score,	is	noticed,	and	sets	a	bureaucratic	machine	in	motion,	beginning	the	process	of	formal	designation.	Meetings	are	scheduled,	reports	are	compiled,	forms	are	completed,	and	information	is	organized.	Documentation	is	emphasized;	observations	are	largely	absent.	There	are	no	checklists	or	portfolios	included.	There	is	little	description	of	the	students	involved,	no	record	of	their	interests	or	passions,	no	samples	of	work	or	insightful	comments	offered	as	evidence	of	their	advanced	thinking.	There	is	no	mention	of	‘how’	these	students	are	seen	as	gifted.	There	is	no	discussion	of	their	advanced	learning	needs.	To	me,	this	narrow	view	of		 44 giftedness,	with	its	emphasis	on	paperwork	and	procedure	over	observation	of	student	talent	or	need	can	be	seen	as	evidence	of	a	system	focused	on	bureaucratic	accountability22	over	pedagogy:		If	procedure	has	been	followed,	the	School-Based	Team	has	done	its	job.	But	this	scenario	can	also	be	seen	as	a	system	failure:	by	putting	the	emphasis	on	the	designation	process,	it	seems	that	well-meaning	people	have	been	looking	in	the	wrong	place,	and	have	focused	on	the	wrong	thing.			It’s	puzzling	to	me.	In	order	for	these	students	to	have	a	test	score	from	a	cognitive	assessment,	someone	must	have	noticed	something	about	them	since	all	students	must	be	referred	by	their	school	to	our	district	screening.	Sometimes	the	referrals	are	generated	by	an	interest	in	applying	to	our	full-time	elementary	gifted	programs.	More	recently,	referrals	came	from	an	expanded	screening	opportunity	that	I	put	in	place	to	help	identify	learning	strengths	in	a	wider	range	of	students,	including	our	English-language	learners	and	twice-exceptional	students23.	In	either	case,	someone	saw	something	in	a	student,	and	put	them	forward	for	assessment.	What	was	the	‘something’?	Did	the	student	have	an	extensive	vocabulary?	Were	they	full	of	facts	and	information?	These	are	the	students	who	most	often	stand	out	as	gifted	to	teachers	and	parents.	Maybe	they	were	quick	to	finish	their	work,	or	to	master	new	skills	or	concepts.	Or	perhaps	they	loved	solving	puzzles	or	wrestling	with	complex	ideas.	If	pedagogy,	not	accountability,	is	the	focus,	any	one	of	these	observations	is	more	insightful	than	a	single	test	score.	An	observation	can	be	acted	on	–	a	student	with	an	advanced	vocabulary	can	be	given	more	challenging	books	to	read,	or	can	make	word	maps	that	trace	the	words	back	to	their	roots.	A	student	who	quickly	masters	skills	may	be	ready	for																																																							22	The	BCTF	characterizes	bureaucratic	accountability	as	enforcing	“policies	and	procedures	by	ensuring	that	actions	and	decisions	are	documented	and	recorded”	(BCTF,	2006,	unpaginated).		23	Twice-exceptional	is	a	term	often	used	to	describe	students	who	have	both	gifted	abilities	and	learning	disabilities.		 45 more	advanced	skills,	or	could	be	encouraged	to	apply	their	skills	in	increasingly	complex	or	creative	tasks.	None	of	this	requires	a	designation.	In	contrast	to	the	accountability	progression	illustrated	earlier,	where	test	scores	trigger	an	obligation	to	bureaucratic	process,	a	pedagogical	sequence	stemming	from	observation	of	a	student	might	look	like	this:		The	obligation	here	is	to	meet	the	learning	needs	of	a	student.	This	responsiveness	to	a	specific	learning	need	is	what	Matthews	and	Foster	(2005)	have	in	mind	when	they	describe	a	‘mastery	perspective’:	“it	is	essentially	about	matching	exceptional	learning	needs	with	educational	provisions”	(p.	66).	And	it	starts	by	making	an	observation	and	noticing	that	need.		If	observations	are	a	recommended	component	of	the	identification	process,	why	are	observations	missing	from	the	referrals	above?	Why	does	it	seem	that	so	many	teachers	defer	to	a	test	score	when	it	comes	to	identification	of	advanced	learning	needs?	It	may	be	an	historical	holdover	of	an	intelligence-based	superiority	that	sees	an	IQ	score	as	“the	gold	standard	for	identifying	giftedness”	(Foreman	&	Gubbins,	2014,	p.	7).	It	may	reflect	a	privileging	of	the	quantitative	over	the	qualitative,	as	mirrored	in	so	much	gifted	education	research.	I	think	it	is	possible	that	there	is	something	else	going	on.	In	their	study	of	teacher	nominations	to	gifted	programs,	Renzulli,	Siegle,	Reis,	Gavin,	and	Sytsma	Reed	(2009)	found	that	uncertainty	about	their	own	ability	to	appropriately	identify	students	was	a	significant	factor	in	under-identifying	students	and/or	their	abilities.	Eisner	(1993b)	suggests	that	those	who	lack	competence	in	a	domain	“are	often	profoundly	confused	about	what	to	look	for”	(p.83).	“We	see,	but	we	do	not	see…”	Horowitz	(2013,	p.	9)	says,	acknowledging	her	own	deficiency	in	paying	attention.	The	problem	that	she	recognizes	is	that	“no	one	tells	you	how	to	do	that”(p.	9).	Studies	of	the	aesthetic	development	of	museum	goers	(Housen,	as	cited	in	Yenawine,	1997),	suggest	that	a	lack	of	visual	literacy	skills	leads	viewers	to	distrust	their	own	judgement.	Could	it	be	that	similar	feelings	of	inadequacy,	confusion	and	lack	of	knowledge	regarding	giftedness	are	leading	teachers	to	distrust	their	own	observations	of	gifted		 46 behaviours?	If	that’s	the	case,	then	learning	how	to	look	could	help.	But	I	am	not	sure	that	this	is	the	whole	picture	yet.		Teacher	rating	scales	are	presented	as	helpful	tools	to	support	teachers	in	knowing	how	to	look	for	giftedness.	Two	current	models,	the	Gifted	Rating	Scale	(GRS;	Pfeiffer	&	Jarosewich,	2007)	and	the	updated	Scales	for	Rating	the	Behavioral	Characteristics	of	Superior	Students	(SRBCSS;	Renzulli	et	al.,	2009)	ask	teachers	to	compare	students	to	age	peers	with	respect	to	attributes	or	actions	associated	with	giftedness.	Statements	such	as	‘Solves	problems	quickly’,	‘Demonstrates	advanced	reasoning	skills’	(GRS	online	tutorial)	or	‘enjoys	challenging	math	puzzles,	games,	and	logic	problems’,	‘is	able	to	express	fine	shades	of	meaning	by	using	a	large	stock	of	synonyms’	(SRBCSS,	unpaginated)	direct	a	teacher’s	attention	to	an	observable	quality	or	habit24.	While	the	GRS	statements	are	more	ambiguous		–	What	kind	of	problems	are	being	solved?	What	is	meant	by	advanced	reasoning?	–	the	SRBCSS	questions	are	focused,	leaving	little	room	for	misinterpretation	or	uncertainty.	The	statements	are	directing	the	teacher’s	gaze,	they	are	suggesting	where	to	look:	‘Have	I	observed	this	student	playing	math	games	and	puzzles?	Does	she	enjoy	that	activity	more	than	others?	Hmmm.	Have	I	paid	attention	to	that	student’s	choice	of	words?	Is	he	more	precise	than	his	classmates?	Does	he	know	and	use	more	synonyms?	Huh.’	Knowing	what	to	look	at	and	where	to	look	is	a	form	of	expertise	–	and	access	to	this	expertise	is	what	I	think	teachers	and	administrators	were	wanting	when	they	called	me,	in	my	consultant	role,	to	‘take	a	look’	at	a	child.	Rating	scales	might	help	them	develop	this	expertise	for	themselves.		Looking	is,	however,	less	straightforward	than	it	seems.	It’s	not	just	getting	the	grain-size	right.	The	philosopher	Mark	Johnson	(2007)	states,	“What	we	emphasize	and,	conversely,	what	we	ignore	will	make	all	the	difference	in	what	‘things’	mean	to	us”	(p.	269).	Consider	the	use	of	a	teacher	rating	scale	in	gifted	identification	with	Johnson	in	mind.	A	teacher	with	little	experience	or	education	in	working	with	gifted	students	may	feel	insecure	about	their	own																																																							24	As	Eisner	(1993b)	notes:	“Propositional	language	functions	as	a	pointer	or	instrument	that	directs	our	attention	to	qualities	other	than	itself”	(p.	83).		 47 observations,	as	Eisner	(1993b)	and	Renzulli	et	al.	(2009)	noted.	A	rating	scale	might	help	alleviate	that	uncertainty	because	each	statement,	in	effect,	suggests	‘Look	at	this	–	this	is	important.’	But	the	use	of	a	rating	scale	doesn’t	necessarily	contribute	to	the	teacher’s	expertise.	The	purpose	of	rating	scales	is	to	screen	students	for	further	identification	and	participation	in	gifted	programs	(Renzulli,	2009;	Pfeiffer	&	Jarosewich,	2007).	These	‘instruments’	are	developed	to	be	reliable,	objective	and	practical	measures;	they	are	rigorously	designed	and	tested,	and	their	merits	are	discussed	in	academic	articles	full	of	statistical	analysis.	Teacher	observations,	as	captured	in	a	rating	scale,	are	part	of	a	collection	of	data:	the	observations	are	rated,	weighted,	and	collated	into	scores	that	are	then	compared	with	other	scores	in	order	to	identify	giftedness	in	the	observed	student.	Any	single	observation,	which	on	its	own	might	offer	insight	to	the	teacher	regarding	a	child’s	thinking	or	capability,	has	no	validity	within	this	scientific	framework.	The	conversion	of	an	observation	to	a	score	further	emphasizes	the	quantitative	nature	of	this	scientific	approach.	An	educator	who	is	familiar	with	experimental	methods	might	not	think	twice	about	this.	For	others	though,	it	is	possible	that	in	the	translation	of	an	observation	statement	to	a	number,	a	line	has	been	marked	between	the	subjective	and	the	objective,	with	the	latter	culturally	weighted	as	more	‘valid’.	But	there	could	also	be	something	else	going	on	when	an	observation	is	converted	to	a	score.	Borland	(2005)	referred	to	Foucault	and	his	technologies	of	power	in	his	critique	of	the	conception	of	giftedness.	The	now	quantified	observation	can	be	interpreted	as	a	normalized	judgement.	For	some	theorists,	this	is	suggestive	of	the	dominance	of	scientific	thinking	within	education	–	“thought	processes	that	produce	grids,	identities,	positions,	categories,	linear	progressions,	and	causalities”	(Ellsworth,	2004,	p.	120).	Think	again	to	Johnson	(2007):	“What	we	emphasize	and,	conversely,	what	we	ignore	will	make	all	the	difference	in	what	‘things’	mean	to	us”	(p.	269).	If	the	rating	scale	is	seen	to	emphasize	scores,	and	ignore	observations,	what	might	the	rating	scale	‘mean’	to	the	participating	teacher?	I	see	a	powerful	bureaucratic	machine	gearing	up,	and	if	I	were	the	teacher,	I	would	get	out	of	the	way.			 48 I	do	not	distrust	numbers.	I	am	not	against	testing.	I	have	seen	for	myself	how	charting	their	math	drill	progress	on	a	graph	can	give	students	a	sense	of	accomplishment.	Numbers	matter.	I	have	also	seen	how	results	–	yes,	scores	–	from	ability	testing	can	spark	insightful	conversations	about	possibilities	for	students.	My	intention	here	is	to	point	out	that,	when	it	comes	to	looking	for	giftedness,	many	teachers	are	unsure	where	to	look	or	what	to	look	for,	and	that	the	processes	we	put	in	place	to	support	identification	are	too	often	subsumed	by	bureaucratic	purpose	to	be	enlightening	and	empowering	for	the	teachers	involved.		To	return	to	where	this	chapter	started,	this	last	section	addressed	a	narrow	form	of	attention	that	is	often	engaged	in	the	identification	of	giftedness.	A	narrow	focus	is	not	necessarily	a	bad	thing	–	what	I	hope	I	have	made	clear	is	that	directed	observation	can	lead	to	important	insights	about	students,	and	more	equitable	ways	of	identifying	student	strengths.	But	at	this	point,	I	would	like	to	consider	how	McGilchrist’s	(2009)	concept	of	focused	attention	might	offer	insights	into	the	fixedness	of	ideas	about	giftedness.		McGilchrist	(2009)	suggests	that	the	right	hemisphere	is	open	to	‘whatever	is’,	that	it	can	apprehend	anything	new,	across	domains	–	new	experiences,	new	information,	new	skills	–	and	that	it	can	also	more	readily	revise	assumptions	and	information.	“The	right	hemisphere	is,	in	other	words,	more	capable	of	a	frame	shift”	(p.	40).	However,	McGilchrist	notes,	once	the	‘new’	becomes	familiar,	it	becomes	the	concern	of	the	left	hemisphere,	which	‘re-cognizes’	experience:	the	left	filters,	sorts,	and	categorizes	experiences	and	information,	and	suppresses	what	is	not	currently	relevant;	the	left	constructs	the	world	by	putting	pieces	together,	and	relies	on	what	it	already	knows	about	the	world	to	do	so.	The	left	“positively	prefers	what	it	knows”	(p.	40),	and	while	this	may	make	the	left	hemisphere	more	efficient	when	things	are	routine	and	predictable,	this	same	pull	to	the	familiar	may	also	result	in	it	being	too	quick	to	recur	to	what	is	already	known.	The	left	hemisphere,	in	other	words,	is	more	fixed	in	its	outlook	–	it	tries	to	apprehend	the	new	by	reconciling	it	within	already	known	structures	and	frameworks.	And	when	the	left	hemisphere	is	in	charge,	“We	close		 49 down	perception	to	a	certainty,	instead	of	opening	up	to	possibility”	(McGilchrist,	2011,	p.	1069).		It’s	like	the	problem	of	a	square	peg	and	a	round	hole:	you	try	to	jam	the	peg	into	the	hole	because	experience	tells	you	that	is	what	you	should	do	with	pegs	and	pegboards.	This	leads	me	to	wonder	if	this	idea	can	be	extended:	is	it	possible	that	engaging	in	a	narrowly	focused	task	actually	predisposes	a	participant	to	a	fixed	way	of	thinking?	Could	it	be	that	a	narrowly	focused	task	triggers	a	default	to	the	known?	A	theory	of	embodied	cognition	might	support	this	notion,	as	it	proposes	that	meaning	is	shaped	in	part	by	our	ability	to	manipulate	objects	and	move	our	bodies	in	space,	and	by	our	experience	of	those	actions	and	interactions	(Johnson,	2007)25.	If,	then,	I	am	trying	to	promote	a	broader	notion	of	what	giftedness	looks	like,	but	I	supply	teachers	and	administrators	with	forms	and	scales	that	require	narrowly	focused	knowledge	(and	finely	tuned	hand-eye	coordination),	should	I	really	be	surprised	when	they	defer	to	what	they	already	know	about	giftedness?	Instead	of	furthering	a	narrow	focus	on	certainties,	how	can	I	encourage	teachers,	parents,	and	students	themselves	to	open	up	to	possibility?																																																							25	Johnson’s	(2007)	explication	of	embodied	cognition	outlines	how	the	physicality	of	being	in	the	world	shapes	an	embodied	and	metaphorical	knowledge	structure:	thinking	is	‘rooted’	in	bodily	experience;	“there	is	no	ontological	rupture	between	perceiving,	feeling,	and	thinking”	(p.	122).		 50 Chapter	4: Visualizing		Shifting	how	we	think	about	language	and	how	we	use	it	necessarily	alters		how	we	know	what	we	know.																																															(hooks,	1994,	p.	174)					 	 	    	The	visual	is	part	of	my	language.	I	can	scarcely	talk	without	a	piece	of	chalk,	or	marker	in	my	hand.	Ask	my	colleagues	and	they	will	tell	you	that	they	leave	a	seat	for	me	near	the	whiteboard,	knowing	that	I	will	jump	up	during	our	meetings	to	illustrate	a	point.	I	draw	diagrams,	record	key	words,	connect	ideas,	sketch	out	plans,	and	illustrate	analogies.	In	the	past	few	years,	my	own	note-taking	has	taken	a	graphic	turn:	strings	of	boldly	lettered	words	swoop	across	the	page,	shifting	in	size,	intensity	and	colour;	sketches	and	diagrams	work	out	concepts	and	ideas,	interweaving	the	verbal	and	the	visual.	What	I	have	come	to	appreciate	in	the	course	of	my	MA	studies	is	that	this	way	of	working	is	more	than	a	process	of	representing	thoughts	and	ideas.	This	is	not	re-presentation.	This	practice	actually	constitutes		 51 a	way	of	thinking:	the	visualization	of	words	and	ideas	is	my	way	of	actively	creating	connections	and	constructing	concepts;	it	is	my	way	of	making	sense.	The	visual	forms	and	informs	how	I	know	what	I	know.		My	own	ideas	about	the	importance	of	visual	thinking	have	been	shaped	by	the	work	of	notable	arts	education	researchers	Eisner	and	Greene	and	their	unwavering	belief	in	the	fundamental	importance	of	aesthetics	in,	and	of,	education	(Eisner,	1993a,	1993b,	n.d.;	Greene,	2001;	Stanley,	Greene,	Eisner,	&	Suppes,	1998).	I	have	been	influenced	in	my	thinking	by	Johnson	(2007),	who	underlines	that	the	recognition	of	the	centrality	of	aesthetics	to	meaning-making	is	an	ongoing	project:	We	need	a	Dewey	for	the	21st	century.	That	is,	we	need	a	philosophy	that		sees	aesthetics	as	not	just	about	art,	beauty,	and	taste	but	rather	as	how	human	beings	experience	and	make	meaning.	(p.	212,	italics	in	the	original)		 	This	research	from	the	arts	and	philosophy	has	been	supported	by	readings	in	psychology,	neuroscience,	and	math	and	science	education	that	elaborate	the	role	of	visual	perception	in	the	development	of	mental	models,	concepts,	and	abstract	thought	(Andersen,	2014;	Arnheim,	1969,	1973;	Butcher,	2006;	Gooding,	2004,	2006;	McGilchrist,	2009,	2011;	McNeil,	2015;	Smith,	2008;	Thomas,	1999).	Moreover,	I	have	been	greatly	influenced	by	the	proliferation	of	visual	ways	of	communicating	ideas	and	information	in	popular	media. From	the	humble	doodle	(Brown,	2011)	to	sophisticated	data	visualization	(Lima,	2011),	the	increasing	use	of	infographics,	graphic	facilitation,	and	visual	recording	speaks	to	the	impact	of	visual	modes	of	communication	in	contemporary	culture	(Ali-Khan	&	Siry,	2014;	Davies,	2011;	Gooding,	2004;	Lima,	2011;	Sibbet,	2008).	Visual	thinking	is	being	championed	as	the	future	of	problem-solving:		Using	our	innate	ability	to	see	–	both	with	our	eyes	and	our	mind’s	eye	–	gives	us	entirely	new	ways	to	discover	hidden	ideas,	develop	those	ideas	intuitively,	and	then	share	those	ideas	with	other	people	in	a	way	they	are	simply	going	to	‘get.’	(Roam,	2014,	unpaginated,	italics	in	the	original)		 52 For	all	this	new-found	attention,	researchers	who	have	studied	innovators	in	both	the	arts	and	the	sciences	describe	how	the	visual	has	constituted	part	of	the	creative	thinking	process	for	scientists,	philosophers	and	writers	stretching	back	from	Einstein	and	Picasso	to	DaVinci	and	Galileo	to	ancient	history	(Andersen,	2014;	Card,	Mackinlay,	&	Schneiderman,	1999;	Gooding,	2004;	Grandin,	2009;	Larkin	&	Simon,	1987;	Marshall,	2007;	Miller,	2000;	Smith,	2008).	As	Smith	(2008)	puts	it,	“Humans	are	highly	visual	creatures”	(p.	260).	I	understand	aesthetic	vision	as	a	vision	of	possibilities	for	the	future.	I	believe	that	visual	thinking	enables	us	to	grasp	possibilities	in	the	here	and	now.	I	am	convinced	that	visualization	enables	us	to	see	our	thinking,	and	to	move	it	forward.	I	am	concerned	that	a	whole	way	of	thinking	is	being	ignored	when	the	visual	is	left	out	of	research	on	giftedness	and	gifted	education.	In	the	last	chapter	I	explored	how	focused	attention	can	constrain	thinking.	My	interest	in	this	chapter	is	considering	some	of	the	ways	that	visual	thinking	works	to	open	up	possibilities.	Here	I	will	look	at	some	instances	where	I	used	visualizations	to	communicate	information,	extend	thinking,	and	shift	perceptions	for	my	students	and	my	colleagues.			Visualizing	information:	The	power	of	diagrams		Trees,	circle	diagrams,	graphs	and	charts	organized	knowledge	itself,		providing	frameworks	for	visualizing	relationships	that	led	to	paradigmatic		leaps	in	many	disciplines.			 	 	 	 														Christianson,	2012,	p.	12		When	asked	to	write	on	the	curriculum	of	the	future	for	a	special	issue	of	the	Cambridge	Journal	of	Education,	Heath	(2000)	focused	on	visual	literacy,	and	looked	to	research	in	neurobiology	and	child	development	for	support.	Her	article,	‘Seeing	our	Way	into	Learning,’	made	a	case	for	a	critical	role	for	visual	literacies	in	fostering	collaborative	learning	environments.	Heath’s	assertion	that	the	visual	can	enhance	the	comprehension	of		 53 theoretical	concepts	aligns	with	theorists	like	Eisner	(1993a,	1993b)	who	sees	the	ability	to	abstract	as	a	key	value	inherent	in	visual	learning.	Other	researchers	looking	at	visual	thinking	emphasize	the	utility	of	visual	representations	in	“conceptualising	and	representing	complex	data”	(Buckley	&	Waring,	2013,	p.	150),	and	in	aiding	students	and	teachers	in	remembering,	understanding	and	analyzing	relationships	and	their	component	parts	(Davies,	2011).	Humans	respond	to	patterns	quickly	and	automatically	(Gooding,	2004).	When	information	is	organized	into	visual	forms	–	diagrams,	sketches,	charts,	graphs	–	it	is	more	readily	comprehensible	and	memorable	(Christianson,	2012).	When	it	comes	to	understanding,	the	visual	can	help.		In	my	work	as	a	district	consultant,	I	frequently	made	presentations	about	advanced	learning	needs	to	teachers	and	administrators.	A	huge	impediment	to	this	work	was	a	commonlyheld	misperception	that	highly	able	students	were	doing	alright	on	their	own,	and	that	programs	to	meet	their	advanced	learning	needs	were	nice	rather	than	necessary.	Other	student	needs	were	regarded	as	more	urgent,	and	from	a	social	justice	standpoint,	more	important.	Gifted	education	programs	were	seen	by	many	colleagues	as	elitist	and	inequitable,	a	notion	summed	up	in	the	phrase	‘giving	gifts	to	the	gifted’.	My	presentations	would	not	have	any	impact	if	I	could	not	shift	those	perceptions.	Conscious	of	the	complex	nature	of	our	diverse	school	district,	I	looked	for	a	way	to	communicate	the	inherent	injustice	of	not	meeting	those	advanced	learning	needs.	It	wasn’t	enough	to	tell	my	colleagues	that	advanced	learning	needs	mattered:	I	needed	them	to	‘get	it’.	I	adapted	a	visual	from	An	Introduction	to	Gifted	Education	(Neumeister	&	Burney,	2011)	to	make	my	point:		 54 	When	I	showed	this	slide,	nodding	heads	and	audible	exclamations	told	me	that	my	colleagues	understood.	The	pie	chart	captures	the	predicament	of	an	advanced	learner	in	a	simple	diagram	–	you	don’t	need	to	read	the	numbers	to	know	that	the	gifted	student,	who	is	as	deserving	as	any	other	child,	is	not	getting	a	year’s	growth	for	a	year	of	schooling	(Hattie,	2015).		When	it	came	time	to	explain	a	new	way	of	looking	at	gifted	education	programming	in	our	district,	I	again	relied	on	diagrams	to	help	make	information	clear	and	understandable:		!!                                                                                       Adapted from: An Introduction to Gifted Education, by Kristie Neumeister & Virginia Harvey, Prufrock Press 2011  	 55 	These	tiers	of	programming	were	further	elaborated	in	a	more	detailed	handout26:																																																										26	These	diagrams	are	included	to	highlight	the	consistency	in	graphic	design	from	one	presentation	to	another.	The	text	is	not	meant	to	be	legible,	as	the	content	is	not	relevant	to	the	discussion.			Gifted Ed & Response to Intervention (RtI)  ASCENDING)INTELLECTUAL)DEMAND)Tier)1:)UNIVERSAL)DESIGN))))))))))))))))))))80790%)Tier)3:)INTENSIVE)INTERVENTION))))))))))175%)DesignaAon)and)IEP)support)AcceleraAon)Mentorship)Program)Seminar)Program)MACC)Program)))))))Tier)2:)TARGETED)SUPPORT)))))))))))))))))))5710%)	 56 The	visuals	above	became	the	basis	for	many	conversations	and	discussions,	as	I	oriented	those	who	were	new	to	gifted	education,	and	reoriented	those	who	were	encountering	a	change	in	processes	and	framework.	Although	it	meant	frequent	tussles	with	an	administrative	assistant	who	had	her	own	entrenched	style	for	gifted	education	newsletters	and	forms,	I	was	deliberate	in	bringing	a	design	sensibility	and	consistency	to	the	presentations	and	paperwork	I	produced.	Through	these	diagrams,	I	strove	to	share	information	in	a	way	that	would	be	easily	understood,	in	order	to	communicate	“in	the	most	effective	and	engaging	way	possible”	(Sword,	2012,	p.	169).			My	intention	in	using	these	diagrams	in	these	pages	is	the	same	as	it	was	for	using	them	in	my	presentations:	to	communicate	ideas	and	processes.	But	my	purpose	here	is	different	–	what	I	will	explore	here	is	how	these	diagrams	work,	and	why	that	matters.			Consider	the	basic	elements	of	the	above	diagrams,	the	circle	and	the	triangle:																			 							This	is	elementary	school	geometry,	familiar,	recognizable.	But	these	shapes	also	embody	metaphors.	The	circle	suggests	wholeness,	equality,	and	the	triangle	embodies	hierarchy	in	its	pyramidal	form.	These	implicit	metaphors	then	extend	further:	when	the	circle	becomes	a	pie	chart,	it	is	easy	to	see	at	a	glance	that	the	whole	of	the	pie	is	not	being	portioned	out	equally	–	someone	is	not	getting	their	fair	share.	Now	compare	the	triangular	Response	to	Intervention	(RtI)	diagram	with	the	tiered-service	model	presented	in	our	district	handout,	a	four-tiered	booklet:	!!                                                                                       Adapted from: An Introduction to Gifted Education, by Kristie Neumeister & Virginia Harvey, Prufrock Press 2011  Gifted Ed & Response to Intervention (RtI)  ASCENDING)INTELLECTUAL)DEMAND)Tier)1:)UNIVERSAL)DESIGN))))))))))))))))))))80790%)Tier)3:)INTENSIVE)INTERVENTION))))))))))175%)DesignaAon)and)IEP)support)AcceleraAon)Mentorship)Program)Seminar)Program)MACC)Program)))))))Tier)2:)TARGETED)SUPPORT)))))))))))))))))))5710%)	 57 			Both	visuals	are	explicit	in	outlining	a	progression	of	steps	from	one	tier	to	the	next,	and	both	are	suggestive	of	the	increasing	complexity	of	each	tier	by	allotting	more	physical	space	to	each	subsequent	level.	But	the	triangle	additionally	suggests	a	hierarchy	of	service.	The	tiers	start	from	a	broad	base	and	move	towards	the	acute	apex	of	the	triangle.	The	hierarchy	of	the	triangle,	combined	with	the	increasing	service	options	in	each	tier,	implies	that	there	are	fewer	services	for	all	at	the	lowest	level,	and	more	services	for	fewer	students	at	the	top:	it	is	encoding	tiers	of	service	that	apply	to	fewer	students	and	more	acute	needs.			I	am	not	so	presumptuous	as	to	suggest	that	the	two	diagrams	I	used	–	the	pie	chart	and	the	RtI	triangle	–	have	lead	to	“paradigmatic	leaps”	(Christianson,	2012,	p.	12)	in	understanding	for	those	with	whom	I	have	shared	them.	I	do	believe,	though,	that	they	have	made	a	difference.	But	I	am	emboldened	by	my	understanding	of	perception	and	embodied	cognition	(Johnson,	2007;	McGilchrist,	2009),	visual	thinking	and	visual	literacy	(Arnheim,	1969;	Chaplin,	2006;	Dondis,	1973;	Sadokierski,	2010)	to	suggest	that	these	visuals	resonate	with	viewers	in	a	way	that	words	on	their	own	do	not.	This	resonance	is	embodied,	metaphorical,	and	implicit,	and	it	is	these	qualities	that	give	diagrams	their	power.		It	is,	I	think,	a	lack	of	that	resonance	that	struck	me	in	my	survey	of	gifted	education	journals	in	Chapter	2.	Few	of	the	visuals	I	encountered	in	those	academic	articles	exerted	any	visual	power;	tables	and	graphs	simply	relayed	data	in	conventional	formats	–	few	resonated	in	the		 58 same	way	as	the	diagrams	described	above.	Why	is	that?	If	the	purpose	of	academic	writing	is	to	“communicate	ideas	and	arguments	to	readers	in	the	most	effective	and	engaging	way	possible”	(Sword,	2012,	p.	169;	italics	added),	why	are	effective	visualizations	ignored?	It	would	appear	that	current	academic	conventions	for	data	visualization	constrain	the	impact	of	visuals,	and	so	the	rectangle	rules	in	graphs	and	tables.	If	the	rectangle	resonates	metaphorically,	it	is	with	stability,	even	immovability.	Ellsworth	(2004)	sees	a	culturally	coded	grid	to	which	experiences	are	pinned	while	Dondis	(1973)	sees	a	square	–	honest,	workmanlike	and	dull.			 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 		Visualization,	metaphor,	and	metacognition		When	I	taught	in	our	district	gifted	program,	I	often	began	the	year	by	having	students	complete	simple,	informal	surveys	about	learning	preferences	and	learning	styles.	They	filled	out	Multiple	Intelligence	profiles,	and	Left	brain/Right	brain	self-assessments,	checklists	and	rating	scales.	I	may	cringe	now	at	the	naivety	of	these	questionnaires,	but	I	was	conscious	even	then	of	their	lack	of	scientific	credibility,	and	cautioned	my	students	accordingly	about	the	validity	of	the	results.	All	the	same,	I	found	these	to	be	useful	tools	for	encouraging	metacognition	–	getting	students	to	think	about	their	own	thinking.	The	profile	of	a	head,	copied	from	who	knows	where,	was	a	persistent	motif	throughout	these	investigations:	I	used	it	as	a	visual	frame	for	reflective	writing,	note-taking,	and	as	the	template	for	students	to	construct	their	own	metaphors	of	thinking.	Again,	I	am	now	all	too	aware	of	how	this	use	of	a	head	profile	could	be	seen	as	problematic:	it	positions	the	head	as	a	disembodied	site	of	thinking	and	reflection,	and	reinforces	the	constraints	of	a	mind/body	dichotomy.	At	the	time,	however,	the	profile	was	my	innocent	visual	cue	for	my	students	to	‘get	inside’	their	thinking.	I	also	used	profiles	as	visual	reminders	to	both	my	students	and	myself	to	keep	in	mind	the	range	of	learning	styles	and	strengths	in	our	learning	community:	large	profiles	dedicated	to	each	of	the	eight	multiple	intelligences	hung	prominently	around	the	classroom,	each	inscribed	with	the	names	of	those	(including	me)	who	found	that	particular	intelligence	to	match	with	a	self-assessed	learning	strength.			 59 	I	was	concerned	that	my	fact-filled	students	were	too	literal	in	their	perceptions	and	interpretations,	and	was	always	looking	for	strategies	to	help	them	see	patterns	and	make	deeper	connections.	I	became	interested	in	the	role	of	metaphor	in	meaning-making,	researched	common	metaphors	for	thinking,	and	developed	a	few	of	my	own	metaphors	to	share	with	my	students.	Once	again	I	used	the	head	profile	as	a	visual	cue	for	thinking	in	my	visualizations	of	metaphors.	Thinking	as	driving	in	a	busy	city	was	one	of	the	metaphors	that	seemed	to	really	click:	 60 		 61 			 62 	 		 63 This	metaphor	was	particularly	useful	when	talking	to	students	about	being	‘stuck’	in	some	way	with	a	problem.	Gifted	students	often	have	few	social-emotional	resources	for	dealing	with	setbacks	(Mueller	&	Dweck,	1998).	They	can	harbour	the	false	impression	that	being	smart	means	they	should	know	the	answer,	find	the	work	easy,	do	it	quickly,	and	make	no	mistakes	(Mueller	&	Dweck,	1998).	I	often	had	to	remind	students	and	parents	that	those	attributes	didn’t	describe	‘being	smart’;	they	described	being	under-challenged.	However,	the	mind-set	those	attributes	illustrate	was	resistant	to	change.	Being	able	to	externalize	the	problem	through	a	visual	metaphor	seemed	to	help.	It	allowed	the	student	to	step	back	from	the	problem	and	see	it	differently.	Consider	the	metaphor	that	thinking	is	like	driving	through	a	busy	city.	The	metaphor	of	being	a	driver	in	city	traffic	acknowledged	that	getting	stuck	is	a	common	occurrence	–	slowdowns	and	stoppages	are	to	be	expected.	Second,	the	metaphor	offered	a	viewpoint	from	which	to	look	for	alternatives	–	what	are	the	options	when	faced	with	a	roadblock	of	some	kind?	A	driver	may	choose	to	turn	around,	take	a	different	route,	take	a	break,	or	stay	in	the	car	and	practice	some	relaxation	techniques.	The	discussion	of	the	metaphor	could	also	open	up	whole	conversations	about	journeying,	modes	of	transportation,	navigation	and	way-finding,	maps	and	GPS,	planning	and	serendipity,	and	the	people	who	support	or	thwart	travel	–	‘co-pilots’	and	passengers,	traffic	cops	and	fellow	drivers,	pedestrians,	cyclists,	and	construction	crews.			How	do	metaphors	work,	and	how	might	they	connect	with	visualization	and	metacognition?	Metacognition	refers	to	the	awareness	and	regulation	of	our	thinking	processes,	with	metacognitive	knowledge	and	control	representing	the	two	main	aspects	of	this	process.	Research	suggests	that	expert	problem	solvers	tend	to	be	hyper-conscious	of	their	own	thinking	(Gallagher,	1997),	and	the	use	of	metaphors	has	been	shown	to	help	students	and	teachers	better	understand	their	own	thinking	(Chapman,	1997;	Early,	1992;	Munby	&	Russell,	1990).	Metaphors	open	up	new	worlds	or	encourage	reframing	of	existing	ones	in	new	ways	(Lipari,	2014).	In	their	groundbreaking	work,	Philosophy	and	the	Flesh,	Lakoff	and	Johnson	(1999)	put	forward	the	theory	that	metaphors	are	developed	in	and	through	the	body,	grounding	thinking,	and	supplying	“the	logic,	the	imagery,	and	the	qualitative	feel	of	sensorimotor	experience	to	abstract	concepts”	(p	128).	With	their	theory	in	mind,	the	metaphor	of	the	driver	in	traffic	works		 64 because	my	students	and	I	had	experienced	the	situation	of	being	stuck	in	traffic,	and	could	transfer	all	our	bodily	knowledge	of	that	situation	to	understanding	a	different	situation.	Lakoff	and	Johnson	(1999)	make	clear	the	embodied	nature	of	metaphor,	that	this	meaning-making	involves	all	bodily	sensations.	The	process	of	visualization	draws	on	this	full	range	of	bodily	knowledge.	Visual	literacy	is	bound	up	in	metaphoric	understandings.	As	Heath	(2000)	describes	it,	“The	visual…enables	understanding	of	metaphor	–	our	ability	to	map	interactions,	experiences	and	cognitive	operations	across	concepts	to	form	images”	(p.	124).	Poet	Jan	Zwicky	(2010)	acknowledges	the	often	highly	visual	nature	of	metaphor,	describing	it	as	“a	seeing	of	one	thing	in	terms	of	another…a	kind	of	re-cognition”	by	which	images	or	ideas	are	“pulled	into	revealing	alignment	with	one	another”	(p.	9).	Metaphors	work	because	they	bring	together	the	familiar	and	the	novel.	The	visualization	of	the	metaphor	works	because	it	doesn’t	just	capitalize	on	the	visual	nature	of	metaphor,	it	manifests	it,	and	makes	the	metaphor	immediately	available	to	be	experienced	by	the	viewer.	There	is	a	recursive	transaction	at	play	here:	metaphors	promote	meaning-making	through	bodily	resonances,	and	the	visual	opens	up	metaphoric	possibility.						 		 65 Chapter	5: Understanding,	or	“Using	vision	to	think”27		Discovering,	making,	and	communicating	meaning	is	our	full-time	job.	(Johnson,	2007,	p.	17)			In	the	previous	chapter,	I	looked	at	how	visualizations	work	–	how	diagrams	and	visual	metaphors	convey	information,	and	promote	understanding.	In	this	chapter,	my	interest	is	digging	deeper	into	the	process	of	understanding,	and	exploring	how	physical	and	mental	visualizations	generated	through	the	process	of	visual	thinking	contribute	to	comprehension	and	novel	ideas.	I	start	by	looking	at	the	perspectives	of	two	researchers,	Arnheim	(1969)	and	Gooding	(2004,	2006,	2010),	who	come	to	their	understanding	of	the	process	of	visual	thinking	from	the	arts	(Arnheim)	and	science	(Gooding).	I	then	consider	how	these	ideas	around	visual	thinking	align	with	the	neuroscience	findings	of	McGilchrist	(2009)	and	Kounios	and	Beeman	(2014)	regarding	attention	and	insight.	Following	from	that	discussion,	I	examine	my	own	visual	thinking	process	through	a	verbal/visual	essay.		In	his	classic	book,	Visual	Thinking,	Arnheim	(1969)	describes	the	mental	operations	he	understands	to	be	involved	in	the	cognitive	process	of	perception:	“Active	exploration,	selection,	grasping	of	essentials,	simplification,	abstraction,	analysis	and	synthesis,	completion,	correction,	comparison,	problem	solving…combining,	separating,	putting	in	context”	(p.	13).	He	goes	on	to	the	refute	the	“false	dichotomy	between	perceiving	and	thinking”	(Johnson,	2007,	p.	226)	that	is	embedded	in	much	of	Western	thought:			 I	see	no	way	of	withholding	the	name	of	“thinking”	from	what	goes	on			 in	perception.	No	thought	processes	seem	to	exist	that	cannot	be	found			 to	operate,	at	least	in	principle,	in	perception.	Visual	perception	is				visual	thinking.	(Arnheim,	1969,	p.	24)		Visual	perception	is	visual	thinking.	At	the	time,	Arnheim’s	(1969)	idea	was	a	radical	jolt	that	challenged	the	dominant	view	that	understood	perception	as	a	physical	act	of	data	transfer	from																																																							27	(Card	et	al.,	1999,	p.	1)		 66 the	senses,	with	no	active	role	in	concept	development	(G.	Sullivan,	2010).	Since	then,	however,	Arnheim’s	idea	has	been	taken	up	by	a	wide	range	of	researchers	and	theorists	(Eisner,	1993b;	Johnson,	2007;	McGilchrist,	2009;	G.	Sullivan,	2010).	And	yet,	some	thirty	years	after	Arnheim’s	iconic	book	appeared,	Gooding	(2004)	wrote,	“We	still	lack	an	understanding	of	how	visual	thinking	works”.	Around	that	same	time,	Johnson	(2007)	posed	a	parallel,	and	equally	perplexing,	question:	“How	is	novelty	possible?	As	far	as	I	can	see,	nobody	has	yet	been	able	to	explain	how	new	experience	emerges”	(p.	13).	Here	then,	is	the	project	of	this	chapter.	I	do	not	presume	to	answer	what	Johnson	terms	“one	of	the	most	difficult	problems	in	all	philosophy,	psychology,	and	science”	(p.	13),	but	I	intend	to	explore	these	questions	further	with	the	help	of	neuroscience	and	art.			As	noted	earlier	in	this	thesis,	visual	thinking	has	been	recognized	as	a	significant	contributor	to	success	in	STEM	occupations	(Andersen,	2014;	Kalbfleisch	&	Gillmarten,	2013;	Liben,	2009;	Lubinski,	2010)	and	progress	in	scientific	thinking	(Gooding,	2006,	2010;	Smith,	2008;	Thomas,	1999).	Given	that	even	an	elementary	science	fair	understanding	of	the	scientific	method	acknowledges	the	role	of	careful	observation	in	experimentation	and	the	importance	of	diagrams	in	recording	data,	I	find	Gooding’s	pronouncement	that	visual	thinking	is	not	yet	understood	surprising,	coming	from	a	scientist.	But	Gooding’s	research	into	scientific	visual	thinking	(2004,	2006,	2010)	makes	for	illuminating	reading.	He	does	not	proclaim	the	superiority	of	“scientific	ways	of	knowing”	(2004,	p.	279)	as	they	are	commonly	understood:	as	the	“rational	process	of	reasoning	about	facts	according	to	logical	or	statistical	models	of	human	inference”	(p.	279).	Rather,	Gooding	makes	a	claim	for	the	role	of	visual	intuition	in	scientific	discovery.	In	his	research,	he	examines	how	scientists	use	sketches,	photographs,	models	and	words	to	both	develop	and	communicate	new	knowledge,	and	characterizes	this	process	as:	a	dialectical	play	of	simple	and	complex	images,	as	scientists	move	from	interpreting	novel	or	unfamiliar	information	through	hypotheses	expressing	its		possible	meanings,	to	arguments	that	situate	the	information	as	evidence	for	an		agreed	explanation.	(Gooding,	2004,	p.	280)		 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 	Gooding	(2004)	describes	how	this	‘dialectical	play’	of	wrestling	with	the	interpretation	and	communication	of	novel	phenomena	nurtures	emergent	meaning:	“Increased	complexity	and		 67 information	density	make	it	more	difficult	to	think	with	in	a	consistent	and	general	manner,	leading	to	a	new	cycle	of	abstraction”	(p.	281).	This	is	an	unruly	process	–	and	the	elegant	scientific	argument	that	is	presented	in	the	end	belies	the	messiness	of	thinking	and	intuitive	thought	that	led	to	the	development	of	that	argument.	As	Gooding	notes,	the	nonlinear	visual	thinking	behind	the	argument	is	rarely	visible	in	the	end,	as	most	scientists	“edit	out	everything	that	success	has	shown	to	be	unnecessary	to	establishing	a	result”	(p.	281)	in	writing	up	their	work.	And	although	a	key	feature	of	scientific	visualization	is	“the	plasticity	and	the	integrative	power	of	multiple	images”	(Gooding,	2009,	p.	16),	what	scientists	commit	to	paper	appears	certain,	stable,	and	singular.			In	the	‘writing	up’,	the	unruly	process	of	thinking	is	articulated	through	words	joined	into	sentences	stretching	across	a	page,	and	the	mess	of	active,	visual	thinking	is	tidied	away.	Language	is	not	always	linear,	as	Arnheim	(1969)	acknowledges28,	but	intellectual	thinking,	such	as	the	articulation	in	words	of	a	scientific	argument,	is	linear	in	its	construction:		 Intellectual	thinking…strings	perceptual	concepts	in	linear	succession.	Caught			 in	a	four-dimensional	world	of	sequence	and	spatial	simultaneity,	the	mind			 operates,	on	one	hand,	intuitively	by	apprehending	the	products	of	freely			 interacting	field	forces;	on	the	other	hand,	it	cuts	one-dimensional	paths			 through	the	spatial	landscape	intellectually.	(p.	246)		McGilchrist	(2009)	connects	this	one-dimensional	linearity	to	hemispheric	attention:	“It	is	via	denotative	language	and	linear,	sequential	analysis	that	we	pin	things	down	and	making	them	clear	and	precise	equates	with	seeing	the	truth,	as	far	as	the	left	hemisphere	is	concerned”	(p.	135).	With	McGilchrist	in	mind,	it	seems	that	what	Arnheim	recognizes	as	intellectual,	linear	thinking	is	the	focused	logic	of	the	left	hemisphere,	contrasted	with	the	intuitive,	holistic	view	of	the	right.																																																									28	Arnheim	(1969)	offers	conversation,	operatic	quartets	and	concrete	poetry	as	examples	of	‘unlinear’	verbal	sequences	(p.	246).		 68 I	began	this	section	by	listing	the	mental	operations	Arnheim	(1969)	ascribes	to	visual	thinking	–	a	list	that	is	interestingly	similar	to	the	critical	and	creative	thinking	skills	enumerated	in	the	new	BC	Core	Competencies	(B.C.	Ministry	of	Education,	2013).	Consider	some	of	those	thinking	skills	–	analysis	and	synthesis,	comparison,	combining,	separating	–	in	looking	at	the	following	statements	from	Gooding	(2010)	and	McGilchrist	(2009):	Gooding:	The	ability	to	create	and	manipulate	visual	representations	is	a	cognitive	skill	acquired	as	a	scientist	becomes	an	accomplished	participant	in…a	particular	domain.	Innovations,	in	particular,	require	the	ability	to	introduce	novel	ways	of	seeing	and	thinking	into	an	existing	framework	of	concepts,	categories,	and	models.	Innovations	may	be	provoked	by	anomalies	in	observational	data…and	by	the	need	to	integrate	information	that	originates	from	disparate	sources.		(2010,	p.	16)	McGilchrist:	What	is	offered	by	the	right	hemisphere	to	the	left	hemisphere	is	offered	back	again	and	taken	up	into	a	synthesis	involving	both	hemispheres.	This	must	be	true	of	the	processes	of	creativity….	There	is	a	progress	from	an	intuitive	apprehension	of	whatever	it	may	be,	via	a	more	formal	process	of	enrichment	through	conscious,	detailed	analytic	understanding,	to	a	new,	enhanced	intuitive	understanding	of	this	whole,	now	transformed	by	the	process	it	has	undergone.	(2009,	p.	206)		 	Summarizing	the	views	put	forward	by	Arnheim,	Gooding,	and	McGilchrist,	using	vision	to	think	requires	intuition	and	analysis,	attention	to	specific	data	and	an	apprehension	of	the	whole,	the	integration	of	information	from	disparate	sources	and	the	synthesis	of	dialectical	interaction,	and	it	is	the	play	between	these	that	leads	to	innovation.				“It	is	by	logic	that	we	prove,	but	by	intuition	that	we	discover”	(Poincaré,	as	cited	by	Arnheim,	1969,	p.	274).	By	popular	accounts,	Poincaré	was	a	firm	believer	in	the	role	of	intuition	in	mathematical	discovery	(Resonance	Publishing,	2016;	Mastin,	2010),	and	he	cultivated	his	flashes	of	insight	by	scheduling	time	in	his	day	for	subconscious	processing29	(Mastin,	2010).	Johnson	(2007)	describes	meaning-making	as	a	full-time	job,	but	states	that	it	is	not	usually																																																						29	Poincaré’s	regime	is	described	as	“2	hours	of	work	in	the	morning,	and	two	hours	in	the	early	evening,	with	the	intervening	time	left	for	his	subconscious	to	carry	on	working	on	the	problem	in	the	hope	of	a	flash	of	inspiration”	(Mastin,	2010,	para.	3)		 69 conscious	or	intentional:	“Mostly,	meaning	emerges	for	us	beneath	the	level	of	our	conscious	awareness.	Meaning	is	happening	without	our	knowing	it”	(p.	17).	Interestingly,	recent	research	in	neuroscience	also	makes	a	strong	case	for	the	role	of	the	subconscious.	Kounios	and	Beeman	(2014)	found	that	“insight,	though	abrupt,	is	preceded	by	unconscious	processing,	primarily	in	the	right	hemisphere”	(p.	69).	Furthermore,	the	chance	of	achieving	insight	could	be	increased	by	broadening	attention,	and	deliberately	moving	focus	away	from	the	problem	at	hand.	Insight	is	described	scientifically	as	a	burst	of	understanding	that	comes	from	the	reorganization	of	mental	representations	into	a	“nonobvious	or	nondominant	interpretation”	(Kounios	&	Beeman,	2014,	p.	74).	In	other	words,	a	flash	of	insight	is	the	surprise	of	a	new	idea	produced	by	the	interplay	and	synthesis	of	existing,	yet	disparate	ideas	and	concepts.	This	parallels	the	productive	processes	of	innovation	and	creativity	described	earlier.	Another	finding	from	Kounios	and	Beeman’s	(2014)	study	is	that	there	are	critical	differences	between	the	kinds	of	attention	that	contribute	to	insights.	This	might	sound	familiar.	Outwardly	directed	attention,	associated	with	the	left	hemisphere,	focuses	processing	on	dominant	features,	“those	most	closely	related	to	the	dominant	interpretation	or	the	current	context”	(p.	77)	and	contributes	more	to	analytic	thinking.	Inwardly	directed	attention,	which	is	associated	with	the	right	hemisphere,	“heightens	sensitivity	to	weakly	activated	remote	associations	and	long-shot	solutions”	(p.	81),	and	contributes	more	to	insight	solving.	Further,	inwardly	focused	attention	allows	for	thinking	about	things	that	are	not	present,	and	this	psychological	distance	engages	abstract	thinking,	which,	in	turn,	encourages	“a	person	to	think	more	insightfully	and	creatively”	(Kounios	&	Beeman,	2014,	p.	82).	Aligning	these	ideas	with	McGilchrist	(2009),	outwardly	directed	attention	focuses	on	some	thing,	and	is	pulled	to	the	current	context	or	what	it	knows:	this	is	the	fixed,	narrow	attention	of	the	left	hemisphere.	It	is	the	right	hemisphere,	with	its	broad	global	gaze	pulling	to	the	edges	of	awareness,	and	its	inwardly	focused	attention	searching	for	remote	associations,	that	attends	to	possibility.		What	do	I	mean	when	I	say	that	I	am	a	visual	thinker?	How	exactly	do	I	use	vision	to	think?	The	discussions	above	have	focused	on	the	mechanics	of	visual	thinking,	and	have	highlighted	the	dynamic	interplay	of	the	known	and	the	new,	the	analytic	and	the	intuitive	in	developing	novel		 70 ideas	and	fostering	insight.	What	follows	now	is	my	attempt	to	share	the	interplay	of	actions	and	images	that	led	to	my	reconceptualization	of	the	normal	distribution	curve.	This	is	my	unruly	process,	the	dynamic	interaction	of	reading	and	sketchnoting	and	painting	and	thinking	that	led	me	to	develop	a	new	way	of	representing	giftedness.	But	I	did	not	start	out	with	that	purpose	in	mind.	I	started	by	thinking	about	painting	and	change.			November	4,	2010	Where	to	begin?	The	weave	of	the	fabric	is	coarse	under	my	hands	as	I	smooth	out	the	canvas,	dragging	my	fingers	over	thickly	laid	paint,	skimming	across	the	slick	surface	of	glued	down	paper.	No	music	today.	I	can	hear	myself	breathing,	hear	the	rasp	of	my	skin	catching	against	the	rough	surface.	My	eyes	scan,	looking	for	my	opening.	A	yellow	line	curves	down	from	the	top	edge,	branching	across	the	centre	of	the	canvas,	curling	around	circles,	cutting	across	smears	of	pink	and	green.	OK.	Start	with	yellow,	but	darker…I	take	a	palette	knife	and	smear	the	yellow	across	the	palette.	Dip	the	tip	into	blue,	and	push	the	creamy	colours	together.	I	cut	into	the	red,	my	knife	on	an	angle,	and	pull	that	paint	into	the	mix.	Turning	my	wrist,	I	push	and	pull	the	paint	across	the	palette,	the	knife	gliding	through	the	thick	mixture,	then	scraping	across	plastic	as	I	scoop	the	colours	towards	me.	Yellow	streaked	with	blue	turns	to	green,	then	brown	as	red	mixes	in.	Now	some	white.	Mmmm.	More	yellow.	I	scrape	the	palette	knife	off	on	the	side	of	the	tray	and,	turning	back	to	the	canvas,	hold	the	mixture	against	the	yellow	line.	Too	brown.	Too	dark.	Another	squeeze	of	yellow,	a	squirt	of	white.	The	mixture	lightens,	brightens,	as	I	push	and	pull	the	palette	knife	through	the	paint.	Good.	Wipe	the	knife	against	the	edge	of	the	palette,	and	set	it	on	the	newspaper.	Now	a	paintbrush	–	the	thick	green		 71 one?	No	–	thinner,	round.	Yes.	I	slide	it	out	of	the	canvas	pocket	with	my	right	hand,	dip	the	brush	in	water,	pick	up	the	palette	in	my	left	hand,	and	turn	back	to	the	canvas.	In	the	journal	excerpt	above	I	described	a	phenomenology	of	painting.	It	narrates	my	haptic	and	visual	sensations	during	a	painting	session	–	the	movement	of	my	eyes,	my	hands,	my	arms,	the	intake	of	breath	–	in	a	stream	of	words	that	are	themselves	punctuated	with	my	own	voice-over,	“Mmmm.	More	yellow….Too	brown.	Too	dark.”	I	later	performed	a	hermeneutic	investigation	of	those	painting	sessions,	citing	philosophers,	poets	and	artists	as	I	tried	to	make	sense	of	the	process	from	outside	the	experience,	interrogating	the	“not-fully-conscious	self	who	creates”	(Burd,	2010,	p.	3).	What	was	I	thinking?		What	was	I	thinking?	That	canvas	started	a	train	of	thoughts,	a	sequence	of	events.	Yet	those	phrases	are	too	linear	–	they	edit	out	the	unruly	process	of	thinking	and	understanding	as	it	played	out	over	these	past	years.	It	is	only	in	retrospect	that	there	is	a	line	that	can	be	traced	–	as	Gooding	(2004)	suggests,	finished	work	tidies	up	the	path	of	discovery.		What	was	I	thinking	about?	I	can	trace	my	thinking	back	through	some	journal	entries	–	linear	successions	of	words	on	paper	documenting…Documenting	what?	My	verbal	thoughts?	My	interior	monologue?	The	edited	written	version	of	what	I	was	thinking?														 72 Nov.	9,	2010		In	looking	at	our	canvases	–	mine	so	soothing,	encircling,	soft;	yours	so	bold	and	vibrant	–	I	knew	I	wanted	the	shock	of	your	orange.	O*,	I	have	not	felt	so	brave.	I	have	been	tiptoeing	into	the	painting	–	circling,	smoothing,	scraping	–	fixing	it	with	an	image,	a	word.	Then	the	smear	of	gesso	across,	welling	up	from	the	corner:	hiding/covering/negating	the	underneath.	And	then	on	top	of	that	my	splurge	of	colour:	vibrant	pink	at	first,	poured,	then	scraped	across,	extended,	a	glaze	of	colour.	Then	the	yellow,	red:	worked,	smeared,	pulled	in	fiery	flares	across	the	canvas,	across	my	earlier	tendrils	of	yellow.	What	release!	But	it	is	N*	who	gives	me	the	gift	of	orange	–	his	pudgy	hands	mixing	my	colours	together.			I	took	two	things	away	from	this	art-making	session,	each	equally	important	in	their	own	way.	The	spill	of	paint,	and	the	eruption	of	orange	on	my	canvas	were	transformative	–	that	was	when	I	first	understood	the	intensity	and	physicality	of	emotion	that	accompanies	change.	That	orange	fuelled	me	for	months.	But	the	repetitive	circles	lying	underneath	that	flare	of	colour	were	instructive	–	they	spoke	to	me	of	my	need	to	smooth	things	over,	to	clean	things	up,	to	complete	the	circle,	to	tie	up	loose	ends,	to	make	things	whole.	The	circling	brushstrokes,	my	smoothing,	circling	hands	repeated	a	comforting	pattern	that	was	ingrained	in	my	muscle	memory	and	imprinted	on	my	mind’s	eye.	Circles	had	resonated	with	me	for	years.		 		 73 					 		 74 	 75 April	12,	2011	In	the	shower	today,	preparing	myself	for	a	morning	of	writing,	these	two	disparate	tasks30	wove	through	my	internal	dialogue	as	ideas	about	lines	and	markers,	the	forward	motion	of	time	and	the	encircling,	looping	nature	of	memory	intertwined.	It	seems	to	me	that	the	lines	of	analysis	we	trace	through	data,	the	journey	we	trace	with	a	finger	on	a	map,	the	lines	of	poetry	and	prose	written	and	read	from	left	to	right,	the	line	of	blue	pen	writing	on	paper	–	all	speak	to	a	forward	movement,	yet	each	also	loops	back	through	evidence	and	editing	and	events	and	experience.	Researcher	and	recorder,	artist	and	sister,	teacher	and	_____	(whatever	the	word	is	that	is	the	opposite	of	the	noun	‘elder’),	I	am	conscious	of	the	intensely	personal	narrative	that	I	draw	from,	and	draw	forth.	I	am	wary	of	my	own	tracing,	unsure	of	my	line,	aware	of	the	multiple	lines	that	could	be,	should	be	drawn,	and	that	my	own	is	but	one	of	a	multiplicity,	a	single	line	of	possibility.	How	can	I	speak	for	others	from	my	own	place?			From	February	1982	to	April	1985,	the	artist	David	Hockney	was	captivated	by	the	artistic	possibilities	of	photocollage.	Beginning	with	Polaroid	prints	assembled	in	composite	grids,	Hockney	explored	the	‘Cubist	effects’	of	layered	images,	multiple	viewpoints,	and	the	static	rendering	of	movement	through	space	made	possible	when	the	’one-eyed’	single	photograph	was	replaced	by	‘joiners’	that	captured	the	sensation	of	a	moving	glance.	His	1982	portrait,	My	Mother,	Bolton	Abbey,	Yorkshire	Nov.	82,	is	typical	of	this	work31.	Multiple	borderless	35mm	prints	are	pieced	together,	overlapped,	conjoined,	to	render	the	central	image	of	his	mother	resting	against	a	flat	tombstone.	The	ruins	of	the	abbey,	and	its	grounds,	similarly	pieced																																																							30	In	an	earlier	part	of	this	journal	entry,	I	described	being	torn	between	my	academic	writing	and	the	task	of	writing	my	sister’s	eulogy.	31	Figure	7	Photocollage	has	been	removed	due	to	copyright	restrictions.	It	was	a	photocollage	comprised	of	multiple	overlapping	photographs	of	David	Hockney’s	mother	seated	on	the	grounds	of	Bolton	Abbey	.	Original	source:	Hockney,	D.	(Artist)	(1982)	My	Mother,	Bolton	Abbey,	Yorkshire	Nov.	82	#4	(photocollage).	In	Tate	Gallery,	L.,	Tuchman,	M.,	Barron,	S.,	Weschler,	L.,	Los	Angeles	County	Museum	of	Art,	&	Metropolitan	Museum	of	Art	(New	York,	N.Y.).	(1988).	David	hockney	:	A	retrospective,	p	215.	Los	Angeles,	Calif:	Los	Angeles	County	Museum	of	Art	;	London	:	Thames	and	Hudson.			 76 together	and	in	focus,	background	the	subject.	In	the	foreground,	the	grass	and	a	few	scattered	autumn	leaves	fill	the	space	between	his	mother’s	sensible	black	shoes	and	the	tips	of	the	artist’s	brogues,	seen	just	breaking	the	irregular	frame	of	the	photo	collage’s	lower	edge.			Circling	back	and	around.	Looping,	connecting	multiple	lines.	In	the	midst	of	all	else	that	was	going	on	when	I	was	writing	that	journal	entry,	that	Hockney	photo	came	to	mind	–	it	had	stuck	with	me	for	years	after	seeing	it	in	an	exhibition,	and	I	searched	through	my	books	so	that	I	could	include	it	in	this	entry	–	because	it	captured	visually	the	idea	of	multiplicities:	multiple	viewpoints,	multiple	perspectives,	multiple	possibilities.	Now	I	jump	ahead	to	Arnheim	(1969),	a	book	found	on	my	late	father’s	bookshelf	just	this	fall.	Arnheim	(1969),	who	I	should	have	known	all	along,	argues	that	when	it	comes	to	thinking,	language	is	“overrated”	(p.	242).	He	draws	parallels	between	the	sequential	nature	of	intellectual	thinking	and	the	linearity	of	verbal	language	used	to	convey	that	thinking,	and	contrasts	those	linear	relations	with	the	gestalt	of	perception.	Heath	(2000)	suggests	a	more	fluid	relationship	between	the	verbal	and	the	visual:	“The	line	between	word	and	image	is	getting	harder	to	draw;	the	visual	through	colour,	line	and	form	enables	understanding	of	metaphor	–	our	ability	to	map	interactions,	experiences	and	cognitive	operations	across	concepts	to	form	images”	(p.	124).	My	task	was	to	capture	my	reflections	and	ideas	in	words,	but	my	mind	was	awash	with	memories.	Is	this	why	the	Hockney	photo	collage,	first	encountered	almost	30	years	ago,	struck	a	chord?	There	is	something	about	the	layering	and	overlapping	of	those	multiple	images	to	create	a	whole	that	resonated	with	me	profoundly.	I	can	read	it	now	as	an	affirmation	of	non-linear	thinking,	as	an	embracing	of	the	messy	and	multiple	moments	that	constitute	my	reality.	The	messy	layering	of	images	matches	my	own	creative	process:	images	and	ideas	are	secreted	away,	are	layered,	composted;	later	they	resurface	in	whole	or	in	part,	and	are	called	into	relation	with	each	other.	And	so	David	Hockney’s	photo	collage	comes	to	mind	as	I	piece	together	in	words	my	own	relationships	with	my	sister,	my	work,	and	the	world.	All	of	these	things	–	the	layering	and	overlapping	of	images,	the	encircling,	looping	nature	of	memory	–	have	fuelled	my	explorations	in	mixed	media	layered	painting.	And	this	practice	in	turn	has	sparked	and	shaped	my	thinking.				 77 		 78 Where/how	did	these	ideas	and	images	and	colours	come	together?	Using	vision	to	think	involves	a	tension	between	the	old	and	the	new,	the	familiar	and	the	strange;	it	is	an	integration	of	information	from	disparate	sources,	a	synthesis	of	dialectical	interactions.	Circles	and	spheres;	Leonardo	DaVinci’s	Vitruvian	man,	and	my	daughter	with	outstretched	hands;	my	collaged	silhouettes	of	my	daughter	standing,	and	of	men	digging	my	uncle’s	grave	in	Hope	Bay,	Antarctica;	the	yellow	of	a	stencilled	globe,	a	spherical	flower,	my	phrenological	head	poster;	the	turquoise	that	washes	across	my	collages	and	is	gouged	off	a	wooden	plate;	Florence	Nightingale’s	polar	area	diagram	and	my	overlay	of	Antarctica;	mapping,	measurement,	memories,	metaphors.			Eisner	(1993a)	said:	There	has	been	a	sharp	and	unfortunate	separation	drawn	between	perception	and	cognition.	In	the	traditional	classical	view,	perception	provided	the	mind	with	the	contents	it	needed	in	order	for	thinking	to	occur.	Increasingly,	we	have	come	to	recognize	that	perception	itself	is	a	cognitive	event:	The	eye	is	part	of	the	mind.	(p.	66)		 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 	“The	eye	is	part	of	the	mind.”	My	store	of	images	and	ideas,	mappings	and	metaphors,	the	pull	of	my	gaze	to	recognize	that	pattern,	to	notice	that	colour,	to	latch	onto	that	shape:	it	was	a	fully	embodied	engagement	of	eye/mind	that	led	me	to	a	new	understanding.	As	Heath	(2000)	notes,	“The	visual	and	the	verbal	reinforce	one	another	in	the	sustained	and	adaptive	learning	necessary	to	increase	learning	from	the	theories	of	others	and	to	build	strength	in	one’s	own	theories”	(p.	124).	My	inwardly	focused	attention,	reaching	into	my	store	of	memories,	drawing	forth	things	that	are	not	present,	engaged	abstract	thinking.	It	was	the	not-fully-conscious	self,	the	circling	hands,	the	repetitive	motions,	the	unfocused	gaze	that	lead	to	insight.	This	is	how	I	came	to	a	new	way	of	conceptualizing	the	bell	curve.			The	ungainly	canvas	that	came	from	my	first	exploratory	project	of	collaborative	painting,	layered	with	those	recurring	circles	and	that	orange	flare	of	disruption,	enfolding	hours	of	studio	conversations	with	my	painting	partner	about	collaboration	and	democracy,	change	and	uncertainty,	the	challenges	of	mothering,	and	mothering	ourselves	and	each	other	through		 79 challenges	–	that	canvas	was	transformational	for	me.	Much	later,	I	transformed	it	in	my	mixed	media	exploration	of	the	bell	curve.					 80                         	 81   	 82 March	2013	I	have	been	mapping	out	a	bell	curve,	superimposing	it	on	a	circle	in	an	attempt	to	visualize	those	percentages	as	part	of	a	whole.	My	first	attempt	used	a	radius	line	divided	proportionally:	and	I	used	these	proportions	on	my	first	canvas.	But	in	thinking	it	through,	I	realized	that	in	using	these	measurements	for	my	radii,	I	was	actually	skewing	the	area	of	each	section.	In	reality,	the	proportions	would	shift	to	reflect	the	overall	area,	and	a	much	more	complex	calculation	would	be	required	to	determine	the	proportions.			Hmmm.	 		 83 			 		 84 May	28,	2013	Educators	use	a	range	of	measures	in	attempting	to	capture	student	potential:	cognitive	assessments,	achievement	tests,	report	cards,	checklists,	questionnaires,	interviews.	But	it’s	the	numbers	that	carry	weight:	there	is	a	sense	in	education	that	“things	are	not	being	done	properly	unless	they	are	tabulated,	measurable	and	measured….” (R.	Smith,	2008,	p.	642).	Test	results	yield	percentages	and	percentiles,	rankings	and	cut-off	scores,	and	in	a	system	dependent	on	categories	and	designations,	these	numbers	are	often	regarded	as	the	definitive	summary	of	student	ability.	What	do	we	really	see	when	we	look	at	these	numbers?	Thinking	outside	the	box/seeing	outside	the	box	–	can	we	see	what	is	right	in	front	of	us,	without	the	restrictions	imposed	by	‘widely	held’	societal/educational	expectations	at	the	bell	curve	that	commonly	describes	the	distribution	of	ability.	The	idea	that	2-5%	of	our	student	population	is	gifted	originates	here:			Could	it	be	that	this	illustration	helps	shape	our	perception	of	the	very	data	represented?	Within	the	bell	curve’s	scientific,	objective	display	of	data	is	the	making	of	a	metaphor:	gifted	and	low-functioning	students	are	seen	as	exceptions,	pushed	to	the	edges,	marginalized	by	the	dominance	of	the	norm.	The	everyday	experience	of	exceptional	children	is	rendered	not	normal,	and	they	themselves	are	outliers.	The	conflation	of	genius	with	‘misfit’	or	‘crazy	one’31	may	not	originate	here,	but	it	is	subtly	reinforced	in	this	illustration	of	the	extremes	of	ability.	  																																																						31	This	is	a	reference	to	Apple’s	iconic	Think	Different	ad	campaign.			 85    	 86  	 87  	 88 Chapter	6: Imagining		The	role	of	imagination	is	not	to	resolve,	nor	to	point	the	way,	nor	to	improve.		It	is	to	awaken,	to	disclose	the	ordinarily	unseen,	unheard	and	unexpected.		 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 (Greene,	1995,	p.	xiii)		 	Sept	30	2012	In	my	role	as	the	gifted	education	consultant	for	a	large,	metropolitan	school	board,	I	field	calls	daily	from	parents,	teachers,	and	administrators	concerning	potentially	gifted	students:	“	I’ve	got	this	child/student	who	is	amazing/bored/challenging/under-challenged…”	Parent	phone	calls	often	document	underachieving,	unengaged	children	Teacher	phone	calls	sometimes	describe	that	same	bored	child	from	a	different	perspective:	“The	parents	think	he/she	might	be	gifted,	but	we	don’t	see	it….”	Other	times,	the	teacher	recounts	a	phenomenon:	“We’ve	got	a	kid	who	has	just	blown	the	roof	off	the	KTEA32....”	Administrators	call	because	they	have	had	conversations	with	both	parent	and	teacher,	and	are	trying	to	synthesize	the	different	views	of	the	child	each	describes.	My	job	is	to	provide	support	to	each	of	these	adults,	and	to	the	child.	I	try	to	bring	together	the	information	gathered	from	various	sources,	and	from	that,	make	decisions	about	designations,	appropriate	programming,	and	teacher/student	support.	But	my	tools	are	inadequate	for	this	task.	I	am	charged	with	capturing	the	potential/capacity	of	a	child	by	sifting	through	piles	of	paper	and	bureaucratic	forms:	Psycho-educational	assessments	KTEAs	Woodcock	Johnsons	Report	Cards	Checklists	Anecdotal	reports	Referrals	to	programs																																																							32	KTEA:	Kaufman	Test	of	Educational	Achievement		 89 PRIS	forms33	Referrals	to	screening		 Numbers		 Values			 Words	These	do	not/cannot	fully	capture	the	child	they	describe.		We	know	this.	We	know	these	numbers/values/words	are	markers;	that	our	finger	on	a	score	or	word	is	like	a	pinpoint	on	a	map.	The	confusion	comes	because	we	are	working	with	different	maps.	A	parent	traces	a	passion	for	reading	and	an	obsession	with	physics	and	astronomy.	A	teacher	points	out	achievement	scores	and	marks	that	only	occasionally	stray	from	the	average	range.	An	administrator	draws	a	finger	across	a	PRIS	form	with	boxes	to	check	and	papers	to	attach.		Where	are	we	with	this	child?	What	do	we	know?	What	can	we	say?	What	can	we	see?																																																									33	PRIS:	Pre	Referral	Intervention	Strategies		 90 		What	can	we	see?	As	I	established	in	the	introduction	to	this	thesis,	the	project	of	seeing	possibilities	for	giftedness	has	been	constrained	by	a	limited	view	of	giftedness:	this	thesis	contends	that	an	important	way	of	thinking	is	missing	from	research,	identification,	and	programming	for	gifted	students	when	visual	thinking	is	absent	or	sidelined.	I	have	responded	from	the	transdisciplinary	space	of	a	consultant-gatekeeper/teacher-researcher/visual	thinker,	and	have	brought	those	multiple	views	to	my	exploration	of	how	and	what	the	visual	contributes	to	the	conceptualization	and	communication	of	ideas	around	giftedness.	Here	I	review	the	new	understandings	that	emerged	from	that	exploration,	and	consider	future	implications.	Lastly,	I	will	discuss	how	the	format	of	this	thesis	itself	makes	an	argument	for	the	role	of	visual	thinking	in	the	conceptualization	and	communication	of	ideas	around	giftedness.		Looking	at	giftedness:	‘Being	seen’	is	critical	to	an	equitable	construct	of	giftedness			Giftedness	can	best	be	understood	as	a	socially	constructed	concept	that	has	changed	over	time	in	response	to	changes	in	society	and	culture,	and	an	ever-evolving	understanding	of	the	psychological	and	physiological	process	of	learning.	The	construct	of	giftedness	has	evolved		 91 over	the	past	hundred	years	from	a	fixed	personal	trait	measured	by	IQ	tests	to	a	variety	of	multidimensional	constructs	that	acknowledge	a	wider	range	of	ability	domains.	Central	to	most	constructs	is	the	idea	that	giftedness	is	something	that	can	be	discovered	in	students,	and	can	be	identified	through	assessments	such	as	cognitive	and	achievement	testing	or	teacher	rating	scales,	which	focus	predominately	on	selective	traits	and	measures	of	statistical	rarity.	However,	the	contribution	of	visual-spatial	ability	and	visual	thinking	to	the	identification	and	development	of	giftedness	is	rarely	considered.	It	appears	that	the	visual	is	invisible	in	gifted	education.			The	question	of	equity	can	be	described	as	concern	for	who	and	what	is	seen:	who	is	seen	as	‘gifted’	or	‘not’;	which	abilities	are	recognized,	and	which	abilities	remain	invisible.	Coming	to	this	discussion	from	my	own	experience	and	unease	with	identification	practices,	I	adopt	the	project	put	forward	by	Borland	(2005)	of	developing	gifted	education	without	gifted	programs	or	gifted	students.	Seeing	giftedness	entails	seeing	individual	learners	and	their	abilities,	and	recognizing	in	those	abilities	the	possibilities	they	encompass.			Looking	for	giftedness:	The	search	for	giftedness	has	been	constrained	by	narrowly	focused		attention			The	two	hemispheres	of	the	brain	support	two	different	types	of	attention:	an	embodied,	global,	flexible	attention	on	the	right	and	a	focused,	narrow	and	fixed	attention	on	the	left	(McGilchrist,	2009).	The	right	hemisphere	gives	rise	to	insight	as	it	consciously	and	unconsciously	reorganizes	mental	representations	into	new	interpretations:	the	left	hemisphere	“close[s]	down	perception	to	a	certainty,	instead	of	opening	up	to	possibility”	(McGilchrist,	2011,	p.	1069).	While	creative	thinking	encompasses	the	flexible	thinking	ascribed	to	the	right	hemisphere,	few	assessments,	including	measures	of	creativity,	incorporate	visual-spatial	abilities.	The	narrow	focus	of	the	left	hemisphere	is	pulled	toward	the	known,	a	predilection	for	certainty	that	is	mirrored	in	the	close-mindedness	and	intolerance	of	ambiguity	found	in	some	gifted	students	(Cross	&	Cross,	2012).	In	examining	the	identification/	documentation	process,	I	put	forward	the	hypothesis	that	this	same	pull	to	certainty		 92 predisposes	teachers	and	administrators	to	a	fixed	and	limited	view	of	giftedness	when	participating	in	narrowly	defined	identification	tasks.			Visualization:	The	representation	of	ideas	in	diagrams	and	visual	metaphors	promotes		understanding		The	visualization	of	information	and	concepts	constitutes	a	way	of	thinking,	a	way	of	making	sense.	Research	from	the	arts	and	philosophy,	psychology	and	neuroscience,	math	and	science	education	confirm	that	visual	perception	contributes	to	the	development	of	mental	models,	concepts,	and	abstract	thought.	Visual	representations	support	the	conceptualization	and	representation	of	complex	data,	and	enhance	memory,	comprehension	and	analysis	of	complex	relationships,	and	yet	academic	journals	in	general	and	gifted	education	journals	in	particular	appear	to	ignore	the	power	of	effective	visualizations.	Visual	metaphors	are	often	incorporated	in	effective	visual	representations,	and	the	embodied	nature	of	metaphors	contributes	to	their	potency.	Drawing	on	my	own	practice	as	a	consultant,	I	examined	how	my	knowledge	of	visual	literacy	helped	me	create	diagrams	that	successfully	communicated	ideas	and	engaged	my	audience;	and	how	as	a	teacher,	I	harnessed	the	power	of	visual	metaphors	to	promote	self-awareness	and	metacognition	in	my	students.	Visual	literacy	promotes	the	comprehension	of	metaphor,	and	metaphor	in	turn	promotes	meaning-making:	in	this	recursive	transaction,	the	visual	opens	up	metaphoric	possibility.				Using	vision	to	think:	Visual	thinking	plays	a	significant	role	in	the	development	of	novel	ideas	and	the	emergence	of	insight		A	deeply	embedded	view	in	Western	thought	perpetuates	a	false	dichotomy	between	mind	and	body,	perceiving	and	thinking	(Johnson,	2007).	Diverse	theories	from	the	arts,	sciences,	philosophy	and	neuroscience	support	a	more	integrative	view,	and	regard	visual	thinking/visual	perception	as	a	significant	factor	in	nurturing	innovative	ideas	and	insightful	interpretations.	Innovations,	insights	and	creativity	can	be	seen	to	arise	from	the	reorganization	of	the	known,	and	the	synthesis	of	the	new,	in	a	dynamic	interchange	of	the	intuitive	and	the	analytic.	Visual	thinking	is	a	fully	embodied	project.	Both	cerebral	hemispheres	are	involved	in	that	interplay,		 93 but	the	right	hemisphere’s	involvement	is	critical	to	insightful	and	creative	thinking.	By	bringing	attention	inward	to	remote	associations	or	other	things/ideas	outside	the	current	context,	or	taking	its	global	gaze	outward	to	the	periphery	of	awareness,	the	right	hemisphere	supports	abstraction	and	insight.		My	own	experience	of	visual	thinking	involves	that	same	tension	between	the	old	and	the	new,	the	familiar	and	the	strange;	it	integrates	information	from	disparate	sources,	and	synthesizes	it	in	a	dialectical	interaction.	This	is	an	embodied	act	of	perception:	visual	perception	is	visual	thinking.	It	draws	on	my	store	of	images	and	ideas,	mappings	and	metaphors;	it	relies	on	my	gaze	recognizing	pattern,	noticing	colour,	latching	onto	shape.	Using	vision	to	think,	it	is	my	not-fully-conscious	self,	my	circling	hands,	my	repetitive	motions,	my	unfocused	gaze	that	lead	to	insight.		Seeing	possibilities		My	conception	of	the	future	makes	me	envisage	a	greater	role	for	the	imagination,	a	greater	reliance	on	metaphorical	thinking,	and	a	greater	openness	to	[the]	visions	of	human	possibility.		 	 	 	 	 	 	 	 (Greene,	1998,	p.	35)		Seeing	possibilities	for	gifted	education	depends	on	opening	up	to	possibility.	As	this	thesis	suggests,	narrowly	focused	attention	closes	down	perception	to	certainties,	and	it	is	broader	or	unfocused	attention	that	opens	up	to	possibility.	Seeing	possibilities	for	gifted	education	requires	a	shift	in	focus	from	giftedness	to	education,	from	labelling	students	to	labelling	opportunities.	Seeing	possibilities	for	students	depends	on	seeing	what	they	are	capable	of	when	given	a	challenge	that	is	appropriate	to	their	developmental	stage	and	their	interests;	it	depends	on	focusing	on	student	ability	not	to	categorize	and	limit	options,	but	to	guide	next	steps	towards	an	ever-expansive	horizon.				 94 Seeing	possibilities	for	gifted	education	depends	on	fostering	insights.	As	this	thesis	proposes,	innovations	and	insights	arise	from	the	edge	of	awareness,	the	reorganization	of	the	known,	and	the	synthesis	of	the	new.	Fostering	innovative	and	insightful	thinking	in	students,	educators,	and	parents	requires	shifting	focus	from	consuming	information	to	interpreting	information,	from	regurgitating	facts	to	developing	metaphors	for	understanding.		Seeing	possibilities	for	gifted	education	depends	on	making	space	for	visual	thinking.	As	I	hope	this	thesis	demonstrates,	the	visual	has	a	contribution	to	make	to	the	communication	and	conceptualization	of	ideas	around	giftedness.	Visual	thinking	opens	up	possibilities:	broadened	attention	expands	awareness,	metaphorical	thinking	extends	understanding,	visualizations	lead	to	insight.	This	is	the	thesis	I	had	to	write,	and	this	is	how	I	had	to	write	it.	Words	are	not	sufficient	for	the	task.	The	visual	is	part	of	my	language,	and	the	visualization	of	words	and	ideas	is	my	way	of	actively	creating	connections	and	constructing	concepts;	it	is	my	way	of	making	sense.	My	conception	of	the	future	makes	me	envision	a	greater	role	for	visual	thinking	in	the	ongoing	search	for	endless	vibrant	human	possibility.								 		 95 References		Ali-Khan,	C.,	&	Siry,	C.	(2014).	Sharing	seeing:	Exploring	photo-elicitation	with	children	in	two	different	cultural	contexts.	Teaching	and	Teacher	Education.	Retrieved	July	14,	2015	from	http://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2013.08.004	Ambrose,	D.,	VanTassel-Baska,	J.,	Coleman,	L.	J.,	&	Cross,	T.	L.	(2010).	Unified,	insular,	firmly	policed,	or	fractured,	porous,	contested,	gifted	education.	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