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Feb 7, 2018 - Abstract. The global success (GS) is a complex reflection of personal ... The GS, as a developing theory, ...


Global Success and Giftedness Carmen Creţu Puplished in 2009, Global success and giftedness. In Balchin T., Hymer Barry, Matthews, J.D. (eds.), Gifted Education. International Handbook, Routledge International Companion, London, pp.169-176. ISBN 978-0-415-46137-5

Author’s address: Carmen Cretu, Prof. Ph. D. Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, , Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, str. Toma Cozma, 3, 700554 - IASI, ROMANIA. E-mail : [email protected] I. UNDERSTANDING THE GLOBAL SUCCESS What does Global Success mean?

The global success (GS) is a complex reflection of personal excellence reported to all challenges of the person’s life at a certain moment of one's ontogenetic route. The GS concept is build from a holistic perspective. It means not only the multitude of forms of individual's personal success (e.g. in learning, profession, social life, relationship, family life etc.). The GS concept addresses to the complex linkage of each sequential form to all others manifested forms of the personal success at a certain moment of the individual’s life. The global interaction among all these sequential forms of success is reported by individual to the distinct axiological registers of every human being: vital/health; financial welfare; occupational intrinsic satisfaction; aesthetic satisfaction; civic participation; moral/spiritual/religious. The GS, as a developing theory, suggests that the identification and the multi-dimensional analysis of the personal axiological system, perceived in a life span view, is highly important for understanding the interrelation between success and giftedness. Usually, the concept of success is perceived as a sociological construct; it is analyzed more as an outcome, rather than a dynamic developmental process. We think that the global success involves much more issues than the usual social external connotations of success. It represents the persons’ entire-life construction. Also, we consider that the GS has a significant impact on what does giftedness mean from the gifted individual’s point the view. In order to understand better the process of we used a dual perspective analysis: selfperception of one’s personal global success, on one hand, and somebody else's image of the global success, on the other hand. This is a three-step analysis: 1. Separate G.S. evaluation from each perspective, 2. The correlation of both perspectives, 3. The evaluation of the above correlation effect/impact (immediate effect/impact and longterm effect/impact) on the self perception of the personal global success.


In order to achieve a better understanding of the significance of the personal global success to the concrete life contexts, such as gifted learning experience in schools, we should refer to current learning psychological theories and curriculum models. We should also consider that it is important to develop gifted long-life educational strategies to improve the global success. II. Global success’ main characteristics GS may be viewed as: multi-determined; multi-dimensional; multi-leveled; individualized; multi-functional. By making operational these characteristics we try to build up the theoretical base of a holistic evaluation frame of the high ability. G.S. is multi-determined as much as the complex human personality is biologically, psychologically, culturally and socially multi-determined (diagram i).


GLOBAL SUCCESS MULTI-DETERMINATED CONCEPT AXIOLOGICAL VARIABLES VALUES vital -economic -politic – normative – scientific – aesthetic – moral – religious


PERFORMANCE Knowledge – “To do” Abilities – Attitudes

self – assessment



GLOBAL SUCCESS i. Global Success as a multi-determined concept *Note: From a non-positivistic knowledge perspective we could include in the other variables a new line of causality: chance, hazard, or even a so-called cosmic/universal or religious multi-determination. We should dare to assume such novel analysis perspectives even if our research methodology available at the moment is far from adequate scientifically. We have to keep an eye open to the evolution of non-conventional fields of knowledge in order to be truthful to scientific requirements. Actually, many of these nonscientific determinants are referred as chance or hazard, as black box concepts. Why should we not make further steps, at least for probabilistic demonstration sake?


The issue of this multi-determination and multi-affiliation of the human excellence represents the focal point of the investigation of the relation GS - Giftedness. The development of this Weltanschauung of giftedness simultaneously involves several fields of knowledge: sciences, philosophy, mythology, religion and other spiritual traditions of different cultures on the Earth. Their mergence leads mainly to the co-evolution of the specific knowledge fields and to the gradual break-up of knowledge boundaries. The investigation of G.S. implies not only a cross-field approach, but also, an intercultural one. In discovering and recognizing the multitude of the forms of expression of human excellence, the traditional psychological and sociological approaches of education fails to satisfy our interest in the hidden talents or in those manifested unconventionally. G.S. is multi-dimensional through a diversity of expression. Here is a classification of its dimensions divided into a six fold criteria:  the nature of abilities (general, GLOBAL SUCCESS special; intellectual, psycho-physical, MULTI-DIMENSIONAL academic, artistic, leadership, etc.; CONCEPT systematic and non-systematic developed abilities, Gagne, 1991, 1993; multiple intelligence, Gardner, 1984, 1994; WICS, Sternberg, 2003, emotional intelligence, Goleman, 1995 etc.);  areas of social expression FAMILY (school, family, group of friends, group of mates, hobby, etc.) where G.S. can be examined through the individual’s COLLEAGUES HOBBY projects, actions and results (diagram ii) GROUP  the main psychological processes involved (cognitive, sensorial, perception, representation, thinking, intelligence, imagination, memory, ABLE GLOBAL PEOPLE PROFESSION language, intuition; emotional; SUCCESS GROUP motivational; volitional; courage to be gifted, Landau, 1991; personal talent, Moon, 2003, etc.);  the main ability development factors (hereditary, social environment, formal, non-formal and informal PROJECT ACTIONS RESULTS education; chance; spiritual or religious S (e.g. karma factors in the Buddhism spiritual traditions, etc.); MAIN SOCIAL AREAS OF SUCCESS MANIFESTATION

ii. Global Success as multi-dimensional concept  

the fields of aspiration (professional, family or social integration, etc.); the style (competitive, co-operative, manifest, demonstrative, aggressive, restrained). Both the list of classification criteria and the above dimensions we have exemplified are considered open to further developing the concept of success in the holistic view, in the


context of the highly diverse human excellence. Most of these factors could be evaluated as contextual variables of the G.S., but some of them have to be considered only as theoretical premises for the moment. In our opinion, it is necessary to lead a complementary axiological analysis which could answer the question: are all talents and abilities desirable? Of course, such an analysis seems restrictive for the very general category of gifted people. It is also quite impossible to answer this philosophical and scientific question for very specific cases (for instance, the case of certain political, military or religious movement leaders at particular times). However, for small groups - such as school or university students involved in the educational process – who can easily be submitted to a concrete analysis, the question above seems useful. G.S. is multi-leveled. This characteristic of the G.S. is interpreted from a systemic perspective: G.S. as a system of the whole range of individual potential abilities and manifest performances. The G.S. system is a result of the co-development of all its components, within its internal and external context. The development of the particular components is generally unequal and heterogeneous and sometimes compensatory. There is a continuum between the most developed components and the less developed ones. But this very complex continuum is perceived and expressed at individual level as "my global success" or as "my global value". The feeling of satisfaction/ lack of satisfaction derives from confronting the image of one's own G.S. to one's personal axiological system. If there is a positive correlation, the person has feeling of self-achievement, self-esteem, happiness. Opposite feelings occur when the individual places at he top of his/her hierarchy values different from those confirmed by his/her fields of professional performances. For instance, a man - mainly due to his business abilities – may be financially successful, but his current priority is success on the scientific, or political, or family plan, fields in which he has fewer chances of achievement. In real life, yet, such cases are less frequent, because there is generally a convergence and a balance between the nature and the level of abilities and motivation. The “personal talent”, Moon, 2003, usually facilitates this relative balance through goal selection and self-regulation developing skills. The individualized character of G.S. derives first at all from the uniqueness of the human individual. The analysis of this characteristic of the G.S. should be an important issue of the personalizing curriculum for gifted individuals. In the differentiated or personalized education for highly able children, it is very important that the child’ self-global success feeling be recognized and respected. The personalized curriculum should be included as a rationale in the philosophy and the practice of education. Also, the management of personalized curriculum should be translated into a professional standard in the teacher training and in the teacher assessment processes. G.S. is multi-functional. The role of success in individual evolution has been the object of reflection for philosophers and novel writers more than for psychologists or education experts. Of course the concept of success has enjoyed a great deal of attention from both theoretical and empirical sociological research, but that was not directly connected with the giftedness issues. There is also nowadays an invasion of pragmatic and commercial literature teaching individuals how to obtain maximum success, but this literature mentions nothing about what maximum success is and means in order to find out what personality components need to be promoted and nurtured. Educational sciences are concerned only with a few aspects of the topic:


  

the function of improving and propelling the successful actions; the function of elaborating the successful patterns for certain test situations; the function of improving self-esteem.

From the G.S. perspective we think it is useful to analyze these functions by integrative correlations between specific manifest performances. To develop and validate appropriate methodologies and instruments seems a difficult but challenging endeavor. The functions of success have proved to be important benefits in applied educational and psychotherapeutic strategies. III. What makes success? The literature on excellence has provided different views on excellence through different theoretical models. Different terms, such as giftedness, high ability, talent, etc., have brought about different connotations of the excellence concept. G.S. model emerged from the outcomes of several theories developed by renowned authors like J. Renzulli, 1978, F. Gagne, 1991, H. Gardner, 1984, 1994, 1999, R. Sternberg, 1999, D. Goleman, 1995, and more recently, S. M. Moon, 2003. The main components of giftedness/high ability /talent stressed by these theories are: abilities such as general intelligence, successful intelligence, multiple intelligence, emotional intelligence, personal talents; motivation for success in activity; creativity. In our opinion, the image provided by J.Renzulli, the three ring model, 1978 is still adequate despite the important theoretical developments offered by many other authors within each ring. IV. Global success factors Many empirical studies stressed on several nurturing giftedness factors. F. Monks, and collaborators, 1983, 1985, 1993, provide a dynamic description on the development of giftedness in a life-span view. In their diagram there are three main external factors responsible for giftedness development in the teenager real life context: family, school, peers. We consider that the same factors (school as lifelong education) can be applied to adulthood development, as well. Another interesting factor has been identified by E. Landau, 1991, in the frame of the internal world: the courage to be gifted, with the self image as its main component. We find two new inner world factors to be vital for giftedness development and affirmation, Cretu, C., 1993, 1997, 1998:  The attitude vectors responsible for the individual’s course towards universal values;  The emotional/affective development responsible, along with the motivation, for the energy balance of the individual’s involvement in activity. In the frame of the G.S. model we view both factor categories as working together, as a global system of nurturing excellence: 1. Inner world main factors: attitude vectors, emotional/affective development, self image 2. Outer world main factors: family, school/education/training, friends

iii.Global Success factors


The next diagram (iv) illustrates the permanent connection of the axiological frames. This paradigm is able to explain the dynamics of G.S. in real contexts. The understanding of the possibilities of improving G.S. strategy and implementing it in education, as well as in other life contexts could lead to a consonance between success and giftedness/talents or to restricting other risks specific for gifted people.


iv. Global Success model

V. How giftedness and success correlate? Theoretically and ethically, the individual’s success should emerge from an objective recognition in each different context of real life of his/her giftedness “systematically developed” (F.Gagne, 1991). Usually, in practice, the individual’s success depends on many other variables, most of which are limited or completely neglected by investigators. Our attempt to further scrutinize the theoretical demonstration of this correlation is shown in the following graph which provides an image of the possible evolutions of success and giftedness correlation on the rectangular axes -y, +y, -x, +x. Both success and giftedness may be placed, at a certain moment of the individual’s life trajectory, on different points of these axes. For more fortunate individuals, the prevalent location of these points would show a positive tendency for both success and giftedness. In other cases, such tendency manifests itself for either success only or to giftedness, due to many reasons: psychological, cultural, social and environmental, etc. The second situation clearly reveals some dysfunctions in the natural formation of G.S. Emphasizing the relationship between success and giftedness involvement in real life contexts is one of the main challenges of the G.S. model.

v. Success versus Giftedness

VI. The gifted and the successful population is like a fuzzy system In trying to describe the concept of global success, we have approached the fuzzy systems. A class of vague relations is different from other groups by affiliation functions that gain values in a non-delimited interval. In these situations, the variables of global giftedness should have a corresponding linguistic expression such as "high ability", "very able", etc. which suggests a movement from one end to another. Therefore, if some traits point to a behavior that allows their exact measurement and statistical description, many other processes which condition their existence and evolution either lack a statistical character or this has not been yet discovered. Thus, it rises the need of a theoretical approach able to operate with a variable degree of imprecision. In fact, properly speaking, this refers to the precision specific to science fields, in a truly scientific, non-simplistic way. The incompatibility principle discovered by one of the most outstanding specialists in the systems theory, the American professor L. A. Zadeh, 1973, 1975, asserts that "as the complexity of one system increases our ability of making precise statements and at the same time significant ones, on its behavior decreases until it gets to a 8

point beyond which precision and signification become characteristics which are almost excluded". The price paid for the increase of complexity is the decrease of precision. This is the natural procedure of coping with complexity. As the dimension of the investigated area increases, the chart scale decreases. Details are neglected while the essential is favored. The high ability should be evaluated for each individual through all stages of his ontogenetic development, in a dynamic, multi-determined and hence unstable context, so that teachers may be able to construct pertinent educational projects. In most planning problems met in practice, the temporal evolution of one system is described as an "equation of state" and directs all movements within the educational, social, economic and cultural space. In general, the movement is hampered by a series of restrictions or limitations of varying nature. If the system’s intention is to obtain a certain value of the state components in the last moment of planning - the movement being produced in a finite number of steps - then getting to the final state is conditioned by these restrictions. A major conflict between the objective and the restrictions annihilates the presence of a class of system evolution within a certain stage /the area of the states. Therefore, whenever there is no certainty regarding the satisfaction of restrictions, there cannot be any predicted certainties in reaching the objective. The movement will increase the imprecision of evaluation. As the system develops in time, that is, as the planning horizon increases, ambiguity does too. The anticipation process, lacking all the data of the system whose trajectory is to be found out, leads to the make-up of a multitude of trajectories arranged in a fan-like shape. The final state is a fuzzy system in the area of states, the degree of affiliation indicating the possibility of reaching the objective. Teachers/trainers work with such determinations in the educational planning.

VI. GS Model approach in the context of differentiated education for gifted/talented children Nonetheless, programming for able children represents a fuzzy environment, requiring thus a special logic for tolerance, imprecision, vagueness and ambivalence. The lack of strict boundaries ranging abruptly from average, able, very able and potentially able is the main source of any imprecision in measuring excellence.

vi. G.S. –Differentiated education addressed to different areas of levels of giftedness/success


In concrete education contexts we can say that the person responsible for planning in education or in self-education does not find himself in the position of projecting the trajectory in the area of the fuzzy states, interactively determined by knowing the dynamics of education law, as the state cannot be considered a fixed point in this fuzzy area. The state to which he links himself is rather a multitude of possible points, the probability of reaching the objective being equivalent to the degree of affiliation to a fuzzy system. This becomes the familiar situation for those doing the planning in education. The trajectory they design for each and every person to be educated leads to an objective aiming to the top individual ability, as close as possible to a maximum. The identification and nurturing strategies should be formulated in flexible combinations so as to guarantee the nuance discrimination and differentiation of the sub-zones and the infra-segments of each sub-zone in which each subject is placed at a certain moment of its educational trajectory. A more extensive knowledge of the individual characteristics at a certain time and their potential evolution increases the chance to get an optimal educational route project for each subject. Conclusions 1. SG model intends to suggest a global evaluation theory of the individual excellence (giftedness) of whatever level/dimension, on the above average register, through quantitative and qualitative approaches. 2. SG model stresses on prospective research correlated to axiological analyses of both, personal and socially recognized values of success in a certain geographic/cultural area at a particular time period. 3. Based on the current literature, SG model pleads for an integrative conception of educational assistance of giftedness. 4. SG model introduces new statistical approach for differentiated and individualized education inside the talented student population through the fuzzy systems methodology.

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