On May 10, 2022
Engage Your Learners with a Schoolwide Enrichment Model
A summary of “The Schoolwide Enrichment Model: A Focus on Student Strengths & Interests,” by Sally M. Reis and Joseph S. Renzulli
Over the years, schools have used different models to determine and foster giftedness in students. The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) incorporates the most successful enrichment methodologies of the last 50 years into a robust system that helps students reach their full potential by engaging them in creative thinking and fostering creative productivity.
Development of the SEM
In order to understand what the SEM is and how it works, we must understand the concepts that contributed to its development. Renzulli’s three-ring model of giftedness was an early model that considers giftedness as the intersection of three gifted behaviors: above average ability, creativity, and task commitment.
Three-Ring Model of Giftedness
The three-ring model of giftedness served as the bedrock for the Enrichment Triad Model (ETM). In the ETM, students who place in the top 1-3% in test scores move through three types of enrichment clusters, as illustrated in the image below:
Enrichment Triad Model
Yet the ETM, while a robust system that allows students to hone and take control of their learning, left out many students who showed potential for giftedness in areas other than test scores. This realization led to the Revolving Door Identification Model (RDIM), which expanded identification of students for Type III creative productive enrichment experiences using a wide variety of criteria including observations, examples of creative potential, and referrals.
All three of these models challenged the traditional belief that giftedness is static and emphasized the need to provide opportunities for children to develop gifted and creative behaviors.
What is the SEM?
It's based on research-based principles that focus on prioritizing independence and engaged learning instead of dependent and passive learning through the following principles:
- Each learner is unique, so learning experiences must reflect individual needs
- Students learn more when they enjoy the learning experiences
- Learning is more impactful when learners can view content through the lens of a real-world example
- Students must be given the opportunity to construct their own meaning in order to enhance knowledge and gain critical thinking skills
How is the SEM Incorporated?
In the SEM, a talent pool of 10-15% of above average/high potential students is identified through a variety of measures, including test scores, teacher or parent nominations, assessment of creativity potential and task commitment, and self-nomination.
The SEM is incorporated into the school structure through scheduled blocks of enrichment clusters, populated with non-graded students who have similar interests. The key is that students and teachers want to be there, and the topics are self-selected.
Because these enrichment clusters involve students who self-select topics, the SEM is “school-wide” because it creates interest in the entire student body and faculty. The SEM is inherently inclusive, based on the principle that “every child is special if we create conditions in which that child can be a specialist within a specialty group” (Renzulli, 1994).
Renzulli Learning is an interactive online program that streamlines the process of incorporating the SEM.
The Renzulli Profiler is an assessment tool that creates a profile for each student with user-friendly, research-based questions related to interests. It also analyzes expression styles and learning styles, creating a thorough picture of how students absorb new information. The results are accurate and printable and provide essential insight into students’ abilities.
The Renzulli Enrichment Database includes thousands of enrichment opportunities that are continuously revised. It automatically matches students with interest-aligned resources, but the self-search option allows students to explore the expanding, extensive menu in the safety of a pre-screened environment.
The Total Talent Portfolio is a complete record of online activities and progress, and the Wizard Project Maker serves as an online project management tool for students. Renzulli Learning also comes with management tools for teachers, administrators, and parents, essentially providing the benefit of multiple TAs in the classroom.
Enrichment programs have long been an area for experimentation within schools to implement new ideas to solve longstanding educational problems. The SEM provides a clear direction for students to identify and develop their talents, and to begin the process of lifelong learning. It fosters creativity and productivity, allowing space for all students to develop gifted behaviors.
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