#022 Lessons from CTY Ireland

by | May 11, 2021

Today I’m speaking with Dr Colm O’Reilly, Director of the Centre of Talented You at Ireland’s Dublin City University, about their awesome program.

In the episode, you’ll hear all about the program CTYI offer, why they offer it and who get’s to attend. We also talk at length about tips for parents of gifted kids. The CTYI engages about 6000 and has operated for 30 years so I was keen to know what Dr Colm O’Reilly has learned about gifted kids and parenting gifted kids during this time!

Hit play and let’s get started!

Dr Colm O’Reilly

“Sometimes with bright kids. You need to relax that a little bit because they’re obviously doing quite well up to now. Sometimes you can be overly focused on what they’re getting in scores and exams and tests and stuff, because we’re constantly using that as a metric to judge them as to how well they’re doing when the passion and the interest and what they believe and what they like is very important, too.” – Dr Colm O’Reilly

Dr Colm O’Reilly has worked in the area of gifted education for decades, is a published academic and Director of the CTYI. Dr O’Reilly engages internationally with gifted education and is a wealth of knowledge and experience.

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Transcript

[00:00:00] Sophia Elliott: I’m delighted today to be talking to Dr. Colm  o’Reilly from the Center of Talented Youth in Ireland and good evening or good morning . It’s a delight to be talking to you again and having a chat today about gifted students.

[00:00:15] Dr Colm O’Rielly: Yeah. Thanks so much for the invitation. Delighted to chat about a topic that’s really close to my heart.

[00:00:22]Sophia Elliott:  And you’ve been with the Center for Talented Youth for quite some time. And it’s been operating for 30 years now, which I find just wonderful. It’s quite a legacy. Tell us what you currently offering students in Ireland.

[00:00:39] Yeah. So, uh, we’re based out of a university. So it’s a university based gifted program.

[00:00:44] Dr Colm O’Rielly: We currently cater for about 6,000 students a year, which is a nice sizeable proportion of students. Bearing in mind, population of Ireland is about 4 million. So we have a lot of students coming, attending programs. This can be primary school students who attend Saturday courses and do  correspondence courses and  some commuter summer programs.

[00:01:05] And then we have some secondary school program, students who attend some residential summer programs, they can attend commuter programs. And they also attend a program that we run, which is an early university entrance program, which they can do during a gap year that they have in school. And when they’re 15 and 16, after one set of state exams, we have what’s called a transition year.

[00:01:25] So these students can do work experience at different things at that point. And we’ve started offering in the last three or four years and early university entrance program for these students. And it’s proved very popular.

[00:01:36] Sophia Elliott: They sound like wonderful resources. And given the, the program’s been around for 30 years, what do you think has been the secret of your success?

[00:01:48] Dr Colm O’Rielly: Well, hopefully I think it’s that we’re offering good quality instruction for the students who come on the program who value us and many will come back from year to year. I think for the parents who are sending their children on the program, it’s an important thing for them to help  their kids, doing something that stimulates them both academically and socially.

[00:02:09] I think the success is, well, I like the easy thing to say is it says it’s currently the only program that’s available in Ireland for high ability students. Um, obviously Ireland is a country which is, you know, known quite well for education. We’d have a high proportion of people attending third level on different education systems in place, but very little within a school system for gifted  children.

[00:02:32] So I think we kind of started off 30 years ago, trying something out and seeing whether people would be interested in us. We found it was successful. The people who came the first year, once it to return, they went back to their schools and they told other people that it might be a good idea. And from then it just became more popular.

[00:02:51] And then really in the last we started initially as a secondary school program, we started with a residential summer program, kind of trying to emulate programs that are run in the States for high school students who can take college courses during the summer that  proved very successful. We obviously put a more Irish slant on things in relation to trying to replicate what a third level course would look like in Ireland.

[00:03:13] And that proved popular in subjects like medicine, obviously, and subjects like Law  and subjects like psychology things where you knew  they can’t offer them  in school, but they’re going to be good and universities. Have a much more, you know, resources and materials available to them to do that. Um, also would have teachers who’d be adequately qualified to teach in those areas.

[00:03:35] So from that it really got popular, but I think the main thing for how we have so many students now is really about. 20 years ago, we started a primary school program and that was to run on Saturday mornings for students. And again, we really tried to just replicate what we were doing at secondary, but with a view to making it more practical and hands-on, you know, the way primary school students would need a lot more kind of stuff to keep their attention and stuff, to keep them occupied and interested.

[00:04:04] So when you can offer things like medicine and Law and  psychology, which I mentioned before, you would obviously offer them with a more practical component and you would have kids with stethoscopes to in medicine doing moot courts for law, and also kind of doing some level analysis in psychology and stuff like that.

[00:04:21] It proved really popular. A lot of people started signing up and now like every Saturday on our university we would have 1200 students, which is a lot of people taking Saturday courses. And again, I think Ireland has a kind of a culture for that then on Saturdays, most. People would do some extracurricular activity with their kids or send their kids to one it’s mostly sporting would obviously be a popular part of it because most sports in Ireland  are conducted outside of school time and conducted through local clubs and communities.

[00:04:51] They’re small but there’s a lot of people involved in them. So while this was happening, we kind of said, well, if we’ve run Saturday class at the same time, maybe there’s kids who are very smart, who aren’t that good at sports, which is something that we hear a lot in this field, but. A lot of them said, okay, we’re going to send our kids to this type of program.

[00:05:11] They might have two or three kids and a might have some kids didn’t sports and other kids do music. And these kids are in this program. Um, then they weren’t surprised at the high numbers we had and I think that, that kind of normalises it. I think that if you run programs where you only have 10 or 12 people running them, then people are automatically curious or worried stuff.

[00:05:31] This is very elitist or very exclusive. But I think when, when you come to our university center on Saturday and you see. Kids age eight to 12, and there’s 60 different classes with 20 kids say in each class. And there’s so many things to offer on so many niches and so many courses. And somebody thinks that students are interested in, it becomes really kind of lively and a vibrant and engaging place to be.

[00:05:56] And then of course, a real, kind of a boom for us with the growth of technology and the growth of computer courses. And. Since I think people are probably familiar, you know, a lot of these places like Stanford and Harvard made a lot of these programs like MIT app inventor for free. And then there was courses like, you know, scratch for programming and also courses like game maker and game designer, which are free on the internet, but would be hard to have teachers are qualified people to teach them on.

[00:06:26] Also resources are needed for networking and computers to ruin these packages and programs and time. So universities are ideal environments for that  and a lot of kids wanted to sign up to learn how to make games similar to what they were doing and playing at home. And I think that the technology has made that much more advanced.

[00:06:44] It makes those games a lot more realistic now than they used to be saying. When I was in computers in school, we spent a lot of times writing long  lines  code and programming from very little outcome., hello world and stuff like that, which was stuff that we learned. Well, But I can see kids being very disappointed in it now because it doesn’t look like what they’re playing at home.

[00:07:04] Whereas intuitive programs like game maker and game designer, they’re actually designing games to look remarkably similar to stuff that they would play on their phones anyway. And they got a lot of achievement and pride doing that.

More Transcript Here

[00:07:17] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, absolutely. You offer an amazing array of classes. I know my kids would be like, like kids in a candy store with all of that choice.

[00:07:26] It just sounds like a wonderful service. And so those programs that you were talking about are for students in the 95th percentile and over in one or more areas, but I also know that you offer a course for students and children in the 85th to 95th percentile. And I’m curious about that. How did that come about?

[00:07:52] Dr Colm O’Rielly: Yeah, like I think, um, you know, initially we, we run a program. We wanted to identify students, you know, like I think. I think when I took on these podcasts, you’re, you’re preaching to the converted and people don’t understand what you’re talking about. You want to identify bright kids. You want to give them opportunities that they can move at a fast pace, that they can do courses and classes that they won’t they’ll be able to fulfill their potential or move at the accelerated pace that they are capable of.

[00:08:19] And that’s why we would use an assessment criteria to try and identify these kids so that when we’re doing fast paced courses, they’re not feeling that it’s gotten too slowly, but also they’re not feeling. Dr. They’ve achieved at a level that we’re not admitting people who are not quite at the level and then are quite intimidated, cause the kids are all better than them.

[00:08:41] So that’s the kind of reason why you would have a cutoff in the first place, but we’d probably find that, like, I think that as the field develops and as we learn more about assessment, that it’s not an exact science, as we’re hearing a lot more about things like IQ, not being as reliable as we  thought they were certainly not stable over time.

[00:08:59] And that people develop at different rates and different ages and also related to what levels of interest they have in particular things at points in time. And we said, look, why don’t we try and look at kids just below what we would normally consider at the threshold and looking at kids between the 85th and the 95th percentile.

[00:09:17] And that really came about like, by. I was interviewing somebody for a position to work with those who had incredibly achieved very highly in the field of medicine that were just finishing their medical degree. They had finished first in their class for many years, studying medicine. There were only about 22, 23 at the time.

[00:09:34] And I said to them, you know, you really would have enjoyed attending our program when you were younger. I, I. Don’t, I don’t remember you attending or I didn’t see your name on any lists. And they said, yeah, well, I took the assessment when I was 13 and I didn’t get an, my scores were just below what you were requiring.

[00:09:52] And that made me think, you know, and that person was fine. They kind of laughed at that and said, look, maybe it gave them a boost to work harder subsequently. And they did very well, but I was kind of thinking if we’re not identifying kids like that, we’re missing out on super smart kids who are totally capable of doing, because they were probably surpassing the ones that we identified if they were finishing first in their class in a  medicine  college course subsequently.

[00:10:15] So I think we should be able to be more flexible on our admittance ratio and trying to give opportunities to those students. Particularly ones who have interests in subjects, particular areas, which is a big growth. Now, you know, you might have kids who are brilliant. A history are brilliant and archeology are brilliant on a particular topic or subject.

[00:10:34] Engineering for example, which is very difficult to measure in a maths and  verbal exam. It’s very difficult to measure because it was very curriculum based around it, in relationship to that. So those kids Excel on those particular courses, but they’re very hard to identify. So I think we need to have a little bit of a broader identification range and therefore we might get those kids in and then they can take speciality courses and actually do very, very well in them.

[00:11:00] So what we just kind of do is we run those courses for kids at the 85th to 95th, parallel to the ones we’re doing with kids at the 95th. So therefore it isn’t a situation where if we were doing like an advanced maths class that they might feel, gosh, the kids in my class are also brilliant at maths and I’m good at it, but I feel intimidated.

[00:11:19] They would be with other kids who  again, advanced to the level of what they’d be use to at school but  we’d be able to push them on and maybe expose them to stuff that they never would normally get an opportunity to study. And we find that they Excel in these particular areas too, and that’s worked very well.

[00:11:35] And now near half our  students are coming, would be attending at this 85th to 95th percentile and very much enjoying it too.

[00:11:45] Sophia Elliott: That’s wonderful. I just think it’s, it’s great that you’re offering that and being flexible and understanding those boundaries because it can be very tough on students to have that very fine line, isn’t it?

[00:11:57]And, and as we know, assessment is a moment in time and then that’s problematic with IQ and other things. So yeah, what a wonderful service to be offering. Now, I know that you offer a rigorous academic program for your students, but how important is the social aspect of your programs and why.

[00:12:18] Dr Colm O’Rielly: Definitely from experience and from. Talking to students from looking at the program myself from, uh, any kind of courses or programs that we’ve run a very familiar theme comes through. Particularly as the kids move to secondary school from 13 to 16, it’s that they prefer the social activities to the academic ones, and that it’s very valued to them and that the peer friendships that they make, the people that they meet are hugely  important in their development at that  point in time.

[00:12:54] And I don’t think we can overemphasize in any way, the importance of social development with bright kids. I think the, hopefully when you run a program, like we would run out of a university offering amazing academic challenges that we’d hope that academic standard would be sufficient to keep these kids occupied and stimulated.

[00:13:14] But I think that the very nice by-product of that is the bringing together of people who are interested in same things as themselves and the chance to meet those people, talk to them about various things. And some of those things certainly don’t have to be academic all the time. And they’re the things I would think that people who come on residential courses remember the most, the friends that they made, the  fun  that they had been away from home, the social things that they did outside of class time.

[00:13:41] I think that that’s a really valuable thing for these students, particularly in relation to their interests. So if you have a kid who’s really, really good at English or creative writing or reads  a lot  and they are in a school environment where they’ve read so many books, but the kids in their school are not interested in the books that reading and they don’t have as much in common with them and that they can come on a program like this.

[00:14:05] And they might be even studying something totally differently, like say philosophy. And then they’re talking about what books do you read? And I think it’s great for them to feel much comfort in the fact that most of the people in their class are reading the same book. So it’s them or interesting things as them.

[00:14:19] And that gets the social conversations going quicker. And what we’re always trying to do is to find these little niches that these kids have put them in touch with other kids who have the same interests as them. And hopefully they’ll find a little bit of common ground and they can kind of make friends easier or quicker than they would do in a regular school environments and that works so well.

[00:14:41] And it’s such a nice kind of a, and it’s a nice thing as a legacy of what happens when you’ve run these programs. And I think even a primary, it happens too, even though. Like sometimes the kids aren’t as you know, able to articulate it as much. But again, if you have a child who really is good at maths and doesn’t have as many people in school who they can talk to about it, and you put them in a class with other kids and parents at the age who are all like maths and are interested, they automatically feel more comfortable.

[00:15:12] They feel more at home, they feel more self-confident and they talk to each other a little bit more because they don’t feel that they’re going to be judged on what they say related to what their responsibility is. And I think that that’s a very nice thing and something that can prevent the child from feeling very isolated in the way that they could in a school environment where they’re surrounded by people who are just not interested in the same things they’re interested in.

[00:15:39]Sophia Elliott:  I think it goes to the heart of our humanity is that need to belong and feel  seen  and understood. And. Around people that have those similarities in place. And I know it can be really isolating for students who haven’t got that network. So again, like an awesome byproduct of your already wonderful programs is that opportunity to, to meet other young people with those same interests, uh,

[00:16:10] Dr Colm O’Rielly: Uh, the actually interesting thing about that is that now a lot of our staff, like when you’ve been working there for a long time  so a lot of our staff now are former students from the program.

[00:16:22] So this is really, really nice because, um, like nearly, I would say 70% of the people we employ, we employ like 350 people a year working on different programs. So 70% of those are people who’ve attended at some point. So number one, they automatically empathize with why somebody would put them on a course like this and they can get it and understand it.

[00:16:44] And that’s a huge thing because they were the kids themselves when they were younger. And also they’re great role models for those kids. When you think of it, like if they’re looking at somebody and all our stuff, are you on, you know, 22, 23, or they’re looking at these people who at college  or just finished college studying subjects that they’re interested in, it gives them something to aspire towards because I think that that’s something we have to be careful about with bright kids is that, you know, they can easily just get demotivated they can easily not do as well as they can. They can easily just, you know, lower their expectations because they haven’t  met or seeing people who they can see as role models, who they can aspire to do. Um, as well as in the future. And I think that, you know, if you’re always finishing top, sometimes that’s a pretty lonely thing to be, because the only way is down in that context and other people may not be as appreciative of you finishing top all the time.

[00:17:40] So therefore it really is important to have other people to have ideas around, to talk to about the pressure that you can feel with that. But also the benefitsthat can give you on the opportunities that subsequently could happen by doing well in these situations.

[00:17:57]Sophia Elliott: And I imagine your residential summer program, being with those like-minded peers night and day for it.

[00:18:04] For that time must be quite life-changing as well. And I know that, within your alumni videos, they talk very fondly of those experiences. I think it’s  it’s wonderful that you’ve got people coming back wanting to be a part of it.

[00:18:17] I think that says so much about how much they got out of it at the time. So I’m interested then for our gifted students, and those are probably at the higher end of the scale in particular, uh, what would you say are the most important skills they could learn? Because obviously a lot of the academics come very easily to, to our, our bright students.

[00:18:41] So what sort of skills do your programs help to.

[00:18:47] Dr Colm O’Rielly: I definitely think the most important skill that these kids can learn is some independent or self-directed learning. I think that, you know, we’ve all read studies have all seen students who may not do as well because. They get bored in school, on their unable  then to compensate for their knowledge by applying stuff, to doing so for themselves, until learning on and doing areas of interest to bring themselves on and they’re  incapable of reading texts, critically themselves, they’re capable of learning or being self directed or are moving on with what they know.

[00:19:29] I like to think that that’s a really can be damaging for them. And I think that what we’re always trying to do, and I don’t think there’s any young age that you can. Uh, not do this. You know, obviously I think that older, you can do more advanced tasks in relation to The, but even from a young age, to encourage them to do stuff for themselves, to reach them for themselves, to learn stuff for themselves.

[00:19:50] It’s so beneficial because it gives them a self of self. It gives them a sense of self-containment and a self of self fulfillment, and also gives them then a purpose to do stuff themselves and to perform and achieve at a level that they’re appropriate to doing. Because there will be certain stages where  other kids may not learn stuff as quickly as them.

[00:20:14] And they’re just constantly waiting on the teacher to teach them new things. They could be waiting a long time in their school environment for that to happen. Particularly if they give an example of somebody who’s very good at maths, they could be waiting. The rest of the year before the others have caught up to the level there are.

[00:20:30] And if they’re not doing anything to further their maths talent in that year, they’re going to be in difficulties in a year’s time. Number one from dying of boredom or frustration. But also sometimes when they start learning new stuff, they’ve switched off for so long. They Cant actually tune back in to when the new stuff begins because they constantly associate school with not learning anything.

[00:20:56] So they can’t reconcile that where they actually have to learn something. They think they know everything already. So I think that this is dangerous and it’s very important to teach them these kind of self-sufficiency independent learning skills because it’s very useful for them. And last really have any point.

[00:21:14] And it also gives them something outside what their regular zone of learning is that they can always fall back on and use on any stage of their lives. So I can’t recommend that enough.

[00:21:26] Sophia Elliott: Yeah, absolutely. It’s lifelong learning, isn’t it. And surviving your own interest as well in so some ways,

[00:21:35] yeah, some great advice.

[00:21:37] Dr Colm O’Rielly: I think The like in, in those kinds of things, I always say to you, the other thing is to kind of like say to those students, I think is we have to be careful about saying, you know, my father’s a doctor, my mother’s a doctor. Therefore I’m going to be a doctor when these, some of these kids, you know, don’t want to be a doctor or  that’s , not a skillset that they’re interested in, or that’s not the thing that they’re going to be best at, or they’re going to enjoy the most.

[00:22:03] And I think that sometimes in  Irish schools  anyway, The career guidance. Like we would have a competitive exam based point system for college attendance. So the advice that they’re getting from their school career guidance teacher is aim for the course, which is the hardest to get into because you get the results to achieve that.

[00:22:25] And that might be  medicine  or that might be veterinary science, it’s quite competitive, or that might be, you know, um, philosophy in a certain college. And they haven’t really  thought about what the child’s interests are or what their actual learning skill set is. And it may not be in any way can, you know, associated with doing subjects like medicine .

[00:22:50] Oh, I think there’s so many students currently studying medicine in Ireland who were just put into it because this is a course for smart people. Not. Ever thinking that’s of course we have to meet people all the time where you constantly have a direct relationship with them, which may not suit people in any capacity.

[00:23:10] And it’s also a job that requires a high level of commitment and dedication, particularly when you’re early on in your career, that may not suit people. That’s the thing, I think that. That’s why there’s kind of a mismatch in those types of things for bright kids. So I think the great thing about like, look, obviously I’ll advocate for what we’re trying to do, but I don’t mean that it’s the be all and end all of our courses are.

[00:23:34] But the great thing about it is given them choice that if you are 12 and have studied a course in engineering and 13 taken a course in physics, and 14  taken a course in maths on 15, taken a course in computers, and you’re very like science-y STEM oriented. And then maybe in the fifth year you took a course in biomedical diagnosed six or something.

[00:23:57] At least after five years, you’ve taken five different courses related to where your abilities and skillsets lie. And I would always encourage the students to if. When they got a chance to go to third level, to pick the one that excites them or interest them the most, rather than the one that they think is going to get them the best job or the one that their parents are telling them, Oh, this is where you should do, because this is prestigious.

[00:24:22] I’m not saying they shouldn’t do these courses, but they should think about them related to where their ability is, because that will be the one, the ones who do the best are the ones who are motivated towards what they’re doing, who love, what they’re learning. And even though it might not be traditionally taught as prestigious, you will find that these students will rise to the top in these courses, if they’re interested in them and do some excellent, extraordinary things, as opposed to being mediocre in courses or colleges that they didn’t really want to attend in the first place.

[00:24:55] Sophia Elliott: Absolutely very wise words. And, early on in my parenting journey with my kids, I. I decided, I’ve kind of realized I didn’t want my kids to be restricted by the lack of imagination of the grownups around them. And I, look at my kids and I have no idea what they will end up doing and that’s okay.

[00:25:16] I look at it as supporting whatever interests they’ve got at the time. And sometimes you need to be open to changing your ideas of your own children. I, and I’ve certainly had that experience recently. My eldest albeit is only eight, but has had a very deep interest in science and astrophysics and all that sort of stuff.

[00:25:38] And it’s been quite consistent. His kind of science interests from age three, but recently has taken an interest in history because his grandfather is visiting, who is a history buff. And so that’s quite different for him. And it’s wonderful to see him branching out and I wouldn’t really have expected of him, but he’s been, Reading lots and, and watching lots of documentaries on history.

[00:26:03] So it’s a wonderful change and, and really makes us as parents think again. Well, you know, he may not go into a science, he’s still very young. There’s lots of opportunities for him who knows where he’ll end up.

[00:26:16] Dr Colm O’Rielly: I think that that’s really important. And that’s a really great thing for parents to do, to encourage their kids, to do as many things as possible, or to follow their kids kind of lead in relation to, I think I’m going to read this now rather than no, you should do more STEM because look, everyone’s saying in the papers, all the jobs are in STEM.

[00:26:35] There’s no jobs in history, all of these things, even themselves out, and the kids themselves go with what they like. I’ve thought some kids could get some great wisdom for things like that. You know, like I like when you talk to a kid after they’ve taken a course, they might’ve taken a course in say, you know, um, Global economics.

[00:26:56] And we would say, what do you think of that? I need a couple of kids gone. Why I really wanted to study business in college. I really did it for that. And then art, when it she’ll say, you know, I didn’t really like it. I don’t think it’s for me, it’s just not my thing. And then you’ll get a couple of say, I really liked that.

[00:27:09] I don’t think I want to study it in college, but this would be a hobby that I’ll always have. And I’ll always be interested in the economics of the world. I’d always be interested in economy. It will be interesting. I’ll always read books on it and this course is. Really kind of broadened my mind to what I could read and what I could be exposed in.

[00:27:25] I know I’m going to study something else, but have a great hobby and an interest in it. And that’s a great thing to have because it’s like, I don’t have the pressure of it being like career all the time, but it will be always something I’m interested in. I want to do. And I think that if you never tried it, I never did it.

[00:27:40] You’ll always feel like, Oh, you know, My interest level, always correspond with what I’m studying. And we always find the ones who actually do best. We send them in universities are kids who have broader interests. You know, kids who have, you know, they might be studying law, but they have an interest or a knowledge of biotech, or they have an interest thing that just makes them more better rounded and better kind of academics in the future for when they’re studying cases, which are like patents around biotechnology that they’ll understand, or be more interested in than the pure law students who will be very focused on the legal aspects of it, but will struggle with the understanding of the science of technical aspects.

[00:28:20] So anything you learn adds to your further knowledge of what you’re going to do laterally . And I think that people can sometimes be very narrow focused in what you should learn to become a certain profession, the more knowledge and the more information and the more things, you know, the better or rounded, better person you are.

[00:28:37] I totally think that.

[00:28:39]Sophia Elliott:  And I think, we all, as parents, we just need to chill out because not every interest has to be a career, and it’s this pressure of what’s the career. What is, especially as they get older, it’s like, well, we don’t have to figure that out at 10 or even at 14 or 16 or 18, careers, these days aren’t  lifelong and change and ebb and flow.

[00:29:00] And, if we just sat back and enjoy what they’re doing now and the next step, take that pressure off as well. So having worked with six thousand  students a year and even more parents, or even a year, I’m wondering, uh, you know, what do you think the big lessons for parents are, of gifted kids? What nuggets have you come across

[00:29:24] over time?

[00:29:26] Dr Colm O’Rielly: Like, I, I do think that sometimes parents, bright kids get a bad press, you know, like I think that sometimes people associate them, Oh, they’re always so pushy. You know, like I constantly get, you know, my colleagues and my university or whatever, who ironically are probably parents, bright kids. Right.

[00:29:43] They’re going, but there enough, these parents, according to them, Oh, you must, parents are so pushy on the phone or you must have parents who were so difficult or so demanding. And like, it’s not true because what we have is parents who want to advocate or do the best for their kids. Right. And that’s a totally different thing that might come across as being pushy or demanding, but where they actually wants the best for their child.

[00:30:06] So you do have parents who are very serious about their kids’ education. And sometimes I would say, you know exactly what you were saying there. Sometimes with bright kids. You need to relax that a little bit because they’re obviously doing quite well up to now. Sometimes you can be overly focused on what they’re getting in scores and exams and tests and stuff, because we’re, we’re, we’re constantly using that as a metric to judge them as to how well they’re doing when the passion and the interest and what they believe and what they like is very important, too.

[00:30:39] Well, how interests are motivated are good. They are, it’s still will actually be reflective on how well they’ll do and things later, and how deep they’ll go into it. And the level of depth of knowledge that we’ll retain with them. That’s important. So that’s why we kind of stress this idea that, you know, Oh, this would be a common when I reconcile this, the way it happens, you know, it’s like my child is ready to go to math,  andlike love maths, but I’m sending them to you to get them better at English.

[00:31:08] And you’re just going, why would you do that? Like, you know, we want them to be ready to go to  maths to get even better at it. And to really love doing that. And this is not what you know, it’s not to kind of. Oh, but I want them to be more rounded. Of course that’s an important thing, but it’s, you know, putting them in an advanced English course, it’s not the answer to doing that.

[00:31:30] You can encourage them to read and do stuff. We really want them in these types of programs thing, really try and get them doing stuff that they’re interested in. The  other stuff comes. You know, the other stuff happens by exposing them to a lot of things, but don’t be overly, Oh, I have to, you know, in order for them to do this, they need to do this as well.

[00:31:50] The first thing, the other thing is as well, it’s like school, you know, I think that you have to be careful about managing expectations in school as parents that’d be the most common kind of complaint we’d have from a parents as my child is bored in school. I can’t believe the school isn’t going to do anything about it.

[00:32:06] And I can a lot of sympathy for the school in that situation, as well as the parents look, nobody wants their child to be bored in school or to associate school with not learning anything. But I think that if you have a child that the 99% on and they’re in a school, which puts them in the top 1%, remember they’re in school with 20 other kids in their class.

[00:32:26] They’re already one in a hundred. So it’s quite unlikely that in that class, unless the class  for gifted kids, there’s going to be other kids who are at their child’s level. So that teacher has to teach two different ability. And they’ll normally teach to the middle. In that context, they’ll normally to teach kids who are between the 40th and the 60th or the 45th and the 55th or the 48 to the staff.

[00:32:48] And yet maybe they’re not going to specifically be able to teach the 99th all the time. And I think that some parents expect that that’s what they should be doing, but that’s not fair on the other kids. And that’s what we go back to this. If you have a child. Two has better skills, independent learning self-sufficiency and has other things to do while the kids who are catching up what they know already, and that that’s already been a great and advanced cause sometimes I’ll totally say the schools don’t facilitate that and they’ll just tell, well, they should just wait until we’re moving to the new stuff.

[00:33:20] It needs to be Matt halfway there. But I think the parents sometimes have unrealistic expectations that their child shouldn’t be bored in school ever. Of course, if you have a child through that, the 99 percentile and they’re at school all day, every day, There will be certain portions of the day that they will be bored because they will be sorting stuff that they know already that’s to be expected in areas where they’ve already excelled in.

[00:33:44] And it’s very difficult in a mainstream situation to change that completely for that particular child. And that’s why teachers and principals will think that’s unrealistic to do that. Whereas if you’re going to, I would often suggest to parents to try and meet halfway with, look, we think he knows that stuff.

[00:34:03] That’s The, can he do this while? This lesson is going on because we’ve established, they’re doing it. And that is a normal, like there’s a solution there and there’s something that can be done. But I think that that’s something to be considered. The other thing for parents is just to make sure, look, I think it’s, to me, look, I don’t think I’ve ever met a parents thing who doesn’t want their child to be happy, ultimately like that they might kind of have very high expectations for them.

[00:34:30] They might want them to do really well. And a lot of things, they might put them under pressure inadvertently because of that. But ultimately they want them to be happy. And I think that you have to always channel that because sometimes what makes them happy, mightn’t be exactly what you perceive that they should be doing.

[00:34:47] That’s not to say, you know, you just have to have. You have to let it kind of develop that in the thing and be careful to make sure you’re not over putting pressure on them. And you know, by that it’s like, what did you get in your test? Oh, I got 99%. Like, what does anybody say to somebody who got 99% in the test?

[00:35:06] If you’re a parent, where did you lose that 1%? And that’s a message that’s putting that child under a lot of pressure, really? Because they’re thinking, well, it’s 99, not good enough. Or what if I get 97 or 96 the next time are you going to be even more disappointed in me than you were when I got 99? I think that we have to be careful of the messages and the pressure we inadvertently put on our kids to do well.

[00:35:30] And what we’re trying to do is to reward. Effort rather than results, because if we have bright kids, they’re probably going to do very well in certain tests all the time without making any effort. What we want to do is to reward them to say the effort that you put in to do well in that question or in that test or that essay that you wrote.

[00:35:52] I liked that because your child will respond to that by going by. Parents liked me putting effort in on repeat the efforts you don’t, you can certainly be happy and proud of them doing well in tests. But if you overemphasize that the reason you like them to do the test is cause they got a hundred dentists.

[00:36:10] They will soon come to think that you may not like them anymore. If they got less than a hundred. Whereas if you tell them we like the effort that you put in, we’d like to time that you spent doing it, they will increase both of those things to further make you happier subsequently. And these are messages that I would think are very important because sometimes we can just get carried away.

[00:36:31] Particularly if you know, you have a child, who’s super smart, super thing, and you’re intimidated almost because you’re worried that you’re not doing enough for them. And therefore you have to think they have to be top of the class all the time. They don’t, they have to be your child all the time and be ultimately happy.

[00:36:48] And we have to kind of move back to reconciling to do that as much as possible. That would be. A ton of messages from parents over the years who might subsequent say, Oh, I wish I had been easier at that point in time because it just made them unhappy because I felt I was putting them under too much pressure, but I didn’t realize this.

[00:37:04] So it’s sometimes taking a step back and looking at the situation in the school, am I being unrealistic? And with the child themselves is what I’m saying to them, putting them under pressure or inadvertently making them unhappy. And if you think about those two things, they’re things to reconcile laterally that can make everyone’s life a lot easier moving forward.

[00:37:26] Sophia Elliott: Absolutely expectations. It’s, uh, it’s tricky to get rise in it. And I, I know early on with my eldest, because, you know, he’s quite extreme. It was, it was very overwhelming as a parent to know what to do. What are the expectations of me as a parent? Like, I don’t want to stuff this up because. My God, uh, you know, uh, we talk a lot about potential and, but one of the greatest lessons that I had along the lines of what you said was from my child’s psychologist.

[00:38:02] And, and he was going through this phase, he’d read all the books in the house twice. He said, you know, he was feeling a bit melancholy and we were looking for some guidance on, you know, as parents, what should we be doing? What are the expectations? You know, we didn’t want to, we didn’t want to stuff it up.

[00:38:19] And the best advice we got was it doesn’t matter if he’s read the books, because if he’s seven, he will read the same book when he’s eight or 10 or 14, and he’s growing each time and each time he’s going to get something different from that science book. And he’s going to look at it in a different way.

[00:38:38] And. Just because at that age they can do these amazing things. I think what I learned was I can take the pressure of myself as a parent to have to feed the beast, so to speak and, and constantly trying to find that level and just chill out a bit and understand that they young and maturing, and they’re going to learn different things, even from the same content that they’re interested in over time.

[00:39:08] And like you say, just kind of release that expectation of ourselves and all of our child in terms of, of what they are doing and can do. And, and, and like you’ve mentioned before, focus a bit more on being well-rounded and other activities. As you know, my son goes to Scouts, which is great for all sorts of reasons and he enjoys dance.

[00:39:36] And yeah, it really took the pressure off us as parents to hear that we don’t have to feel that intense expectations of ourselves to keep trying to find these different things for that, for him to do and learn because it’s okay if he revisit stuff, because he’s only young, he’s going to look at it in a different way.

[00:39:56] So yeah. Huge lessons there for, for co parents.

[00:40:01] Dr Colm O’Rielly: Yeah, absolutely. I think that sometimes, you know, people, we would get a lot of people wanting to, you know, visit our programs or come in and see classes and stuff. Like that’s obviously fine. I’ve no problem with it. But I think a lot quite surprised when they do, because that this expectation that they’re all super smart kids and they all like must be just studying for, you know, 12 hours a day.

[00:40:25] And they cons are designed to how relaxed the kids are and how, you know, easy they are with each other. Um, Heather joking, uh, messing around and still fund that, you know, while the. Classroom and the academics they do. Like it’s not a formal classroom environment. So I think people think that it is, and it doesn’t have to be, you know, it’s, it’s really just pushing them off.

[00:40:50] I see that people have this expectation, that bright cause they’re very serious about their academics. A very thing. Of course, they like learning what they like on the fun. I think you can balance those two things. And I think, uh, that’s a kind of, uh, you know, this it’s, is that what you’re saying about feeling under pressure to give them information all the time and stuff like that, that we can relax that a bit and that there’s different ways.

[00:41:11] They acquire information. There’s different things we can do, and that we don’t have to keep reading the books. We have to keep advancing their knowledge. They can actually do a little bit of that themselves so we can facilitate and help for that to happen. But it doesn’t have to be as serious all the time.

[00:41:27] I think. Yes,

[00:41:29] Sophia Elliott: absolutely permission to relax a bit. Um, so I know that you also are involved in research, um, at the center. So tell us a little bit about that. What kind of research do

[00:41:45] you look at there? Yeah.

[00:41:46] Dr Colm O’Rielly: And well, obviously, you know, when you like, look, we work at a university and we have access to some super smart kids.

[00:41:53] So we we’d like to do some research or, you know, like The, to keep on top of what the latest trends are like, obviously to make sure, first of all, I think from a teaching and classroom perspective, to make sure we’re keeping with the current trends, we’re doing stuff for the kids, like on the, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re constantly evaluating and changing curriculum to make it more relevant and interesting for the kids.

[00:42:12] We’re serving do that anyway. W that’s by asking the kids themselves, you know, what do you like, what do you not like St. Parents? What courses do you think your kids get really excited about? What would you like to do more? So we do a lot of that anyway. Well, I think in the general, in the fields, you know, we’re obviously looking at things like assessment, as we mentioned earlier, that’s a big thing to make sure that, you know, we’re identifying the right students, that we’re getting as many as possible.

[00:42:36] And I think that we, I think that’s sometimes a danger with these programs and people think they’re so elitist or, you know, Oh my God, it’s so hard to get in. And it’s so difficult. We actually want to be more open about people getting in. We want to have more people on it and more people to benefit from it because we think it’s a great thing and people can just come on, you know, and develop themselves and fulfill their potential.

[00:42:55] And there’s loads of people that can do that. So I think it’s, it’s trying to be more open minded about how we admit people. And then like, you know, there’s big things in the field. We kind of looked at stuff like self-concept on coping skills and stuff like that, because I think that obviously look, mental health is a big thing now with bright kids, you know, that we just have to be careful like mental health is a big thing with all kids, you know, but we just have to be careful that we’re.

[00:43:20] You know where we’re looking after our kids and we’re, we’re listening to them as best we can and we’re identifying problems and issues as they arise. And the relief for the good thing, or the news from perspective of parents give students, you know, mental health and gift to kids is not worse than mental health and kids who are not gifted.

[00:43:40] Okay. Like I think that sometimes people have this ancient association of, you know, the super smart child associated with madness and stuff like that. You know, going back to, you know, these kinds of van Gogh till I pay, you know, kind of era of, you know, the, or the composer select, you know, who, who, you know, was composing all the time.

[00:44:01] I went to kind of didn’t meet anyone, became onto social. So like, you know, I think these are extreme cases while they obviously happened. They’re not, you know, reflective of a regular what the norm is in those situations. So what we find is the actually. Right. Kids, Matt have the slightly batter done kids.

[00:44:18] I think the research that we found, so that’s a kind of relief for parents to split up, but it’s not like perfect. And doesn’t mean like, Oh, you’re a bright kid. And I got mental health problems. Of course this is possible. And something can happen. We just have to look at that and make sure kids are in the right framework and mindset in relation to that and to try and facilitate that in courses that we run and to talk to parents about it.

[00:44:38] But like parents are the best advocates because they know the kids the best. They see them in those environments. They see still stuff like has. They’ve become unhappy with us. They’ve got older stuff. That’s been more difficult to them. They don’t understand that they, they, they they’re the first one to go.

[00:44:55] I think we need to, I definitely recommend in those situations is go and see somebody about it. I think that the stigma about, Oh, I don’t want my child to see anyone that’s really should be in the past. These people are professional and able to help and bring it on. And it doesn’t, it’s certainly not a stigma.

[00:45:11] We have so many students on the program who are, have various mental health issues who are attending the course and doing perfectly well and getting help that they need. And. Are much more comfortable and confident doing it because of the I’m more comfortable with the problems or the difficulties that they’re facing and dealing with them because the professional have to talk about them rather than let’s hope this goes away, or they seem so happy last year.

[00:45:35] So I didn’t want to change anything. You know, I think that you have sets parents intervene if you see problems and problems and thing. And we obviously do research and we look at things like that to make sure that first of all, our policies and stuff are in place to ensure this health and safety of the child.

[00:45:51] That’s much more important than anything you would do with a child academically. Anyway, in my opinion, to make sure we have healthy kids in that context. And then we probably find the most vulnerable group in that regard, our LGBT gifted students. That’s quite interesting. Like I, if again, you know, going to conferences and writing papers and doing stuff for many years on gift to kids, bullets, and the lack of research or work done with LGBT gifted students is it’s incredible.

[00:46:20] When I think of, of the program that we have so many LGBT students on our program and who are all brilliant students, who all do really, really well and who are incredibly accepted and do well on a program with their peers, but would record some terrible stories of difficulties. They haven’t school-related, it’s been LGBT, uh, depending on the school they’re in, depending on the pair group they have, depending on.

[00:46:45] Situations related to things that are, you know, harrowing, I would think. So I’ve a PhD student at the moment. Who’s doing a PhD in gifted, LGBT. She’s our kind of equality officer and a great advocate and works on our program too. During the summer in a residential capacity with these students understands a lot of the issues and stuff and she’s doing thing.

[00:47:06] And I think that that’s so important because I think we need more research in these areas and we were talking previously. It’s just like, you know, you can have trends and gifted education. Like  like LGBT is not a trend. That’s something that’s going to be staying forever. You know, it’s a, it’s a, it’s an important aspect of the identity of a lot of gifted students.

[00:47:30] Um, we need to research and look into it to find, you know, make, I would personally I’m doing it, you know, while I’m interested in the students, I like the whole, you know, I like want to provide the best facilities for them, but also that we’re providing the best policies and that we’re like, look, we work in the university.

[00:47:46] So that’s fortunate. That’s the very open environment, but that we’re definitely advocating and making sure these kids have choices on have opportunities that may have been close to them even as low as. Short time ago is five, five years ago like that. We just have to open up a bit more in relation to that and that we’re also following best practice worldwide.

[00:48:09] And not because I think sometimes people think, Oh, we can just make a post-season this field. I don’t like the area of LGBT, you know, policy that, you know, LGBT gifted kids are pretty similar to LGBT non gifted kids. They’re pretty similar to LGBT adults, which they’re going to grow up to The, so we have to make sure that we’re advocating and working and making sure policy is correct in that field.

[00:48:32] So that’s a nice little research project that we’re working on at the moment. I always try like. Research is such a kind of a, you know, it’s a long, complicated field, but I was trying when we’re doing it to do still, that will be beneficial for the program that we’re running on. That, as I said, my early university entrance program or, or university or arts entrance program came out of a PhD project of one of my previous students.

[00:48:54] We have a program for social economic disadvantaged students that came out of a PhD from another one of my students. So like, I think I try and take on research students that we can do stuff to change what we’re currently doing to make it better or to change policy for what we’re doing to make that more current or better or so that we can be leaders in the field.

[00:49:14] I think The we’re fortunate, we’re privileged in that position that we’re running a program for bright students. It’s quite representative of most of the various students in Ireland. So look, it should be. Yeah, something we should have should be top quality and should be, you know, a framework of reference for other people to do it in other countries.

[00:49:35] It’s not to say it has to be the exact same, but at least they can look at the policies and go, yeah, look, I think we should replicate or do some of the, because if we can do that, then we can have a bit of consistency in how important issues are treated across the world. Particularly nowadays, when there’s so much money coming from middle Eastern countries, where there may not be as many, uh, friendly LGBT policies posts, we need to make sure that that’s not compromised when we’re accepting money for these programs to succeed.

[00:50:07] That it’s not at the expense of, you know, not having transparent and good LGBT policies. Sorry. That’s my little run Tober.

[00:50:16] Sophia Elliott: No, that’s a wonderful rent. Thank you very much. I think clot, right? It’s certainly something that we need to be. I think educated on or aware of and understand how to make sure that, uh, like you say, we’re open and accessible to all of our students, including our LGBT students.

[00:50:35] Uh, and because like you say, it’s a part of, part of their identity. It’s not going anywhere. We’re better at supporting them. Uh, so we’ve had a wonderful conversation today and I love talking about, uh, the CT, Y I, what you do is just awesome. I certainly wish I had that on my doorstep. Um, so as we kind of end the conversation, perhaps you could share with me one of your favorite CTY moments with your students,

[00:51:04] Dr Colm O’Rielly: Yeah, sure.

[00:51:05] And I tell you the story, which I don’t come out of this story very well, but it is quite a good story. Okay. Let’s suspense, the best stories are ones where, you know, I, I’m not the hero, but actually it ties in actually, it’s interesting because it does tie in to a few things that we’ve said earlier. Right.

[00:51:21] So, um, hopefully anyway, I think so, um, this is the ups say must be six years ago. Okay. Say about six years ago. Um, it was Saturday. We were doing some Saturday classes, you know, regular Saturday. And I would be more, my role on a Saturday these days is to evaluate our teachers more than like, you know, evaluating the students themselves.

[00:51:45] We’re hoping they’re doing well just to make sure the teachers are, you know, so many different teachers. And I think that they’re, you know, fulfilling what we set out for them to do. And this was, uh, was it sitting in a class. Uh, it was an advanced maths class. Right. And it was actually, you know, it was normally, you know, we adopted, these were kids who were 95th and 99th percentile in maths, you know, they were aged between nine and 12.

[00:52:11] And, uh, we were setting in, um, I was sitting out on this cloth and they were doing, um, they were doing kind of like a trigonometry, still a question. I actually, that would be okay at maths. You know, it would like, uh, be like a maths class would not be a bad one for me to sit in on. Let’s put it that way. I didn’t do a degree in maths, but it would be okay.

[00:52:31] So I was sitting in and it was really good. It was very engaging. The teacher was really good, who actually, she was a PhD student at the time. The teacher she’s actually a lecturer in our university now, so, which is a follow-up to this, but she was really good. So she was teaching, it was great. The kids were really engaged and there was a kid in the class and he was, and.

[00:52:51] Like brilliant, like that video, any Word, like, you know, look, we come across exceptional students all the time. This student was exceptional and, uh, he was just so good. You know, someone who stood all this stuff really quickly really thing, and he was answering questions and it was all thing. And then I’d say like, say the break time was about, you know, it was, we used, the clots have run from 10 to 12, 15, and we’d have a break at 10 45 to 11 kids stretch their legs and stuff, you know, and chat to each other and be social.

[00:53:22] So it was like, I might normally go in to the, up to the break, then talk to the teacher at the break time, took a couple of kids offline and then suddenly like that kind of class got really advanced really quickly. And it was like, I was completely lost. I was like, please don’t ask me a question, please.

[00:53:39] Don’t not speak positive. I’m sitting in the corner. You’re like, this is going to be very embarrassing if I got up, because I’m not going to know the answer. But the kid who was really good was excelling this stage, um, was like Juul us miles ahead. Of the other kids. I was literally, to me, such like laughing about it with the person teaching was as good as the teacher at that stage.

[00:54:02] And the teacher was, I could see asking kind of more complicated questions. The kid was still answering them and even the other kids in the class were looking at him. Wow. This kid is so good about this. It’s just incredible. So anyway, the break time came, so that was fine. I didn’t get to ask the questions.

[00:54:16] I was kind of very relieved. I don’t know it was coming up, you know, it’s coming to the door of the class and the kid was there, who, I won’t name the job, but I had known the job. I had met the job out of previous class before, but like, you know, I know some of the kids, I know we’ve put a lot of students, but I would be kind of friendly social person, but you know, like I was just a kid I’d sit in before it’s my set up.

[00:54:38] I kind of said to him, you know, look at this class. And he was like, yeah, yeah, that was great. He was more, you know, I’m going off to talk to my friends now. And I was like, yeah. And I said, yeah, I just kind of said, you’re really, you’re very good at maths. And he said, yeah, I love maths. You know? And I said, yeah.

[00:54:53] And I said, what about, like, I just kind of said to him, what about school? What do you want? Matson school? And he said, Oh yeah, it’s grand. And that was like the end of the conversation. I was thinking I was just walking away. And he said, I had a test in school the other day. And I said to him outta jail, I said, and what I said in maths.

[00:55:09] And I said, Oh, how did that go? He said, I’ve got seven out of 10. And I said, Okay. Seven out of 10 out of 10, the maths test. And so I didn’t say anything, but I was like thinking, wow, that’s a bit strange. I said, I deliberately got three wrong, you know? Um, I was like, Oh DJ do. I said, Oh yeah. I said, because seven is like a pretty acceptable number to get in the test that you don’t get a hard time from your friends and school and your teacher wouldn’t really notice.

[00:55:38] She only really knows if he got less than five at a time. So I just got seven out of 10 too. So I could fit in with my peers and be happy in that context. And I was like, wow. Um, and you know, like was finished. I had the 10, right? Like 10 minutes before I’ll do this. And I changed my answers in three of them.

[00:55:59] This was very funny. And I made mistakes that the teacher might think I’d make. I took, I deliberately made mistakes that I might’ve made if I was rushing, but I wasn’t rushing. Cause I was actually well finished and I just did that. Okay. I was thinking, wow, there was so many things from that story that that child is deliberately on was tan, was deliberately under achieving in school to fit in with their peers.

[00:56:25] But when they were out of the classroom of an environment of an advanced maths class, that child was new. There were miles better than the other kids in that class, but was still asking questions, advancing their knowledge and doing stuff in a high-ability classroom because they knew their peers would not give them a hard time, better than you.

[00:56:46] The teacher was very interested and motivated in what they were saying and interested in doing, um, was able to think how that child and pro it’s funny that I chose now is in secondary school. I know them well. Would be somebody who be very able to adjust to their social situation very quickly, as you can imagine, because we’re doing, but it is kind of a sad story, not for that particular student, because I think that they’ll be totally fine.

[00:57:12] But for other students who I’m sure that happens to put, who don’t have the social wherewithal to know what to do or what the best thing to do is why should people have to deliberate the underachieve and school environments when. Particularly childhood was quite social and quite I’d say had loads of friends, you know, but didn’t want their friends to really teach them because they were getting the questions wrong all the time.

[00:57:37] And that was how they coped with us. And I think that there’s so many, like the reason I was just saying that it’s a story there, that it ties in so many things we’re talking about. Social coping, adapting to environment. Doing well, when you’re in an environment where you’re encouraged to do so worried about what your peers think, what your teachers except for.

[00:57:58] Um, it was just quite interesting and that’s kind of like, to me, I suppose it’s a good way of advocating for why I think what we’re doing or why in the field, why working with kids of high ability is a good idea when they’re with their high ability kids. Um, what the benefits for them are for them to be able to fulfill their potential academically and socially, not to feel bad about that.

[00:58:23] And I think that that’s a huge, good message. It doesn’t have to be, I think I hope people will, if they’re hearing that story, reconcile it to the program that they’re running themselves or the course that they’ve sent their child to The, Oh, well, that’s more what I want my child to be, not the one. Who’s not the one who’s guiding seven out of 10 and getting three wrong because they feel the dots.

[00:58:44] A good thing or an acceptable thing that players should be, feel acceptable to do the best they can do in those situations. And that everybody is okay with that. So that’s my little funny anecdote of something that happened on timefully. Um, I was actually very funny because the teacher actually subsequently won a medal in trigonometry or something subsequently, and she always is talking about that contingency.

[00:59:12] And in that particular class as being the most abundant kids you’ve ever met a trigonometry, like in about 10 years of teaching or working with kids,

[00:59:22] Sophia Elliott: I mean, that’s phenomenal. Like what, why, why. But you said at what, how much brilliance is in that child and what a wonderful opportunity he has within your courses and programs to have that safe space where he knows he has an outlet for that.

[00:59:37] And, and a teacher he can talk to that understands what a wonderful opportunity, but also, like you said, how sad that he’s got to factor in all of those things at school and can’t be himself and that’s quite the heavy weight, isn’t it? Those social coping skills and

[00:59:56] Dr Colm O’Rielly: yeah. Um, you know, and some people are so much better at it than others, you know?

[01:00:02] So I like it. It is just so many questions in relation to the offer when you think about it. And it’s something to think about related to your own child, unrelated to things for anyone listening, who are parents of bright kids, you know, that. All these things about pressure, um, you know, making sure the kids are happy in the environment that they’re in.

[01:00:24] That’s such an important thing. And you know, the best thing we can do with eyes communication with your child all the time in relation to these things, rather than what you mean, you got nine out of 10, you showed up, got 10 to no, like we’re disappointed in this. You know, you got 10 last week, you know, we should be definitely communicating as to what the rationale or how this happened and not in a judgemental way.

[01:00:51] In that context, that would be my general advice and the things.

[01:00:55] Sophia Elliott: Absolutely. Well, thank you for today. We’ve had a wonderful conversation. I really enjoyed it. And S so many words of wisdom in there and, uh, wishing you all the best this year through COVID at CTY and, and hope you guys are able to get through.

[01:01:13] Yeah, they’re impersonal online and keep doing what you’re doing, but it’s been wonderful to talk to you today. I really appreciated it. Thank you.

[01:01:20] Dr Colm O’Rielly: Yeah, no problem. I’ve really enjoyed it and look very up. Passionate about this field. I’ve worked in it for a long time, but I still am very enthusiastic. I like kind of new things and things that happen.

[01:01:32] So if anyone wants to get in touch with us or find out more about a sergeants, have questions about bright kids or gifted in general, please get in touch. You know what I mean? Like, look, um, that’s what we’re kind of here for we’re advocates or we’re trying to. Create the best environment. So look, we, we get a lot of queries like this from Irish parents, from international parents, from different people.

[01:01:53] It’s not that we’re doing it for recruitment all the time. We’re really doing it to see if there’s stuff, we can point you in the right direction or help you with. We can do our best. We may not know the answer ourselves, but hopefully I suppose, in the last particularly 10 years with so many people, who’ve worked in so many different programs and stuff that there must be somebody there who can help and answer queries that you might have in this capacity.

[01:02:16] I think that that’s an important thing to know that you have an outlet because I know the difficulty with, particularly for parents of bright kids, is finding other people who you can talk to about these things. Without people looking at you, going well, what are you talking about your child so brilliant that it does bring other.

[01:02:36] Great things, but also responsibilities and potential problems that are easier to deal with what we did communication on a do sometimes have to get excellent expertise help in these things too.

[01:02:48] Sophia Elliott: Absolutely. And so people can find you at the center for talented youth in Ireland at the Dublin city university.

[01:02:56] And I would mention as well, I know your residential course, uh, when it’s on and COVID time issue, uh, is open for international students as well. I have to say when I saw that, I was said to my husband, when the kids get older, we have to have a look at this because it looks amazing. I could just see my kids.

[01:03:18] Thrive and that being quite a life changing experience. So

[01:03:24] Dr Colm O’Rielly: they’re sort of, so would there be anything better than sending your child to a program in Ireland coming over and seeing them the most beautiful country in the world while that was happening? Like, look, it’s a task that is not a hard sell from our perspective I’m in

[01:03:39] Sophia Elliott: pick me.

[01:03:40] No, uh, certainly would be a wonderful experience for everyone involved. So, uh, so yeah, so if you’re, if you’re not living in Ireland, don’t worry. You can still got

[01:03:51] opportunity.

[01:03:52] Dr Colm O’Rielly: We have last year we had a hundred international students, so. Oh, that’s wonderful from all over the world. And obviously, look, the only problem I ever received with Australia is time difference on the distance away we are from each other.

[01:04:07] But the fact that like everyone’s English speaking makes it so much easier to run to, you know, to come on these programs for the kids themselves that can make friends so much quicker and easier. So that’s, that’s a huge plus. Yeah,

[01:04:20] Sophia Elliott: absolutely. What a wonderful resource. Thank you so much for all the work that you do, and certainly looking forward to keeping in touch and see how you go.

[01:04:28] So

[01:04:29] Dr Colm O’Rielly: thank you so much for asking me wonderful.

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