Pūmanawa Gifted Education FAQ

How does St Mark’s School define pūmanawa giftedness?

Please see our provisional school-based definition of pūmanawa giftedness


Doesn’t every parent think their child is gifted?  

Our whānau of ākonga pūmanawa, families of gifted learners say:

“I think it’s the opposite… It’s a bit embarrassing.” 

“I think as a parent, you know. Your kids don’t fit.”

The evidence says:

“[there are] numerous studies by various researchers confirming that parents are, in fact, very good indeed at identifying giftedness… It does not mean that every parent is always right. It does mean that parents have a very high likelihood of being right… Parents should be our priority source of information.” (Cathcart, 2020, 31)

The more our St Mark’s Family learns about pūmanawa giftedness, the better we will become at identifying students who need the support and challenge of MODS or other provisions for pūmanawa gifted learners.


What about my twice/multi-exceptional child?

Our whānau of ākonga pūmanawa, families of gifted learners say:

“As a parent of two twice-exceptional kids, it’s actually really nice that this is a programme that supports their strengths because so much time and effort goes into their weaknesses that we kind of forget that they have those strengths…Quite often they’re really hidden… Other kids in the class don’t appreciate what their mind is actually capable of. All they see… is that [they] can’t write and [they] can’t sit still, but there’s a mind that’s just going at a hundred miles an hour behind that.” 

We are always on the lookout for twice/multi-exceptional learners. Diagnostic assessments for specific learning disabilities can provide evidence of pūmanawa giftedness. Assessors use the terms, “gifted,” “twice-exceptional,” “2E,” or “multi-exceptional” when assessment results suggest pūmanawa giftedness.   


What about other high achievers?

Many high achievers don’t require the support of MODS. Other provisions include extension/enrichment groups in particular subject areas, lunchtime clubs, participation in University of Canterbury Kiwi Competitions, Cantamath, sports tournaments, or differentiation within the classroom. Please talk to your hapori kaiako if you are concerned that your child’s learning needs are not being met. 


What about gifted athletes and artists? 

Depending on a student’s other interests or abilities, MODS may not be the best fit for gifted athletes or artists. There are many exceptionalities and ways of being gifted. As we develop our specialist teaching model, our aim is to support all kinds of pūmanawa giftedness. This is a long term goal and we look forward to your involvement on our journey.  


What about EQ and IQ? 

Emotional quotient (EQ) and intelligence quotient (IQ) can manifest in all sorts of mixtures. The stereotype of the gifted academic with no social skills is misleading. In fact, pūmanawa giftedness often manifests as advanced empathy and moral concern. As we develop our St Mark’s School definition of giftedness in consultation with our St Mark’s School Family, we will continue to acknowledge and celebrate our St Mark’s School values, including care for others.  


What is MODS? 

Modified One Day School (MODS) is part of our continuum of provision for ākonga pūmanawa gifted learners in our St Mark’s School family. MODS provides opportunities for like-minded fellowship, using the potential of our God given talents and gifts. In MODS, students meet in small groups once a week for a half-day or afternoon. Each group is led by a member of our Rōpū Pūmanawa Gifted Education Teaching Team: Cristy Yonetani, Liz Coster, and Emily Wells. Our MODS curriculum has three strands to meet social, emotional, and learning needs:


How do you explain this programme to the children, especially those who are not in MODS? 

MODS is a programme for students who learn differently. Not every student needs to be in MODS and MODS is not suitable for most students.  


How many hours a week/month does MODS take up? 

We have trialled a range of sessions in our MODS pilot, depending on age and best fit with our existing programmes. These have varied from a full day each week for year 7-8 in the first year of our pilot, to fortnightly afternoons for a Waka Pūhara boys’ pilot group, to one afternoon a week for Mōkihi learners. We have found that consistent weekly sessions work best and will continue to modify our schedule in response to learners’ needs.


Do students stay in MODS or do we have to reapply each year? 

Our Rōpū Pūmanawa Gifted Education Teaching Team regularly reviews whether MODS is the best fit for each student. Pūmanawa Giftedness is not something students grow out of, but depending on social, emotional, and learning needs, MODS might or might not be the best fit in any given term. For example, ākonga pūmanawa whose gifts shine in drama might have their needs met with a lead role in a school production and not need to be in MODS for that term.