Interests, semantic networks and social relationships of children in enrichment and mainstream programs

Natalie La Praik, Shirley Wyver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined interests of twenty-six children aged 10 to 11 years 8 months, enrolled in either an enrichment program or a mainstream program in a New South Wales public school. Interviews with children were used to explore their interests and relationships. Parent and teacher questionnaire responses about children's interests and relationships were also obtained. In general, children in the mainstream program preferred to engage with peers when involved in an area of interest whereas the reverse was true for children in the enrichment program. Children's discussions of their areas of interest were analysed in terms of semantic networks, then coded for the number of levels in the semantic network (levels in a classification hierarchy) and content (number of items discussed). Children in the enrichment program demonstrated more levels and content for areas of both high and low interest, but the difference was statistically different for semantic network levels in their area of low interest only. This may suggest that children in the enrichment program were better able to apply organisational strategies that support cognitive flexibility. Results are discussed in terms of implications for educational programs for gifted children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-34
Number of pages9
JournalAustralasian Journal of Gifted Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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