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Seeking Teachers for Gifted Children Part 2


Last November at the annual NAGC convention in Minneapolis, I attended the membership business meeting where, among the many items discussed, it was brought up that NAGC will be striving to collaborate with colleges and universities the next few years to increase content about gifted students for America’s pre-service teachers. Since that time, NAGC has conducted an extensive survey of every higher education institution in the country and compiled their findings of “what’s offered,” which were recently finalized and just posted (within the last week… such timing!) at their website. (links are below)

One clarification from my post last week… At the meeting in November, their data at that point indicated that seventy-seven U.S. colleges or universities offered coursework in Gifted Education. In examining the updated data on their website, I see that number is now eighty-one (eighty-four if you count Canada, Peru, and Singapore). I have made that correction to my previous post.

You can download an Excel spreadsheet list of these eighty-four colleges and universities here. They are alphabetical by state and a contact person is listed for each one. (Those preferring to link to a PDF version click here.) You can also find out what sort of degree or endorsement each offers, which places offer online coursework in Gifted Education, and which universities have a center dedicated to Gifted and Talented Education (these would be the places that conduct the bulk of the research in the field, as well as provide additional services such as outreach and advocacy). For anyone curious enough, you can also view the impressively extensive survey that was used to collect all of the information.

Also now available is a Higher Education Community page which includes a link to a page about the NCATE Teacher Preparation Standards in Gifted Education. From there you can find a link to every detail possible about the newly-revised and research-based standards for teacher preparation in Gifted Education. They were created collaboratively by NAGC, NCATE (the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education), and CEC (the Council for Exceptional Children). (While you’re at it, check out CEC’s TAG division, called The Association for the Gifted.) You can read a comparison of the new standards to the old standards, a comparison of the new standards to state standards, and a thorough list, including rationales, of all the research that supports the new standards. More details about the research chosen are available here.

Coming this summer will be guidebooks with further information about implementing the standards. One guidebook will be for university professionals to aid in their creation or continuation of teacher education programs in Gifted Education. The second guidebook will be for P-12 teachers and administrators, with the aim of helping them to select and create professional development for teachers about gifted students.

It’s so exciting for me to see these important documents (the standards, guidebooks, and compiled list of locations offering coursework in gifted) come to life! “If you build it, they will come,” and these steps will hopefully make a difference by being a means of attracting more interest in creating opportunities for teachers and future teachers to learn about gifted students and how best to meet their needs. Teachers have big hearts, and it has been my experience that their biggest obstacle in reaching these students is not lack of desire, but rather more a lack of exposure to the right and best information.

Along that line, I’d like to issue a challenge to each of you for the summer… to nudge you (& our nation) along in your learning about gifted students ;o) Choose any one of the following:

* Help spread the word! Download a copy of the teacher preparation standards for your superintendent and principal. Do you know someone who teaches future teachers? Ask them, “So… have you heard?” and give them a copy of the standards.

* Sign up for an online course to further educate yourself about gifted students.

* Stop by your principal’s or superintendent’s office and request that – as they make plans for next school year – they include a professional development opportunity for the staff to learn more about gifted students and how to reach them.

* Attend a conference, workshop, or training.

* Read a book!

* Make a list of three(-ish) manageable and realistic goals of how you will reach and advocate for the gifted students who will appear in your classroom next year. Then decide how you will prepare yourself to meet those goals.

* Strike up a conversation about gifted students with a colleague. Share ideas and questions and strategies and concerns. Begin a dialogue on a topic that often gets overlooked!

The pieces are falling into place. Be a part of the picture!


Thank you so much for these useful and insightful posts!

While I am an educator who has not received any training in gifted education, I am a former student who was in gifted and talented programs from 1st grade through 12th grade.

What I disliked most as a student was those academic situations in which ceilings were imposed, in which what could be learned for course credit was only the material targeted by the teacher.

Not only did planned learning outcomes often fall short of where I both could and would have ventured intellectually, sometimes questioning of the teacher's perspective on information was also discouraged, so that the independent thinking I craved was sometimes stifled.

Best were the learning situations in which a direction was provided, but not a destination so that I was free to learn, think, innovate; free to challenge myself, usually traveling well beyond any destination a teacher would have provided.

In my own teaching as a university professor, students configure their own investigations within a provided topic, this year: framing systems, according to principles of Limited Fork Theory: the study of interacting systems, a theory I've found applicable is most areas of inquiry, and as such, is also a tool students use to integrate their learning experiences in all aspects of their lives.

This is a greatly simplified intro to the theory, so please contact me if you'd like to know more. This emphasis on interactions can lead to the emergence of new and modified forms of expression, some of which may be experienced on the forkergirl you tube channel. You can also visit my class related blogs: Limited Fork Theory Atlas and Limited Fork Theory Development Practicum.

I also maintain three public podcasts at iTunes: Limited Fork, Limited Fork Music, and the Limited Fork Video Anthology (which contains student video work in applied Limited Fork Theory) where materials may be experienced and/or downloaded for free.

Do check out these websites from an 11th grade student, flourishing this year for the first time in high school now that he is in a situation where the responsibility for configuring ceilings has been shifted from the teacher to the student: Strexx and the Strexx Motion Lab you tube channel.

Just wanted to add some information. Western Kentucky University also offers a Gifted/Talented Endorsement and has an excellent Center for Gifted Studies (since 1981) run by Dr. Julia Roberts.

Thanks for the comprehensive lists of universities that provide teacher education. I was looking through it to find my university (Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA).

I graduated from their with a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction but took 30+ hours of gifted education instruction. I'm not sure where they would land on your lists but you should check out their program as well.

I took most of my classes from Dr. Palka.

Xavier University, in Cincinnati, OH, offers an excellent graduate program in Gifted Education. Contact is Dr. Sharon Merrill 513-745-3656; [email protected]

Thanks so much for posting this information. Though, as a newbie, it's pretty overwhelming to try to compare and evaluate various academic programs in gifted education.

Is there a way to get a sense of which programs are known within the field as top-notch?

Thank you, thank you, thank you for targeting this topic. When I began my career, my state didn't even know what to do with a fully gifted-endorsed beginning teacher! They claimed they couldn't add it to my certificate for 3 years - so I taught "out of field" until they could. Here's to hoping there are more and more cases of that happening...

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