Title

An Examination of Curricula Modifications Employed By Classroom Teachers For Intellectually Gifted Students In the General Education Classroom

Date of Award

2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

First Advisor

Frances A. Karnes

Advisor Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Abstract

Recognizing and serving intellectually gifted students in the general education classroom is a task made more difficult by the myths and misunderstandings about this student population that proliferate in public education. As a rule, these students will not differentiate instruction on their own and must be guided by the professional expertise of highly trained teachers in order to reach potential. Intellectually gifted students are eager to learn and waiting to be guided by educators who recognize their potential and are willing to make accommodations in daily classroom practice to meet their needs. The current study examined the classroom practices of general education teachers in classrooms in the state of Mississippi. Findings indicated that while teachers do differentiate instruction for intellectually gifted students to some degree, the frequency with which these modifications occur is low. In addition, teachers in the state reported minimal exposure to gifted education principles. These results indicate a need for general classroom teachers to be trained in gifted education not only to understand this student population, but also to ensure that teaching methods and strategies which offer all students challenge and choice may be incorporated into daily classroom practices. A further indication of the teaching occurring in many classrooms in the state of Mississippi was revealed by teachers who reported spending large amounts of time repeating instruction and drilling for state testing. This raises concern as to the goals of education in our state in general. We must ask if students are being exposed to academic content only to do well on an end-of-the-year test. If this is the case, then the future repercussions for intellectually gifted students may be great. A loss of interest in learning, underachievement, and a loss of potential may be the outcome for our intellectually gifted students. With a strong effort directed toward ensuring that all preservice and practicing general classroom teachers receive needed course work and staff development in the gifted education, challenge and choice in general education classrooms may become more common. In the event this occurs, the public education of every child in our state may benefit.