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Myth: G/T Kids Will Be Fine In The Regular Classroom

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Myth: Teachers Challenge All the Students, So Gifted Kids Will Be Fine in the Regular Classroom  

Our nation’s teachers are incredibly hard working and provide a remarkable service to our children.  Unfortunately, the majority of teachers receive little or no training on the needs of gifted students and, once in a K-12 classroom, they typically are not provided with the additional resources and training required to effectively teach all of their students. In 2006, only four states required gifted and talented training in initial teacher preparatory programs, and just four states required annual staff development in gifted education for regular classroom teachers. Training is important! A1993 study found that classroom teachers make only minor modifications on a very irregular basis in the regular curriculum. This result remained consistent for all types of schools, in all areas of the country .[1]  A Fordham Institute study found that 81% of teachers said that struggling students were the ones most likely to received one-on-one attention. [2]. Below are additional resources that explain why it is important for teachers to have proper training to meet the needs of their gifted students.

• The NAGC “teacher training makes a difference” webpage has research-based information about teachers’ experiences in gifted education training and teaching. 

• The “Teacher Expertise in Meeting Student Needs” portion of the "Why We Should Advocate for Gifted and Talented Students" webpage contains information about teacher training and classroom practices, along with what they mean for gifted students.

Brighton, C., Hertberg, H., Callahan, C., Tomlinson, C., & Moon, T. (2005). The feasibility of high end learning in academically diverse middle schools (Research Monograph 05210). Storrs: University of Connecticut, National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.

Kaplan, S. (2009), Layering differentiated curricula for the gifted and talented.  In F. Karnes & S. Bean (Eds.), Methods and materials for teaching the gifted (pp. 107-145). Waco: Prufrock Press.

Moon, T.R., Brighton, C.M., & Callahan, C.M. (2003). State standardized testing programs: Friend or foe of gifted education? Roeper Review, 25, 49-60.

Reis, S. M., Westberg, K. L., Kulikowich, J. K., Caillard, F., Hébert, T. P., Plucker, J., et al. (1993). Why not let high ability students start school in January? The curriculum compacting study (Research Monograph 93106). Storrs, University of Connecticut, National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.

Renzulli, J. S., Gentry, M., & Reis, S. (2007). Enrichment cluster for developing creativity and high end learning. Gifted and Talented International, 22, 39-46.

Robinson, A. (2008). Teacher characteristics. In J.A. Plucker & C.M. Callahan (Eds.) Critical issues and practices in gifted education: What the research says (pp. 669-680). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Starko, A.J. (2008). Teacher preparation. In J.A. Plucker & C.M. Callahan (Eds.) Critical issues and practices in gifted education: What the research says (pp.681-694). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.

Swanson, J. (2006). Breaking through assumptions about low-income, minority gifted students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 50, 11-24.

Tomlinson, C. (2003). Fulfilling the promise of the differentiated classroom: Strategies and tools for responsive teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Van Tassel-Baska, J., MacFarlane, B., & Feng., A. (2008). A  cross-cultural study of exemplary teaching: What do Singapore and the United States secondary gifted class teachers say? Gifted and Talented International, 21, 38-47.

Westberg, K.L., Archambault, F.X., Dobyns, S.M., & Salvin, T.J. (1993).  An observational study of instructional and curricular practices used with gifted and talented students in regular classrooms (Research Monograph 93104). Storrs, University of Connecticut, National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.

Westburg, K., & Archambault, F. (1997). A multi-site case study of successful classroom practices for high ability students. Gifted Child Quarterly, 41, 42-51.


[1] Archambault, F. X., Jr., Westberg, K. L., Brown, S., Hallmark, B. W., Emmons, C., & Zhang, W. (1993). Regular classroom practices with gifted students:  Results of a national survey of classroom teachers (RM93102).  Storrs:  University of Connecticut, the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.

[2] Farkas, S., & Duffet, A. (2008).  High-achieving students in the era of NCLB:  Results from a national teacher survey (p 53).  Washington, DC:  Fordham Institute

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