Special Education

Undertrained Teachers for the Gifted Worry Texas Advocates

By Christina A. Samuels — August 10, 2009 1 min read

My blog post “How to Grow a Special Education Teacher” has gotten quite a few comments—I’ve enjoyed reading the conversation there. Now, here’s a concern about a different area of specialized teaching, as published in a recent Dallas Morning News article:

Enrollments are dwindling in graduate education programs that focus on training teachers to work with gifted students. The state doesn't require the programs, few school districts pay teachers to take them, and teachers who get the training generally are not paid higher salaries. That leaves gifted students – those with higher-than-normal intelligence who are particularly motivated – in classes with teachers who may have little training in their special needs.

It strikes me that the same skills in differentiating instruction that are so important for a special education teacher would be just as important to have as a teacher of gifted students. Training in tiered intervention models would seem to work just as well for students who are gifted: there’s the basic instruction that every student gets, and then those who show the ability to grasp lessons quickly could move up the tiers, as necessary.

And, I’ve heard for years about the concern that so-called “twice-exceptional” children, who are gifted and have special education needs, are underserved.

This article only looks at one state, but it makes me wonder if the issues in teacher training for the gifted are as acute as training for teachers in other special education fields.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.