Special Education

What Exactly Is Gifted Education? A New Guide Attempts to Explain

By Corey Mitchell — March 02, 2020 1 min read
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Education Week surveyed hundreds of teachers and coordinators of gifted-and-talented education programs last year on a range of topics.

What did not emerge from the survey was a standard definition of giftedness—something that’s tough to nail down. In fact, respondents cited “more than a dozen factors in district or state definitions for gifted and talented,” we reported in December as part of a special report on how schools screen students for advanced academic programs and how they might cast a wider net.

A newly released infographic from the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa’s college of education seeks to provide a guide on the basics of gifted education for teachers and administrators who are new to the field.

“There are a lot of school professionals who may not be familiar with this population or what you need or what you can do for them,” said Kristin Flanary, communications manager for the Belin-Blank Center. “We know from our work that a lot of educators, future educators, do not get much if any education on how to teach gifted students or what their needs are. Same goes for administrators at school. It’s just usually not part of the pre-service curriculum.”

The graphic explores the difference between gifted education and talent development. Linking readers to resources from the National Association for Gifted Children, the graphic also offers definitions of acceleration—when students move through curriculum at a faster pace or at a younger age—and enrichment—activities that go beyond the curriculum—and how both can benefit students.

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How Do Schools Find Gifted Students? Some Survey Results

Twice Exceptional’ Students Miss Out on Gifted Classes

Pointilism in 1st Grade? Teachers Use Unfamiliar Lessons to Mine for Giftedness

Image Credit: Jeannine Disviscour, lead teacher at Moravia Park Elementary School’s Gifted and Advanced Learning program in Baltimore, teaches a second-grade early architecture class. The class is part of the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth’s Emerging Scholars program. --Steve Ruark for Education Week

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Coverage of the experiences of low-income, high-achieving students is supported in part by a grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, at www.jkcf.org. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.
A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.