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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is a Ph.D candidate at the University of South Florida, where he also works as a teaching assistant, supervising and teaching pre-service teachers. Steve holds a master's degree...
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Five Reasons Why All Teachers Should Be Trained in Gifted Education

Ive spent the last four years of my education careerimmersed in gifted education as a practicing teacher of the gifted and a graduate student in gifted education. The more I study the subject~ the more I am convinced that every teacher should be required to take gifted education courses to some extent.

Believe me~ I realize how busy teachers are and the demands that are placed upon educators. However~ if we can make time for professional development~ then we can find time to complete some basic courses in gifted education. Id like to dedicate this blog to the five reasons why every teacher should study gifted best practices.

1. CHANCES ARE~ YOU WILL HAVE A GIFTED CHILD IN YOUR CLASSROOM
No matter what grade you teach~ youll most likely have a gifted child or children sitting in your classroom. This means you will have students that require different pacing~ different curriculum and have different social and emotional needs. Without teachers receiving the proper training~ these gifted children~ according to research~ could spend half their school day or more bored~ waiting for peers to catch up. The opposite holds true~ that with the right training~ teachers will be able to appropriately challenge their gifted learners.

2. CHANCES ARE~ YOU WILL HAVE SOME POTENTIALLY GIFTED CHILDREN IN YOUR CLASSROOM
The more years you spend in the classroom~ the greater the odds that a potentially gifted~ yet-to-be-identified student will grace your presence. Without the proper training~ you may not be able to identify this child as gifted and may not know the procedures for screening and promoting students into your schools gifted program.

3. GIFTED CHILDREN DONT ALWAYS BEHAVE
This reason circles back to reason one. The reality is that you will be teaching gifted students in your classroom~ but they dont always behave because they have high IQs. This is a common misconceptionthat teaching gifted students is easy because they are all good students. Often~ the opposite is true. These students require more attention and energy because of their faster learning rates and stronger emotional needs. Understanding gifted students and what makes them tick will help you avoid possible behavior problems and classroom management challenges. Ive sent my behaved and focused gifted students to other teachers for specials classes~ for instance~ and the teachers struggled to manage my class or complained about my class mainly because I believe they needed training in how to work with these types of students.

4. YOU CAN'T ALWAYS RELY ON RESOURCE TEACHERS OR PULL-OUT PROGRAMS.
While getting assistance from a resource teacher who visits your class or sending gifted students to pull-out programs are excellent strategies~ classroom teachers cant always rely on this kind of support. Resources teachers sometimes get pulled for other duties such as testing or covering classes~ which means it is up to you to instruct the gifted students that day and meet their needs. If trained~ you will be better prepared to handle those days when you have no one else to provide support.

5. GIFTED BEST PRACTICES ARE BEST PRACTICES FOR ALL EDUCATION
Best practices in gifted education will improve any classroom since they are methods that are based on differentiation~ knowing your students~ meeting their needs~ higher-level thinking~ and talent and creativity development. These concepts simply make sense when it comes to making the classroom a place where learning is relevant~ fun~ engaging and meaningful. Understanding each childs strengths~ preferred learning styles~ and interests and then developing learning plans and projects based on that information is best practice for educationand this one reason should motivate teachers to seek out gifted training.

Wishing you the best~

Steve