Gifted education alludes to the wide array of practices, instructional methods, and hypotheses used when teaching students who have been designated as “gifted” or “talented.” While there is no widespread definition for gifted or talented, the term generally refers to individuals who exhibit remarkable degrees of aptitude (characterized as an uncommon capacity to reason and learn) or capability (recorded functioning or accomplishment in top 10% or rarer) in at least one field. Fields include any organized territory of action with its own image framework (e.g., science, music, language) and set of receptive abilities (e.g., sketching, artistic abilities, sport). The National Association for Gifted Children divides those regions of giftedness into six areas:
- General Intellectual Ability: High IQ scores, a wide scope of general understanding, and elevated levels of vocabulary, memory, and theoretical thinking.
- Specific Academic Aptitude: Outstanding execution on accomplishment and proficiency tests in a special subject, for example, math or science.
- Creative and Productive Thinking: Integrate new thoughts by uniting apparently dynamic, autonomous, or disparate components. Student attributes incorporate an inclination for multifaceted nature, positive auto-evaluation, and transparency to experience.
- Leadership Ability: Effectually guides people or gatherings to a shared objective or choice and is competent for arbitrating in challenging circumstances. Students’ qualities incorporate self-esteem, a propensity to rule, and the capacity to adjust to new circumstances.
- Visual and Performing Arts: Exhibit unique abilities in art, dance, music, dramatization, and other comparable areas.
- Psychomotor Ability: Kinesthetic students with powerful pragmatic, spatial, and mechanical aptitudes.
Choosing a profession in gifted education allows teachers to reach and coach a host of students who excel academically. Educators working with skilled and gifted students must be qualified to teach advanced subjects and must understand how to challenge students to meet their individual needs. This often requires instructors in this field to personalize and amend the curriculum to help learners create efficiency, imagination, self-regulation, and leadership abilities.
Gifted education teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree in education or in a related field; however, most have graduate degrees. For graduates to qualify for educator licensure, they should finish a teacher training program that is accredited by the appropriate organization for the state in which it is found. After earning a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field from a state-accredited teacher preparation program, the prospective teacher must complete a classroom-based internship and take their state’s necessary tests for teacher certification. Once a teacher has passed the appropriate state tests, they can apply for their teaching certificate and begin teaching professionally. After they acquire some teaching experience and learn to manage a classroom, teachers can pursue a master’s degree in gifted and talented education and take the state’s licensing exam for gifted and talented education.
All educators should understand the definitions, hypotheses, and evidence for giftedness, including those from divergent foundations, and should be able to distinguish their related scholarly and social-emotional requirements. All instructors must be equipped to interpret, organize, and implement a range of evidence-based techniques to evaluate skilled and gifted students, to provide separate guidance, substance, and assignments for them (counting use of higher-request basic and imaginative reasoning abilities), and to name them for leading-edge projects.
When working with high-accomplishing students, a teacher must also have the expertise to relate to an intellectually mature student without dismissing the student’s actual age. Some gifted students might be analyzed as “twice exceptional,” implying that they have both advanced aptitudes in certain areas that qualify them as gifted and behavioral or emotional challenges that qualify them as special needs students. To adequately teach these students, educators of gifted learners may likewise have a background in special education.
In some school districts, identifying gifted students starts as early as preschool. Thus, gifted education teachers can find positions working with students of all ages, from preschool to secondary school. The grade level, the subject being taught, and the educator’s training and experience will affect an instructor’s compensation. Nonetheless, skilled and gifted education teachers can anticipate standard comparative pay rates for the grade level they teach.
Educators of the gifted and talented should not only exhibit persistence and adaptability with learners and study plans, but they must also be comfortable with public speaking as they might be required to publicize their school’s gifted and talented programming. Past experience teaching other students is considered an advantage for instructors hoping to work in gifted education. Whether you are a general education teacher or a gifted education teacher, it is the duty of all classroom teachers to both identify and serve gifted and talented students.
Originally published in the Zealousness e-magazine (issue 17) in 2020. Reviewed in 2023.
Read more education-related articles on our Zealousness blog Education – iN Education Inc. (ineducationonline.org).
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- “High School Teachers.” Education Training and Library. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed June 10, 2020, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm.
- “Middle School Teachers.” Education Training and Library. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed June 10, 2020. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm.
- “Teaching Gifted Education.” Teach. Accessed June 11, 2020. https://teach.com/careers/become-a-teacher/what-can-i-teach/gifted-education/.