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Summer: How Does Your Teaching Garden Grow?

Posted by Categories: Gifted Education

WTeachers Need Professional Development for Gifted Educationith little to no training in gifted education, classroom teachers are expected to know how to teach gifted students. As gifted education programming is often not a priority in many locales, teachers might not have access or opportunity or motivation to become knowledgeable in gifted education practices or in the research that supports such strategies. Yet if we are to speak with authority on what all students need, including the gifted, the voice of authority needs to come from knowledge and understanding. Authority is an imperative factor in creating appropriate learning environments where gifted behaviors will thrive. Educators have a responsibility to supplement their incomplete training in this area of special education in whatever way they can.

Below are some potential sources of professional development. Depending on resources, time, and motivations, there are so many options now that it is relatively simple to supplement one’s training, hopefully resulting in increased practical expertise. Start with what works for you and grow from there.

  1. Most states now have graduate courses, degrees, and endorsement programs that would solidify one’s expertise as well as one’s credibility in working with gifted children.
  2. The web is an endless source of online professional courses, webinars, blogs, and, of course, gifted education websites.
  3. Also online and in print form are myriad books, journals, magazines, and news articles related to gifted children and their educational development.
  4. Local, state, and national conferences are plentiful, sometimes occur in the summer months, and offer multiple topics within a compressed time frame.
  5. Another possibility is to observe a summer gifted program in action to get new ideas, to analyze interactions that might have application to your situation, and to discuss with colleagues after the observation.
  6. If possible, we also encourage you to interview or just speak with gifted children and their parents who are willing to share their experiences, discuss the successes and shortcomings in their educational journeys, and make suggestions that teachers might be able to incorporate to make classrooms sufficiently enriched for gifted students.

Remember, whether you are or are not prepared, these students still exist in your classrooms. If educators are to be effective agents and active advocates for this population of students they need to be able to speak and teach from the kind of authority that results from knowledge, experience, and wisdom. Summer might provide extra time or motivation to pursue ways to gain the knowledge to provide such authority. Let us know what you have done to increase your personal professional growth and therefore increase your success in working with students who demonstrate gifted and talented behaviors.

All the best,

Barbara Swicord, Ed.D.
CEO, National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT)
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG)

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