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Professional Development in Gifted Education

Posted by Categories: Gifted Education

One of my favorite ways to engage teachers in professional development is to use case studies. This method is particularly effective in holding interest at times where teachers may be overwhelmed and preoccupied with many other things, such as at the beginning or end of the year, or around holidays. By making the learning situation personal, authentic, and practical (as we also suggest teachers do with their curriculum for students), learning can be intensified, fun, and useful, as well as quickly adapted to one’s situation. Here’s an example of a case study that might be used in helping teachers and administrators understand and resolve some of their local issues involved in differentiating educational programs for gifted students.

“An identified gifted second grade student is not receiving appropriate services in his public school. His mother is an assertive advocate and is threatening a lawsuit to obtain specialized services. The principal of the child’s school has the task of deciding how to meet the child’s, parent’s, and staff’s needs while keeping larger issues in mind. The larger issues range from legal, to personal, to educational responsibilities of concern to all.”

Questions to ponder:

  • What are your district’s legal, as well as your own personal ethical responsibilities, to this student and to others like him?
  • What would you suggest to this principal in helping her resolve this issue to the greatest benefit overall?
  • Have you faced similar problems in your experience? If so, what measures did you take? If you were to face that same problem again, what might you do differently?

Share your thoughts with others on how this case might be handled and also on how you may have engaged in a case study approach in your own professional development.

All the best,

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

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