Thu 18.09.2014 - 15:20-17:30 - Plečnik 2-3

Effective Teachers of the Gifted: Characteristics, Competencies, and Preparation in the Digital Age  Paper  Presentation 


Teachers develop talents. What role teachers play in talent development, what their students think about them, and what teachers believe about their talented students are all part of the complex story of educators in gifted education (Robinson, 2014). How we prepare teachers to develop student talents, particularly in the digital age of just-in-time professional development, presents us with the practical problem of educating teachers to work effectively with their high ability learners (Robinson & Kolloff, in press).  When the political and economic context makes it necessary to provide teacher professional development with very limited resources, online and blended instructional models can be helpful.
One example of such a model comes from the U.S. state of Wisconsin.  The sole gifted education certificate program there is a pragmatic collaboration between two state universities (Clinkenbeard & Gould, 2009). Courses are taught fully online or in blended format and usually enroll teachers from throughout Wisconsin. A newer "cohort" model involves 30 teachers from one school district who are currently pursuing the gifted teacher certificate through an online/blended format. The universities provide discounted tuition; professors and gifted specialists teach with special attention to local needs; and the school district reimburses teachers for the majority of their graduate tuition.
Whatever the model of professional development, key consideration in the effective preparation of teachers is the use of standards, guidelines, or programs of study, grounded in the research on gifted students and best practice in gifted education and developed through consensus.  Such consensus models exist worldwide. The ECHA Diploma has encouraged a network of university preparation programs across Europe. In the United States and Canada, research-based standards were developed through professional associations. An analysis of these consensus documents provides an opportunity to align expectations for effective teachers of the gifted across programs, institutions, and countries.

Author(s): Ann Robinson (Jodie Mahony Center, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, USA), Pamela Clinkenbeard, (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, USA)