There are quite a few reasons why pre-service teachers need to learn more about gifted education.
As schools evaluate their declining budgets, some gifted programs are having their hours decreased during the course day, and regular classroom teachers are becoming responsible for gifted education through inclusion. It is becoming increasingly important that students in gifted classrooms have experienced gifted education teachers.
Pre-Service Teachers Need Gifted Education Exposure
Unless a teacher was in a gifted education program in school, many teachers do not have an awareness of gifted programs. It is important that pre-service teachers are exposed to gifted students in both the regular classroom and the gifted classroom so that they can see what gifted education is all about and how distinctively different gifted students become when they are separated into a group of similar-ability peers.
Even if a person is going to teach right out of college (and gifted jobs are rare), student teaching in a gifted classroom prepares pre-service teachers for working with gifted students in the regular classroom, as well as offers preparation for teaching advanced level and advanced placement classes.
When pre-service teachers are getting their assignments for student teaching, they should request some observation hours with the gifted education program. Observation students and student teachers should go to pull-out programs and see how those programs function with the delicate and intricate balancing act of scheduling. They should see full-day programs where available and see how one-hour elective programs work.
Requirements for Teaching Gifted Education
States vary in their requirements for teaching gifted education, but it is a safe bet to say that a teacher needs more than the 3 hour undergraduate class on exceptional students. Most states require work beyond a bachelor’s degree, and there are many master’s and doctoral programs for people who want to become trained teachers working with gifted students.
Interviews with parents and kids, as well as tests, are part of the professional development curriculum for instructors of gifted and talented students, who are prepared to recognize and choose advanced students for gifted and talented programs.
Pre-Service Teachers who want to deal with talented kids require the abilities necessary to create and administer a rigorous curriculum. They also need to be able to test, assess, and grade pupils at the level of their performance. In the context of secondary education, one of the most typical responsibilities is to act as a guide and mentor to students as they make decisions about their future education and careers.
It is common practice for instructors of the gifted and talented to collaborate with their colleagues in normal classes in order to generate tasks for advanced pupils in those courses. Teachers of gifted kids have a responsibility to aim toward the creation of learning environments that are both intellectually challenging for advanced students and appropriate for the behavioral development of the pupils.
As a component of the customized education plan that is created for each student, gifted and talented instructors may find it necessary to hold more regular meetings with the administrative teams and the parents of their children in order to evaluate the students’ levels of growth and accomplishment.
Online Courses for Gifted Education
It is possible to get a Master’s Degree in teaching giftedness by working thru online degree programs. It is important to look at the quality and reputation of the school; all-online schools do not seem to carry the weight of a brick-and-mortar university that also happens to offer online courses.
The University of Connecticut offers an online Master’s class in gifted education; the classes could be used as part of an independent study course at another university, or students can travel to Connecticut for the two-week Confratute workshop and complete other classes online. The University of Connecticut’s program is well-known and well-respected among gifted educators because Uconn is the home of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.
The quality of gifted programs depends significantly on the quality of the teachers. If pre-service teachers are exposed to gifted classrooms, they can begin teaching in regular classrooms and learn more about gifted students as they work with them. Then, they can teach in their assigned classes and complete their master’s work, possibly thru online classes, and continue to help build a field that is so important to the children and parents that are served by gifted education programs.