Reflections from the deep end: Primary school teachers' experiences of gifted education

Selena Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This research project investigated the experiences and perceptions of primary school teachers in relation to gifted education. The purposes of this study were to explore what sorts of experiences characterise an inservice teacher's introduction to gifted students in the regular classroom, and to investigate how those experiences have impacted the professional growth of the teacher. Findings indicated that teachers hold positive attitudes but still subscribe to some popular myths about gifted education, in partucular those associated with acceleration and grouping. It was found that a teacher's introduction to gifted students was generally characterised by fear and misunderstanding, bt the experience resulted in an increased knowledge and awareness of gifted education issues and an increased level of self-efficacy in dealing with gifted students. Various elements of the experience of teaching a gifted child were found to have a particular impact on teacher professional growth. These were self-efficacy; 'psychic rewards'; time; school structure; and a support and resource network. It is suggested that a collegial approach to professional development would be most effective in assisting teachers to implement gifted education policy requirements. It is also recommended that gifted education research findings, particularly in the areas of acceleration, grouping and affective characteristics of gifted children, be more effectively disseminated to teachers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-29
Number of pages10
JournalAustralasian Journal of Gifted Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007

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