Embedding gifted education in preservice teacher education : a collaborative school-university approach
A country’s prosperity relies on the creative potential of its people. Educating gifted students must be a priority for educators and education systems if society is to capitalise on their potential to contribute to an economical and sustainable future. Given the importance of teachers in supporting academic achievement, educating preservice teachers on how to cater for gifted students commences the process as they can foster the implementation of current teaching practices that draw on substantial research into the education of gifted children. This study investigated preservice teachers’ perceptions for teaching gifted students after participating in a school-based intervention with gifted students. The teachers implemented differentiated curriculum activities that catered for the diverse needs of learners. Participants (n=22) were surveyed at the end of the program on their perceptions of how to differentiate the curriculum for meeting the needs of the student. Analysis of the survey indicated these preservice teachers agreed or strongly agreed they had developed skills in curriculum planning (91%) with well-designed activities (96%), and lesson preparation skills (96%). They also claimed they were enthusiastic for teaching (91%) and had understanding of school practices and policies (96%). However, only 46% agreed they had knowledge of syllabus documents with 50% claiming an ability to provide written feedback on the student’s learning. Furthermore, only 64% suggested they had educational language from the syllabus and effective student management strategies. Preservice teachers require direction on how to cater for diversity by building knowledge from direct gifted education experiences. The survey may be used as a diagnostic tool to determine areas for developing education experiences related to the education of the gifted for preservice teachers.