The education of the gifted and talented student is often neglected in this country. The neglect is not done on purpose but it is sometimes due to the lack of information on the education of this particular student. Teachers must first understand the gifted and talented student, familiarize themselves on more appropriately educating the student and learn to work with parents, guardians and other teaching professionals to provide for the academic needs of the gifted and talented student.
The Gifted and Talented Student
There can be a great deal of mystery surrounding gifted and talented students. Sometimes they are handled with kid gloves as if they are so fragile that they might break under the weight of the slightest challenge. Other times, they are treated as freaks or aliens who are unable to relate to their regular classroom peers. It is the job of teachers to accurately screen and place students into gifted and talented programs, and to provide curriculum to encourage student development.
Even the student who is labeled as gifted and talented has a difficult time defining himself. His tastes in almost everything from music, movies, literature and hobbies are often more mature than his peers. He feels misunderstood and is often times picked on by classmates. The gifted and talented student feels the burden of keeping in touch with the social aspects of being a student while maintaining his academic focus.
According to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, the term “Gifted and Talented”… means "students, children or youth who give evidence of high achievement in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic or leadership capacity or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.” (Title IX, Part A, Section 9101 (22) p. 541) (Banks, 2007, p 402) The National Association of Gifted Children estimates that 6% of the student population is considered gifted (NAGC.org). According to Turnbull, Turnbull and Wehmeyer, 1.8%-18% of the student population in America is classified as gifted and talented depending on the state. (Turnbull, 2010 pp 5-6)
Special Education programs for gifted and talented students are not mandated by the federal government (Gearheart 1995, p 422). Effective programs exist but they generally receive less funding than programs for students with disabilities (Gearheart 2007, p 422). Teachers are often left on their own to develop curriculum which encourages learning opportunities for their gifted and talented students. Also, there are no standard guidelines for educating these students.
Gearheart suggests that the academic needs of gifted and talented students can be served in many ways. Some of the ways include ability grouping, enrichment and acceleration (Gearheart, 1995, p 437). Ability grouping consists of separate classes for gifted and talented students where they spend short amounts of time together but...