Extending gifted education pedagogy to regular classrooms: A multisite case study of professional development practices

Date of Completion

January 2000


Education, Special|Education, Teacher Training




The U.S. Department of Education's (1993) release of National Excellence: A Case for Developing America's Talent highlighted improvements in educating gifted and talented youngsters; however, it also described the “quiet crisis” that continues to prevent them from reaching their potential. The report included recommendations for providing appropriate educational programs for students, including the provision of professional development practices that will enable teachers to provide a challenging curriculum and varied learning opportunities for students. Although the fields of gifted education and professional development have established research bases, much of the knowledge gained from each is overshadowed by skepticism, criticism, and conflict. ^ The purpose of this study was to identify professional development practices that increase the likelihood that classroom teachers change instructional and curricular practices through the use of gifted education pedagogy. A multiple-case (embedded) design was used for the selection of cases as well as for multiple units of analysis. The data collection techniques included observation, interview, document analysis, and case study notes. Key participants included central office administrators, staff development coordinators, gifted education specialists, principals, and classroom teachers. Research questions guiding the study sought to identify the factors that contribute to effective professional development practices, and how these factors contribute to teachers' use of gifted education strategies in the regular classroom. ^ The within-case analyses revealed five key categories that included professional development plans and practices in general, changes in teachers' curricular and instructional practices, gifted education training opportunities, impact of training, and impact of design components associated with professional development. Although the key categories remained the same for both sites, minor differences in factors were identified within key categories. The cross-case analyses findings focused specifically on factors that contributed to extending gifted education strategies to the regular classroom: (a) professional development plan and practices, (b) gifted education training opportunities, (c) impact of gifted education training experiences on teachers and students, (d) impact of design components for all professional development experiences, and (e) changes in curricular and instructional practices. ^