Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


Theresa Monaco


The majority of regular classroom teachers (i.e. those with no experience teaching gifted and talented students) have had little or no exposure to gifted education in college courses or in-service training. With this in mind, a thirty-clock hour, community-based ethnic in-service was developed to teach research-based theory and practices skills in five gifted student needs areas. The teacher skill areas were: (a) nature and needs of gifted and talented students, (b) identification and assessment of gifted and talented students, (c) social and emotional needs, (d) differentiated curriculum, and (e) creativity and instructional strategies for gifted and talented students. A pre/post teacher self-evaluation was used to identify skills needed and skills achieved. The reading for this in-service focused on twenty research articles advocating the above skills for gifted and talented students. Two literature searches were completed. Ten articles focused on the research participants who were students in the general population and ten of the research participants were Hispanic-American students. Ethnic group identity was an important factor to this in-service process…..because the authors felt that teachers and students in the school felt a closer relationship to research when research participants were of the same ethnic group as the in-service participants. Another identify factor to this in-service was that one of the three presenters spoke their language. A verbal pre-post self evaluation helped each teacher identify skills needed and skills achieved. A paper/pencil pre-post picture of each teacher’s classroom helped teachers see how they accommodated for different learning rates differences before and after the in-service. Each six-hour, working-lunch, day teachers discussed one of the skill areas and constantly referred to their research for answers to their questions. The in-service facilitators served as guides-on-the-side. Teachers discussed their pre-post feeling and cited pre-post classroom examples for each of the five skill areas as they happened in their classroom and compared what they did with in the research.