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Teachers Who Make a Difference in Gifted Children’s Lives

Teachers Who Make a Difference in Gifted Children’s Lives. Professor Karen B. Rogers College of Applied Professional Studies University of St. Thomas kbrogers@stthomas.edu. Can Teachers Make a Difference?. Common sense tells us so Our history as a field tells us so Terman’s “termites”

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Teachers Who Make a Difference in Gifted Children’s Lives

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  1. Teachers Who Make a Difference in Gifted Children’s Lives Professor Karen B. Rogers College of Applied Professional Studies University of St. Thomas kbrogers@stthomas.edu

  2. Can Teachers Make a Difference? • Common sense tells us so • Our history as a field tells us so • Terman’s “termites” • MacArthur Fellows (“genius grants”) • Nobel Prize winners - Australia

  3. What are the Differences Teachers Can Make? • Academic • Career/ Life Direction • Psychological • Social • Role Model

  4. Reflections on Your Best Teacher • Gender • Age • Personal Characteristics • What was taught to you • How teaching took place • How your learning took place • What this teacher did NOT do

  5. Mrs. Hanson Tested Candy sales Individualized reading Independent study Was glad to have me in class High energy Creative ideas Humor Loved to teach Mr. Tarentinp Left me to learn German on my own 4 years in 1 year Made me a part of his family Pushed me about where I would go to college Treated me as an individual & equal Felt I was smart Humor, high energy Loved to teach My Best Teachers

  6. My Best Teacher Did NOT • Yell at anyone in the class • Pay more attention to 1 or 2 students, nor ignore some • Spend a lot of time “managing” administrative details • Give grades when they were not deserved • Go off on tangents • Play a starring role in class - things were collaborative • Teach in a disorganized fashion • Repeat a lesson to the whole group when just a few didn’t get it

  7. GT Teachers Personal Characteristics (Approach) *Vialle & Quigley (2002) Bernal (1994) *Chan (2001) Intellectual/Cognitive Traits *Landvogt (2001) Bishop (1980) Bernal (1994) Professional/Teaching Strategies Nelson & Prindle (1992) *Whitlock & DuCette (1989) Zimmerman (1990) Regular Teachers Personal Characteristics (Approach) *Ayres, Sawyer, Dinham (2004) *Batten, Martin, Khamis (1993) *Brown & McIntyre (1993) Intellectual/Cognitive Berliner (1986) Professional/Teaching Strategies Borko & Livingston (1989) *Cooper & McIntyre (1996) *Ayres & Dinham (2003) Good Resources on Teacher Effectiveness

  8. A Simple (and Single) Study • Professional and intellectual traits of effective teachers of the gifted are the most important characteristics to gifted learners, (Rogers, 2007). • Gave students grades 7-12 (a whole school of gifted learners) a questionnaire on what they think are important characteristics of a “best” teacher • 81 characteristics that the research literature has found to be “important” • Two open-ended questions: • Think of the “best” teacher you ever had. In short phrases or using descriptive words, describe this person • Think of the “worst” teacher you ever had. In short phraes or using descriptive words, decribe this person

  9. The Most Important Professional and Intellectual Traits of the “Best” Teacher • Covering the material that is “supposed” to be covered • Eliminating excess drill and revision • Compacting the curriculum through pre-assessment • Adjusting instructional pace appropriate to subject matter • Providing immediate corrective feedback • Providing scaffold (whole of the concept) up front, followed by chance to analyze and reflect on its parts • Making individual accommodations for some learners • Is organized and clear in presentations

  10. The Most Important Personal Traits of the “Best” Teacher • Seeing the gifted learner as a unique individual • Liking able students in general • Being patient and even-tempered in nature • Having a sense of humor “in line” with subject matter • Exhibiting enthusiasm for subject, continuing to learn in that area along with students • Showing no overt biases toward race or gender in the treatment of students • Trusts students to make good learning choices and provides opportunities for independent learning

  11. So How Generalizable is a Single Study? • Australian • A “selective” school - all gifted in potential and performance • High school students • National Exams a big deal • One school • In top 1-2 coed schools in state for national exam scores • Students commute a fair distance to attend this school

  12. Effective Teachers of GT Learners Expertise in specific academic or talent area Self-directed in own learning, love for new, advanced learning Strong belief in individual differences and individualization High degree of intelligence Effective Teachers of Regular Learners Mastery of content knowledge, enthusiasm for subject taught Self-directed in own learning, love for new, advanced learning Focus on development of learner, view learner as “person” Slightly above average - 110-115 IQ Differences in Intellectual Characteristics of “Effectiveness”

  13. Effective Teachers of GT Learners Not a “sage on the stage”, but a “guide on the side” Variable pacing of learning experiences Consistent, “accurate” feedback Recognition of importance of intellectual development in GT learners Highly developed teaching skill and knowledge Effective Teachers of Regular Learners Facilitation of learning through applications and problem solving Use of equipment, materials in new, creative ways Expectation for order, purpose in classroom Commitment to hard work, effort as measure of student success Broad repertoire of instructional media, strategies Differences in Professional Characteristics of “Effectiveness”

  14. Effective Teachers of Gifted Learners Genuine interest in, liking of GT learners Equanimity, level-headedness, emotional stability Possess high degree of intellectual honesty Sense of humor in “line with the subject matter” Effective Teachers of Regular Learners Show respect for students Are “themselves” with students, approachable Network and collaborate with other teachers, are sought out by colleagues for teaching advice (an air of competence) Differences in Personal Characteristics of “Effectiveness”

  15. What Do GT Learners Say Makes an “Effective Teacher”? • Patience • Sense of humor • Treats each student as individual • Is not a performer, but a facilitator • Gives regular, accurate “feedback” • Provides new material regularly with less repetition of old “stuff” • Moves quickly through material

  16. What Does the Research Say About GT Instructional Delivery/ Differentiation? • Acknowledgement of Differences in Learning Preferences of GT Learners • Independent study • Self-instructional materials • Self-structured projects • Discussion • Lecture • Games and simulations as benchmarks of progress • Hands on “new” learning

  17. What Does the Research Say About GT Instructional Delivery/Differentiation? • Qualitative Differences in Learning That Require Differences in Delivery are acknowledged • Pacing (2-3 times faster than “normal” class pace) • Elimination of excess “drill & kill” (2-3 repetitions beyond mastery) • Teaching of complex concepts, generalizations, principles • Whole-to-part concept teaching • Opportunity for individual reflection and analysis of learning • Opportunity to study topics in depth • Acquisition of knowledge and skills in specific talent area(s) on a daily basis

  18. What Does the Research Say About the Curriculum the Effective Teacher of Gifted Learners Delivers? • The curriculum content is modified to: • Be abstract • Be complex • Connect with other disciplines • Be organised whole -to-part • Relate to human issues, social problems • Teach methods practicing professionals use

  19. What Does the Research Say About the Curriculum the Effective Teacher of Gifted Learners Delivers? • Processes Required for Student Thinking and Learning or the Way in Which the Teacher teaches focus on: • HOTS not MOTS • Open-endedness • Proof and Reasoning • Discovery, Shared Inquiry, Problem-Based Learning • Value of Group Production • Freedom of Choice

  20. What Does the Research Say About the Way Teachers Organize Group Learning Experiences? • Options for grouping by ability level • Full-time grouping .49, .33 • Cluster grouping .62 • Pull-out program .45,.44,.32 • Cooperative grouping .28 • Cooperative dyads .26

  21. What Does the Research Say About the Way Teachers Organize Group Learning Experiences? • Options for grouping by performance • Regrouping for specific instruction .79 • Cluster grouping by performance .44 • Within class grouping .34 • Pull-out programs .45 • Cross-graded classes .45, .46 • Cooperative grouping .28 • Cooperative dyads .26 • Grade telescoping .40

  22. What Does the Research Say About the Way Teachers Organize Accelerated Learning Experiences? • Academic Effect Sizes • Early Entrance (8) .35 • Grade Skipping .37 • Grade Telescoping .45 • Concurrent Enrollment .28 • Subject Acceleration .59 • International Baccalaureate .54 • Advanced Placement .62 • Mentorship .47 • Credit by Examination .59 • Early University Admission .39

  23. What Does the Research Say About the Way Teachers Organize Learning Experiences? • Individualization Options • Compacting .83, .28 • Non-graded, multi-age .38 • Credit by testing out/prior learning .57 • Mentorships .47 • On-line learning/distance learning .74 • Independent study 0

  24. What Does the Research Say About the Curriculum the Effective Teacher of Gifted Learners Delivers? • “Room” is found in the program offered to GT learners for: • The “classics” of literature, the great ideas of philosophy, science, history, the arts • Infusion of the arts in all areas of the curriculum (aesthetics, criticism, history) • Divergent production training • Organization, planning, time management training • Communication and group skills training • Affective awareness and support • Social issues, ethical dilemmas, conflict resolution discussion • Service learning, social action

  25. Can One Teacher Do It All? • It’s a daunting task, being an educator, bearing the responsibility for shaping both academics and attitudes. Accountability, as defined in today’s schools, often measures the easy stuff: the math facts memorized, the commas placed correctly, the historical events sequenced. But the true measure of an educator’s teaching performance is not so readily determined. No computer scanned bubble sheet measures how our students feel about learning, or their biases toward self and others. These indexes, the true value of learning and education, elude detection and measurement, sometimes for years…So brave educators wishing to enhance both students’ self-concepts and their achievements must be content with not knowing the immediate or long-term impacts of their actions. • Delisle, J.R. (1992). Guiding the social and emotional development of gifted youth: A practical guide for educators and counselors. New York: Longman (pp.49-50).

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