Teachers' attitudes towards intellectually gifted children and their education

Lassig, Carly J. (2003) Teachers' attitudes towards intellectually gifted children and their education. Griffith University.


In Australia, the implementation of policies and provisions for gifted education vary among the states and territories. A commonality across the country is the reports of negative attitudes towards giftedness and gifted education, as outlined in The Australian Senate Committee’s report, The Education of Gifted Children (Collins, 2001). This study was an inquiry into the attitudes of teachers in South-East Queensland state primary schools. In particular, it explored attitudes towards intellectually gifted children and their education, and factors that may be associated with these attitudes. Research was undertaken in eight schools with varied levels of involvement in gifted education.

The study consisted of two research phases. In the first phase of research, teachers’ (N = 126) attitudes were surveyed using Gagné and Nadeau’s opinionnaire, Opinions about the gifted and their education (Gagné, 1991). This opinionnaire used a 5-point Likert scale to measure teachers’ attitudes towards six issues in gifted education: perceived needs of gifted students and support for special gifted education provisions; common objections to gifted education based on teachers’ ideologies and priorities; the social value of gifted people in society; the rejection and isolation faced by gifted people; ability grouping; and acceleration. Additionally, a teacher profile form yielded information about teachers’ demographic characteristics and backgrounds. This quantitative data was used to test associations between attitudes and demographic variables. In the second phase of research, case studies of two teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and practices were conducted. This qualitative research included semi-structured interviews and review of school documents.

From the survey research, themes emerged of positive attitudes towards gifted education and gifted people in society. However, there was a lack of support for the provision of ability grouping and acceleration, and minimal awareness of the isolating experiences faced by gifted children. Employment at schools with a focus on gifted education, and experiences of in-service training in gifted and talented education, were most significantly associated with positive attitudes. Case study results illustrated the differences in pedagogical beliefs that may exist between teachers with different attitudes towards intellectually gifted children and their education. Findings from this study suggest that further teacher training and involvement in gifted education may assist in improving attitudes towards intellectually gifted children and their education. These results may also have implications for evaluation of Queensland gifted education reforms and the nature of in-service training provided in schools. Findings from the case study research also suggest there may be a relationship between attitudes and pedagogical practice that warrants further investigation.

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ID Code: 14473
Item Type: Thesis
Refereed: No
Keywords: education, gifted, talented, children, teachers, attitudes
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Department: Education
Institution: Griffith University
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Carly J. Lassig
Deposited On: 22 Aug 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2009 08:27

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