Getting the Dialogue Started: A Conversation With Educators on GATE Teachers

Getting the Dialogue Started: A Conversation With Educators on GATE Teachers

Judith A. Bazler, Letitia Graybill, Alex Romagnoli
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5879-8.ch002
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This chapter provides a description of Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) teachers and supports that description through research and a professional discussion between two experienced educators at the university level. A brief literature review is first provided with an emphasis on how established research in the field of “gifted” students informs research on GATE teachers. The chapter then focuses on a professional discussion between two teacher educators who specialize in science education. During the discussion, which is interspersed and framed in educational research, the educators identify the elements of GATE teachers, analyze how GATE teachers are identified, and how to maintain GATE teachers during teacher preparation and as professionals in the field. Finally, implications for education preparation programs are provided.
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In 2008, Mark Bauerlein wrote a damning treatise on the youth of America. His book, titled The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future or Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30, asserted that modern teenagers, “are encased in more immediate realities that shut out conditions beyond – friends, clothes, cars, pop music, sitcoms, Facebook” (p. 13). For Bauerlein, the access to new technologies did not become tools for self-enlightenment; rather, they became simple instruments of connectivity between peers. Perhaps even more damning was Bauerlein’s blunt thesis in regards to modern youth:

I don’t mean to judge the social deportment, moral outlook, religious beliefs, or overall health of members of the Dumbest Generation. Nor should we question their native intelligence. I’m speaking of intellectual habit and repositories of knowledge, not anything else. (p. 33)

It may not be reassuring to hear that a Professor of English at Emory University isn’t directly questioning the “intellectual habit” of modern youth, however the pessimistic viewpoint is vital as it relates to issues of modern education.

The world is 10 years removed from what Bauerlein initially labeled “The Dumbest Generation.” These students have begun graduating from Universities around the country. Yet, despite the perilous prophecy that Bauerlein decreed in 2008, the education world is now coming full circle with the “dumbest generation” being viewed in a new light. That same generation, which had a voracious appetite for popular culture, spearheaded a social media renaissance and challenged the very foundations of how content is learned, is now host to what this volume deems Gifted and Talented Education (GATE).



Recognizing the dearth of research on Gifted and Talented Education teachers and the need to begin such a discourse, this chapter revolves around a conversation between two experienced education professors who share their experiences and insights regarding GATE teachers. While the following transcript is not a traditional interview, as designed by researchers such as Kvale (1996) or Marshall and Rossman (2011), the professors do highlight their experiences working with professional teachers at both the elementary and secondary levels.

Key Terms in this Chapter

GATE Teachers: Gifted and talented education teachers are either pre-service or active service educators in either public or private grade school settings who expand their own academic growth (through both experiences and further education) for the benefit of the students they teach.

Clinical Practice: The portion of a pre-service teacher’s pedagogical preparation that involves said teacher’s exposure to professional responsibilities including, but not limited to, lesson planning, classroom management, direct instruction, small/large group instruction, assessment, and community outreach.

Reciprocal Teaching: A pedagogical method in which students take on the role of teacher through the guidance of the class instructor.

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