Historical Overview of Adult Gifted Education in the United States

Historical Overview of Adult Gifted Education in the United States

Judith Bazler (Monmouth University, USA), Letitia Graybill (Monmouth University, USA) and Meta Van Sickle (College of Charleston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0034-6.ch001
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Abstract

Giftedness is not present only in childhood. It persists for a lifetime. However, even though most colleges/universities provide special needs services for appropriate students, most if not all college faculty might not believe it necessary to provide any accommodations for gifted/talented students either at undergraduate or at the graduate level. In order to accommodate one or more gifted/talented students in a class, faculty need to rethink their pedagogy and assessment strategies. At the college/university level accommodations are usually absent because faculty do not perceive a need to do so in their courses. In courses for pre-service teachers, some instructors provide practices in courses including how to teach gifted and talented students in basic education settings for K-12 grades. This chapter presents a brief overview of gifted and talented education in the United States focusing more specifically on gifted and talented at the university (or adult) level.
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Organization Background

There is an abundant amount of research focusing on gifted students at the K-12 level. Those of us working with gifted students in university settings face many of the same challenges faced by our colleagues in the elementary and secondary schools. There is, however, insufficient research on giftedness at the collegiate level (Rinn & Plucker, 2004) or beyond (Perrone, Perrone, Ksiazak, Wright, & Jackson, 2007). Additional research is needed to focus on these collegiate populations and beyond the college classroom. While much attention has been given to the education of gifted children and adolescents, very little work has been done on the teaching of gifted adults, especially those in teacher education. Kristin, Stephen, Tracy, Amy, & Vannatter, 2010) questioned gifted adult participants who enrolled in honors courses in college about their experiences in these courses (both positive and negative). They found that one fourth of the adults reported honors classes to be challenging and rewarding (Kristin et al., 2010). A small percentage of students (12-16%) liked the small class size, and enjoyed the social interaction but found the coursework overwhelming (Kristin et al., 2010). A few of the honors programs (5.9%) that were studied (Kristen et al., 2010) revealed that gifted and talented students had provided for an earlier graduation date, a faster paced learning experience, and a sense of accomplishment. The study also showed that the students found that programs could be disappointing when they were not designed for specific fields of study (Kristen et al., 2010).

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