When Full Inclusion Fails Gifted Students
Full inclusion was first used in regards to special education; a situation in which parents pushed for and sought legal solutions to compel schools to not place their children in separate classrooms. Full inclusion for gifted education means that GT students are kept in the regular classroom and the classroom teacher is responsible for differentiating instruction to meet the needs of students.
Most reasons for insisting on full inclusion of GT students are based on myths which claim these students will be fine on their own. School personnel often cite personal biased reasoning for why students should be kept in the regular classroom; that these students already possess intellectual advantage and no further accommodation should be needed.
What are some of negative impacts of full inclusion for GT students? It doesn’t take long to see the negative impact of mixed ability classrooms on GT students. Teasing and outright bullying can lead to being socially ostracized by age-peers. In classrooms where teachers are expected to meet the needs of wide-ranging abilities, GT students are generally a low priority. When these students are not challenged, they are unprepared to face challenges when they do come.
Curriculum differentiation has the potential to work for high ability students, but few educators receive adequate training to provide quality differentiation that meets these students’ needs. The academic needs of high ability students go well beyond curriculum. GT students learn best when educated with intellectual peers and by teachers trained to work with them.
What are some alternatives to full inclusion that work? Some of the best alternatives are multi-age, standalone programs where GT students are challenged by ability. Many forms of acceleration are excellent alternatives for GT students and cost-effective for schools with tight budgets. Some options include early entrance, dual-enrollment, subject and whole grade acceleration.
What approach can parents take to seek real solutions when inclusion isn’t working? Parents must engage in well-informed advocacy; know school district policy and finances, learn about possible alternatives, attend school board meetings, and know who the decision makers are at the state level. Most parents soon learn that there is power in numbers when trying to influence school policy decisions, availability of programs for GT learners, and potential extra-curricular activities. Parent advocacy groups are essential. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1PM NZST/11 AM AEST/Midnight UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Future Trends in Gifted Education (TEMPO – pdf)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
Posted on March 18, 2019, in Acceleration, Advocacy, Education, gifted education and tagged education, full inclusion, gifted education, gtchat, inclusion, TAGT, Twitter. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.