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Who Should Teach Gifted Children?



Although often a  concern for parents of gifted children, this week’s chat saw an influx of teachers interested in how this question would be answered. During the course of the discussion of who should teach gifted children, many aspects of today’s educational system came into question. Do personal attributes of a teacher affect their ability to teach a distinct population? How important is certification in a specific area of instruction? Can education be delivered outside the traditional school house? What role does teacher-training play in the delivery of specialized education? And finally … is it okay to use gifted students as teaching assistants in the classroom?

Our first question explored whether or not a teacher had to be gifted themselves to teach gifted children. A vast majority of checklists found in academic journals suggest that this is indeed a recommended if not essential requirement for teachers interacting with gifted students. However, most (but not all) of those voicing an opinion in this chat did not believe it should be required as simply being gifted did not necessarily make one a good teacher; although it was desirable trait. Other qualities such as empathy for gifted students (see “Can Empathy for Gifted Students Be Nurtured in Teachers?” in the links below), a desire to teach in a gifted classroom, acceptance that their students might well be more intelligent than the teacher and adequate professional development were mentioned as more important.

Certification was a different matter. Clearly, most felt  it was essential that teachers be certified in gifted education if they were teaching in a traditional classroom. Celeste, a homeschooling mother in Australia, expressed it this way ~ “YES – what vocation allows professionals to serve without relevant qualifications?” It was pointed out that the certification process should be meaningful with extensive review of the nature of giftedness including issues such as twice-exceptional (gifted and LD), asynchronous development and social-emotional needs. Certification was also seen as a pathway to better understanding gifted children.

Celeste, a homeschooling mother in Australia, expressed it this way ~ “YES – what vocation allows professionals to serve without relevant qualifications?”

Many of those who regularly attend #gtchat homeschool their gifted children so we believed that it was important to recognize this growing segment of the homeschooling community. Gifted homeschoolers told us that for most it was a necessity as regular educational settings simply could not meet the needs of their children. Parents felt they knew their children better, were qualified to teach or had access to resources in their communities or online (see link to Gifted Homeschoolers Forum). They also told us how much work they put into educating their children and the sacrifices that had been made to have a parent available to homeschool.

An edited (we don’t think you care to see all the retweets!) transcript of the full chat may be found at Storify. Check out the beautiful new interface that Storify has provided us making our transcripts much easier to read!

gtchat thumbnail logoGlobal #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered byTAGT 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:


Can Empathy for Gifted Students Be Nurtured in Teachers?

Teaching Gifted Children: National Guidelines & State Requirements from Duke TIP

Ohio: Teaching Gifted Students

Professional Training for Teachers of the Gifted & Talented

Maryland: Criteria for Excellence Gifted & Talented Program Guidelines

NM: Gifted Education Licensure Endorsement Guide (pdf)

Knowledge & Skill Standards in Gifted Education for All Teachers  the NAGC

NAGC-CEC Teacher Preparation Standards in Gifted

NAGC – CEC Teacher Preparation Standards in Gifted & Talented Education Guidelines (pdf)

Using NAGC-CEC Teacher Preparation Standards in CAEP Accreditation Process

Advice for New Gifted Education Specialists

Gifted Education Professional Development Package from the Australian Government Department of Education *Excellent resource for teachers

How Are Gifted Teachers Different from Other Teachers? (pdf) by Dr. Linda Silverman

What Are the Characteristics of Effective Teachers of the Gifted? by Carol Fertig

What Are the Most Effective Characteristics of Teachers of the Gifted? (pdf) 1997

Characteristics & Competencies of Teachers of Gifted Learners: The Hong Kong Teacher Perspective (pdf)

IL: Standards for Endorsement in Gifted Education

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

Homeschooling Gifted Children” from Hoagies Gifted

Creative Home Schooling: A Resource Guide for Smart Families (Amazon) by Lisa Rivero

Homeschooling Highly Gifted Children by Kathi Kearney

Homeschooling with Profoundly Gifted Kids by Kathryn Finn

Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom

One Thing We’d Like to Tell The Teachers of Our Gifted Children


Photo of teacher courtesy of By the U.S. Census Bureau (the U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Feature Photos) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What Does the Perfect Gifted Program Look Like?

What does the perfect gifted program look like? It quickly became apparent that describing the perfect program was not hard at all. Now, finding somewhere that one existed … that was a different story altogether! Most people agreed that one-size-does-not-fit-all. There were many paths that could be considered excellent choices, but each child had to find their own. A full transcript of the chat may be found here.

Some of the various programs that were considered included pull-out (good for peer relationships), acceleration (great choice for those who were achievement-oriented), ability grouping within the regular classroom (when inclusion was the only option), multi-age classrooms (great when available, but few and far between), special schools (charter, cyber, private … great, but potentially expensive), and homeschooling (good choice when families were committed and able to do so).

A multitude of resources are available online and many are shared below. Several links were added after the chat for specific programs. The NAGC (US) and the CEC proved to be excellent sources of information.

In closing, a comment from Cybraryman ~ ” “A beautiful thing is never perfect.” We need to constantly change, adapt, amend to make a program better.”



Gifted Program Standards from @NAGCGIFTED

What to Look for in a Gifted Program” from the CEC

Montana Gifted Program Planning Guide (pdf)

The Effects of Participating in Gifted Programs Extend Beyond Academics” from @DukeTIP 

In Search of the Perfect Program” (pdf) Silverman 1991

The Iowa Acceleration Scale

A Nation Deceived

Cybraryman’s Cooking and Recipes Page (see transcript)

Top 10 Advocacy Tips for Parents of Black & Hispanic Gifted Students from Dr. Joy Davis

Building a Joyful Learning Community from Justin Schwamm

Comprehensive Curriculum for Gifted Learners by Van-Tassel Baska (Amazon)

Handbook of Gifted Education by Colangelo (Amazon)

The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners by Tomlinson (Amazon)

Teaching Models in Education of The Gifted by Maker (Amazon)

Twice-Exceptional Gifted Children: Understanding, Teaching, and Counseling Gifted Students by Trail (Amazon)

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