Title page for ETD etd-11132007-103408


Type of Document Dissertation
Author McGlonn, Kimberly Nicole
Author's Email Address kmcglo@gmail.com
URN etd-11132007-103408
Title An Examination of the Expectations and Experiences of Beginning Teachers of the Gifted
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Educational Theory, Policy, & Practice
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Rita Culross Committee Chair
Ann Trousdale Committee Member
David Kirshner Committee Member
Earl Cheek Committee Member
Irene Di Maio Dean's Representative
Keywords
  • beginning teacher
  • teacher preparation
  • gifted
  • case study
Date of Defense 2007-10-24
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Researchers in the field of gifted education have pointed to the need for deeper understanding of the complex expectations and experiences of beginning teachers of the gifted (Pollak, 1996; Hanninen, 1988), that is, teachers of the gifted who have less than three years’ experience teaching gifted learners. Further, several important questions remain unanswered regarding the structure/content of preparation for pre-service teachers of the gifted (Joffe, 2001; Chan, 2001; Mills, 2003; Hansen and Feldhusen, 1994; Johnsen, 2004). Finally, the field of gifted education would benefit from insight into the experiences of beginning teachers of the gifted, particularly insight from a first-hand perspective.

The purpose of this qualitative research effort was to shed light on the expectations and experiences of beginning teachers of the gifted. This was done through the utilization of the case study approach, whereby seven beginning teachers of the gifted were invited to participate. The research aimed to provide school districts, both locally and nationally, with insight into what can be done to assist in the preparation, support and retention of beginning teachers of the gifted. The final purpose of this study was to give voice to the experiences of this population of educators.

The findings of the study center on the notion that the needs of beginning teachers of the gifted are different from the needs of other beginning teachers. Namely, all seven participants felt that their undergraduate courses in education, and to some extent their graduate courses, did not adequately cover the needs of the gifted. Participant insight revealed a calling for curriculum training on differentiating instruction and acceleration. Beginning teachers of the gifted reported a desire to receive training on the social and emotional needs of the gifted, and the IEP. More specifically they felt unable to address the social and emotional needs of this population, particularly underachievement and depression. Finally, these beginning teachers of the gifted expressed a need for other kinds of supports such as mentors and opportunities to network with other teachers of the gifted.

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