Primary teachers’ perceptions of the social and emotional aspects of gifted and talented education.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
This study investigates the impact that teacher attitudes and experiences have on their understandings of the social and emotional characteristics and needs of gifted and talented children. It addresses the issues within Aotearoa New Zealand Primary school settings. The study used a mixed methodology approach. Quantitative data was collected in the form of questionnaires to collect information from a range of participants and to identify potential participants for individual interviews. More in-depth qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews conducted with four teachers.
The findings suggest that many teachers are uncertain about the social and emotional characteristics and needs of gifted and talented children. Teachers expressed positive attitudes towards gifted and talented children while acknowledging their lack of personal knowledge about gifted and talented education. The findings also identified teachers‘ frustrations at barriers affecting their ability to support gifted and talented children‘s social and emotional needs in their classroom programmes, including, limited personal knowledge and skills, lack of professional development, lack of time to spend with gifted and talented children, and school directed priorities for meeting the needs of other children.
The findings of this study have implications for teachers wanting to support gifted and talented children, educators interested in the social and emotional needs of gifted and talented children, and those responsible for gifted and talented education (GATE) programmes and GATE professional development. It would seem that it is highly desirable for all teachers to have professional development in gifted and talented education, in order to better understand social and emotional aspects, and thereby provide a more supportive environment where gifted and talented children can learn and grow.