Posts Tagged ‘Differentiation’

EDCI 506 Equal Education Opportunity Week 11

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Equal Education Opportunity

How is curriculum and instruction in a class for gifted students different from that in other classes? How might you teach a student who is gifted and talented in your inclusive classroom?


Curriculum and instruction in a class for gifted students is very different from that of other classes because of the accommodations and modifications that need to be made in order to meet each student’s individual needs.  Giftedness can be thought of as “cognitive (intellectual) superiority (not necessarily of genus caliber), creativity, and motivation in combination and of sufficient magnitude to set children apart from the vast majority of their age peers and make it possible for them to contribute something of particular value to society” (Hallahan, Kaufman, & Pullen, 2012, p. 431).  Within the term giftedness is a multitude of abilities such as precocity (remarkable early development), insight into relevant and irrelevant information, genius, creativity of novel ideas, and talent or special abilities (Hallahan, Kaufman, & Pullen, 2012).  Because students with all of these abilities can be considered gifted, it is a difficult challenge on the teacher on how to provide appropriate lessons for all.

If I were to have a student who is gifted and talented in my classroom I would strive to make sure that lessons are at their appropriate level, while keeping the overall information the same.  It is very important to not just assume that because a gifted student understands that he/she does not need and want appropriate leveled tasks and assignments.  Teachers need to not use gifted students as a way to help other struggling students; they have a mind of their own and are essentially still students who need guidance and support from their teacher.  Hopefully, I would never tell my gifted student to go to the library to do extra reading because they already know the information.  I want to challenge my gifted students at an appropriate level and will do so by providing the same information, but maybe making their tasks a bit more challenging so that they have to use their creative and innovative brain.  Another one of my textbooks states, “highly talented young people suffer boredom and negative peer pressure in heterogeneous classrooms.  Students of all ages and grade levels are entitled to challenging and appropriate instruction if they are to develop their talents fully” (Hallahan, Kaufman, & Pullen, 2012, p. 442).


Collect resources that will help you teach effectively in your inclusive classroom. For example, include a list of resources that you found to differentiate instruction or manage a classroom environment.


– My textbook from my special education class has a lot of good information in it pertaining to what gifted and talented means, how as a teacher to serve these students, and what early intervention can do for a student.  This book is called Exceptional Learners An Introduction to Special Education and is written by Hallahan, Kauffman, and Pullen some of whom are professors at UVA.  The textbook covers a wide range of disabilities and different educational considerations for each.

– This is a great website for teachers and parents who work with students who have disabilities.  The website reviews all disabilities and other things such as the IDEA law and educational forms like IEPs.  Under each disability is a handout of information and within most are tips for teachers.

The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners is a book written by Carol Tomlinson, and is about differentiated instruction in the classroom and its importance.  This book covers topics from what is differentiated instruction to instructional strategies that help to differentiate between students.  There is a free version of the book online at



How can professional collaboration enhance education in an inclusive classroom?

Professional collaboration can enhance education in an inclusive classroom immensely.  Through working and discussing techniques with other teachers, you may be in a way providing different intervention techniques without even knowing it.  Response to Intervention is a current technique that requires students to stay in the general education classroom while teachers provide researched based interventions in order to try and help the student overcome whatever problems they may be having in the classroom before they are recommended for special education services (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  If teachers collaborate, than they most likely will be using intervention techniques that maybe other teachers have used that have been successful, therefore, helping the overall well-being of the student.  Collaboration can also make sure that students with suspected disabilities are getting a consistent education across classrooms.  For example, if a student switches classrooms for math and science and is with another teacher, teacher one should share the techniques that work for the student with teacher two, in order to help the student improve all around in their educational career.  Collaboration is very important when it comes to a student’s success, especially if they have or are suspected of having a disability.


What steps should you take to help prepare you to teach students with disabilities?

There are many steps that a teacher can take to help prepare them to teach students with disabilities.  One major way teachers can be proactive is to look up what research has to say about different teaching techniques and strategies that work well for certain types of disabilities.  This in a way is similar to Response to Intervention, which, as mentioned, is to use researched based interventions in order to help students make gains before they are referred to special education (Ornstein, Levine, & Gutek, 2011).  That is an easy and free way to prepare your self for working with students with disabilities.  Another step that you can take is to collaborate with the special educator in your building and get advice and strategies from them on how to better serve students with disabilities.  Another step could be to co-teach with the special educator in order to be able to address all students in an appropriate manner.  One last way to help prepare to work with students with disabilities is to receive training, this training is usually provided by your school, which may be expensive so not all teachers will have this option.  That is why it is also important to be proactive and to seek out resources yourself, rather than just waiting for people to provide them to you.  Overall, there are many steps that a teacher can take to help prepare themselves to teach students with disabilities.


Hallahan, D.P., Kauffman, J.M., & Pullen, P.C. (2012). Exceptional learners an introduction to special education (12th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.


Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U., & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education (11th ed.).      Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.