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Gifted Students and Inclusion (updated January 2002)

How is it possible to meet the needs of gifted students in the regular education (inclusion) classroom?

The term "inclusion" may refer to schools, classrooms, or even curricula. It is both a philosophical approach and an instructional method. When used to refer to classrooms, it typically means all students are learning in the same classroom setting-that is, heterogeneous grouping. Many people use the term to imply that all students will learn best in the same general education classroom and teachers will be able to make learning equally meaningful for all students. Research does not support these assumptions.

Research indicates that the needs of students who are gifted can be met in the inclusive classroom under certain prerequisite conditions; for example, (1) the students are appropriately grouped in clusters or other homogeneous arrangement; (2) teachers match their instructional strategies to the specific learning needs of the students; (3) the students receive an appropriately differentiated curriculum or have access to the full range of curriculum. Access to the full range of curriculum may be achieved in many ways; for example, through distance education programs, acceleration, or specially designed programs like those sponsored by Johns Hopkins University or Stanford University.

It is not easy for teachers to provide a learning environment where each child is working at his or her level of challenge, particularly in an inclusive classroom. However, homogeneous or cluster grouping makes it easier for teachers to differentiate curriculum and use strategies such as curriculum compacting that have proven to be effective. Additional strategies for providing effective differentiated instruction are discussed in the literature included in this frequently asked question.

Following are links to related Internet resources and Internet discussion groups, as well as selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the citations.

You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:

ERIC Citations

The full text of citations beginning with an ED number (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:

The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

ERIC Search Terms Used

inclusive schools


instructional effectiveness OR outcomes of education OR regular and special education relationship OR talent development



ED449638 EC308244
Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom: Strategies and Techniques Every Teacher Can Use To Meet the Academic Needs of the Gifted and Talented. Revised, Expanded, Updated Edition.
Winebrenner, Susan
Publication_Date: 2001
Publication_Type: 010; 055
PAGE: 243
Availability: Free Spirit Publishing Inc., 217 Fifth Ave., North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299 ($34.95). Tel: 612-338-2068 (Voice); Fax: 612-337-5050; E-mail: help4kids@freespirit.com; Web site: http://www.freespirit.com.
EDRS_Price: Document Not Available from EDRS.
Audience: Parents; Practitioners; Teachers
Language: English
NOTE: Foreword by Sylvia Rimm; see ED 441 301 for related document.
Eric_Issue: RIEJUL2001
This book offers teachers of all grades teaching/management strategies for providing gifted students in regular classes the enriched curriculum they need. Chapter 1 describes the learning and behavioral characteristics of gifted students, especially noting underserved groups such as gifted children from multicultural and low socioeconomic populations and those considered "twice exceptional" (gifted and disabled). The strategies discussed in Chapters 2 and 3 are designed for use with content that is more skill-based and lends itself to pre-testing. The strategies in Chapter 4 are for use with subject areas that represent new learning for students, such as science, social studies, problem-based learning, and interdisciplinary and/or thematic units. Chapter 5 covers appropriate reading and writing instruction for gifted students. Chapter 6 explains how to plan curriculum for all students at the same time and still create differentiated activities. Chapter 7 explains how to help gifted students manage independent study. Chapter 8 describes issues to consider when grouping gifted students as well as strategies for cooperative learning. Chapter 9 discusses other issues such as acceleration and grade-skipping, qualities needed by teachers of gifted students, record-keeping, and how to deal with parents, administrators, and colleagues. Chapter 10 is for parents of gifted students. Two appendices provide instructional games and puzzles and a directory of resources. (Individual chapters contain references.)
Descriptors: *Academically Gifted; Acceleration (Education); *Classroom Techniques; Curriculum Development; Elementary Secondary Education; Enrichment Activities; Gifted; Gifted Disabled; Gifted Disadvantaged; Grouping (Instructional Purposes); *Inclusive Schools; Independent Study; Mainstreaming; *Talent; *Teaching Methods
Identifiers: *Differentiated Curriculum (Gifted)

ED445422 EC308026
Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom. ERIC Digest E595.
Smutny, Joan Franklin
Publication Date: 2000
Publication Type: Information Analysis (071); ERIC digests in full text (073)
Page: 4
Availability: ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education, Council for Exceptional Children; Tel: 800-328-0272 (Toll Free); E-mail: webmaster@hoagiesgifted.org; Web site: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/eric
EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage..
Sponsoring Agency: EDD00036 _ Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Contract No: ED-99-CO-0026
Report No: EDO-EC-00-4
ERIC Issue: RIEMAR2001
This ERIC digest discusses strategies for recognizing and nurturing giftedness in young children in the regular classroom. It begins by describing giftedness and providing a list of characteristics common in gifted four-, five-, and six-year-olds. The use of portfolios for identifying giftedness is discussed, along with the benefits of consulting with parents. General principles of teaching young gifted children are then presented and include: (1) create a learning environment that invites inquiry, uses thematic instruction to connect content areas, makes a wide range of materials available, provides activity centers for self-initiated projects, has flexible seating arrangements, offers active, lesson-related activity options for students who finish work early, and provides opportunities for creative movement, mime, dance, and singing; (2) allow for flexible grouping; (3) provide variety; (4) offer choices to allow children to choose group mates and topics and assist in designing projects and their formats; (5) create ground rules; (6) evaluate students individually; (7) compact the curriculum; and (8) incorporate creative thinking. Teachers are urged to use tests, class assignments, observations, informal interviews, consultations with parents, and portfolios for ongoing assessment on how children are performing.
Descriptors: *Ability Identification; *Academically Gifted; Classroom Design; Curriculum Design; Educational Environment; *Inclusive Schools; Parent Teacher Cooperation; Portfolio Assessment; Preschool Education; Primary Education; *Talent Development; Young Children
Identifiers: ERIC Digests

EJ619698 EC626446
Using the Piirto Pyramid of Talent Development in the Inclusionary Classroom.
Wilkes, Paula
Gifted Child Today Magazine, v23 n6 p32-33,51-52 Nov-Dec 2000
ISSN: 0892-9580
Language: English
Document Type: Guides--Non-classroom (055); Journal articles (080)
Journal Announcement: CIJJUL2001
This article discusses how the "Piirto Pyramid" of talent development was used with gifted elementary students and students with disabilities in an inclusionary classroom to motivate students to work harder. Students clipped and posted articles from newspapers and magazines that typified an aspect of the pyramid. (Contains three references.)
Descriptors: Adults; Biological Influences; *Class Activities; Disabilities; Elementary Education; *Environmental Influences; Genetics; *Gifted; Inclusive Schools; Individual Power; *Performance Factors; Personal Autonomy; *Student Empowerment; *Talent Development; Teaching Methods

EJ585835 EC622078
Action Research and Practical Inquiry: How Can I Meet the Needs of the High-Ability Student within My Regular Education Classroom?
Hughes, Lynn
Journal for the Education of the Gifted, v22 n3 p282-97 Spr 1999
ISSN: 0162-3532
Language: English
Document Type: Journal articles (080); Reports--Research (143)
Journal Announcement: CIJDEC1999
A study involving an elementary classroom with 21 students found four techniques were useful for meeting the needs of high-ability students in general-education classrooms: differentiated instruction; student choice; flexible grouping; and mixing enrichment with acceleration.
Descriptors: Acceleration (Education); *Classroom Techniques; Elementary Education; Enrichment Activities; Flexible Progression; *Gifted; Grouping (Instructional Purposes); *Inclusive Schools; *Talent Development

EJ547108 CS753590
Critical Questions.
Worthy, Jo; Hoffman, James V.
Reading Teacher; v50 n5 p436-37 Feb 1997
Publication Type: Journal Article (080); Position Paper (120)
Language: English
Presents three short replies from readers (a special educator, a teacher educator, and a superintendent) of this journal to a question about productive ways of dealing with the many instructional and affective issues raised by including gifted students and students with disabilities in the regular classroom.
Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education; Gifted; *Inclusive Schools; *Instructional Effectiveness; *Mainstreaming; Special Education; *Teacher Attitudes; *Teacher Student Relationship

EJ583760 EC621195
Resource Consultation Model in Gifted Education To Support Talent Development in Today's Inclusive Schools.
Kirschenbaum, Robert J.; Armstrong, Dorothy Ciner; Landrum, Mary S.
Gifted Child Quarterly; v43 n1 p39-47 Win 1999
Publication Type: Journal Article (080); Project Description (141)
Language: English
ERIC Issue: CIJNOV1999
Discusses the consultation model and the role of the classroom consultant for providing gifted/talented education in inclusive classrooms. Stresses the importance of training and support in the transition from being a teacher of the gifted to being a consultant.
Descriptors: *Consultation Programs; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; *Inclusive Schools; Regular and Special Education Relationship; Special Education Teachers; Talent Development; Teacher Collaboration; *Teacher Role; *Teaching Models

EJ555539 EC617767
Creating Inclusive Environments for African American Children and Youth with Gifts and Talents.
Patton, James M.; Townsend, Brenda L.
Roeper Review; v20 n1 p.13-17 Sep-Oct 1997
Language: English
Publication Type: Non-Classroom Material (055); Journal Article (080)
This article identifies gifted African American children's sociocultural and psychological needs that should be considered when promoting their inclusion in general education settings. Strategies are discussed for creating inclusive environments for these learners, including promoting leadership and prosocial skills, switching linguistic and cultural codes, and developing self-determination and regulation.
Descriptors: Black Students; Cultural Differences; Elementary Secondary Education; Gifted; Inclusive Schools; Interpersonal Competence; Leadership Training; Psychological Needs; Self Determination; Self Management; Student Leadership; Student Needs

EJ547108 CS753590
Critical Questions.
Worthy, Jo; Hoffman, James V.
Reading Teacher; v50 n5 p436-37 Feb 1997
Publication Type: Journal Article (080); Position Paper (120)
Presents three short replies from readers (a special educator, a teacher educator, and a superintendent) of this journal to a question about productive ways of dealing with the many instructional and affective issues raised by including gifted students and students with disabilities in the regular classroom.
Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education; Gifted; *Inclusive Schools; * Instructional Effectiveness; *Mainstreaming; Special Education; *Teacher Attitudes; *Teacher Student Relationship

ED409687 EC305733
Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students in the Inclusion Classroom.
Buckner, Cari
1997; 22p.; Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the Council for Exceptional Children (75th, Salt Lake City, UT, April 9-13, 1997).
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: Project Description (141); Conference Paper (150); Test, Questionnaire (160)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Utah
Journal Announcement: RIEDEC97
Target Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
This paper discusses strategies that can be used in an inclusive elementary classroom to give gifted children the opportunity to choose, plan, and develop individual projects that will add meaning and purpose to their education. The steps toward providing instruction for gifted students are described, including the beginning of the year assessment and evaluation, conferences with students and their parents to allow the students to set goals for themselves, and the development of the student educational plan. Effective strategies for adapting instruction and curriculum for the gifted children are outlined, including: (1) curriculum compacting; (2) involving students in Type 1 activities such as guest speakers, performances, videos, television programs, and field trips; (3) involving students in Type II Activities such as setting goals, predicting, determining cause and effect, following directions, making inferences, and analyzing data; (4) individual or small group student projects in a self-selected problem or area of study; and (5) enrichment clusters. The use of work portfolios, show portfolios, and teacher portfolios to assess student progress is discussed.
Descriptors: Educational Objectives; Educational Planning; *Educational Strategies; Elementary Education; *Enrichment Activities; *Gifted; *Inclusive Schools; Mainstreaming; Parent Participation; *Portfolio Assessment; Self Determination; *Student Evaluation; Student Placement

ED395404 EC304797
Concepts of Inclusion in Gifted Education.
Culross, Rita R.
Apr 1996; 11pp.; Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, April 8-12, 1996).
EDRS Price - MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Language: English
Document Type: Review Literature (070); Conference Paper (150)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Louisiana
Journal Announcement: RIEOCT96
This paper examines implications of the movement toward inclusive schools for gifted and talented students, focusing on specific issues involved in considering whether or not gifted students should be served in a regular classroom to meet the gifted student's needs, the impact on self-concept and other nonacademic factors of inclusion versus special classes, and the costs of serving gifted/talented students separately. Research addressing these questions is examined, and is generally found to support ability-level grouping as the most effective approach to meeting gifted students' cognitive and affective needs, although a shortage of empirical research on placements and outcomes of these students is noted. It is argued that the moral and philosophical arguments for inclusion of students with disabilities do not necessarily extend to inclusion of gifted and talented students, and that homogeneous grouping frequently provides the least restrictive environment for these students.
Descriptors: *Ability Grouping; *Delivery Systems; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; Grouping (Instructional Purposes); Homogeneous Grouping; *Inclusive Schools; Regular and Special Education Relationship; Student Needs; *Student Placement; *Talent

EJ532415 EC614698
Differentiating Instruction for High-Achieving/Gifted Children in Regular Classrooms: A Field Test of Three Gifted-Education Models.
Friedman, Reva C.; Lee, Steven W.
Journal for the Education of the Gifted, v19 n4 p405-36 Sum 1996
Special issue: Effective Practices.
ISSN: 0162-3532
Language: English
Document Type: Journal Article (080); Research Report (143); Evaluative Report (142)
Journal Announcement: CIJMAR97
This study evaluated three models of gifted education implemented by seven elementary regular classroom teachers. All models showed a strong relationship between cognitive level of teacher queries and student responses. The Cognitive-Affective Interaction Model produced the best increases in cognitive complexity of classroom interactions and on-task behavior.
Descriptors: *Classroom Communication; *Classroom Techniques; *Cognitive Development; Elementary Education; *Gifted; *Inclusive Schools; Models; Teacher Expectations of Students; *Teaching Models
Identifiers: Differentiated Curriculum (Gifted)

EJ530669 EC614078
Asset or Albatross?: The Education and Socialization of Gifted Students.
Del Prete, Tony
Gifted Child Today Magazine, v19 n2 p24-25,44-48,50 Mar-Apr 1996
ISSN: 1076-2175
Language: English
Document Type: Journal Article (080); Position Paper (120)
Journal Announcement: CIJFEB97
This article addresses merits and drawbacks to instructing gifted students in either an inclusive group or with students of similar ability. It evaluates each approach in terms of how the approach meets the student's personal/emotional needs and practical/intellectual needs. A variety of educational methods used in the past and definitional issues are also considered.
Descriptors: *Academically Gifted; Curriculum Design; Elementary Secondary Education; Inclusive Schools; *Individual Development; *Instructional Effectiveness; Mainstreaming; *Socialization; *Student Placement

EJ497626 EC610418
Meeting the Needs of the Gifted in the Regular Classroom: The Practices of Exemplary Teachers and Schools.
Westberg, Karen L.
Gifted Child Today Magazine, v18 n1 p27-29,41 Jan-Feb 1995
ISSN: 1076-2175
Language: English
Document Type: Journal Article (080); Non-Classroom Material (055)
Journal Announcement: CIJJUN95
Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
To meet the needs of high achieving students within regular elementary classrooms, teachers can utilize such effective practices as curriculum compacting services, students' ownership of learning, reflective teaching practices, students' choices, challenging curricula, flexible teaching, teacher collaboration, and independent student projects.
Descriptors: *Classroom Techniques; *Educational Practices; Elementary Education; *Gifted; inclusive Schools; *Mainstreaming; Teaching Methods

EJ492987 EC609751
Examining the Inclusion Movement.
Johnsen, Susan
Gifted Child Today Magazine, v17 n6 p17-19,41 Nov-Dec 1994
ISSN: 1076-2175
Language: English
Document Type: Journal Article (080); Non-Classroom Material (055)
Journal Announcement: CIJMAR95
Target Audience: Practitioners
The history of the inclusion movement is briefly summarized, with emphasis on adaptations for students who are gifted or talented. Characteristics of effective inclusion settings are identified, including effective instructional presentation, a cooperative and encouraging classroom environment, high teacher expectations, a cognitive emphasis, and active involvement of students in learning.
Descriptors: Classroom Environment; *Disabilities; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; Heterogeneous Grouping; Inclusive Schools; *Instructional Effectiveness; *Mainstreaming; Regular and Special Education Relationship

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