Applying Gifted Education Pedagogy in the General Education Classroom: Professional Development Module

Deborah E. Burns
E. Jean Gubbins
Sally M. Reis
Karen L. Westberg
Susan T. Dinnocenti
Carol L. Tieso

As part of the mission of The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, we wanted to devise a way to infuse gifted education pedagogy in regular classrooms. We knew that if there are programs and services for gifted and talented students, they are usually part-time opportunities beyond the regular classroom. Unless these students who have been identified for their academic or artistic needs attend a full-time school or full-time classes, only a percentage of time is devoted to addressing their talents and abilities. Therefore, providing more opportunities to enhance learning opportunities in the regular classroom is important.

What is the pedagogy of gifted education? Strategies used to support gifted education generally fall into four categories: (a) procedures that help teachers identify students’ unique interests, achievements, strengths, talents, and learning preferences, (b) strategies for enhancing and improving the quality of our curriculum units, (c) techniques for differentiating assignments, resources, teaching, and learning activities for students with varying levels of prior knowledge, distinct learning styles, interests or cognitive ability, and (d) tactics for addressing talent development through the use of interest-based enrichment activities.

Many educators now agree that gifted education should address not only the needs of children who already manifest high levels of various kinds of intelligence, but also promote the emergence and development of talent and intelligence in children who have potentials but may not have had the opportunity to develop these potentials. One possible approach for achieving this goal might be to extend the pedagogy of gifted education to all students.

We conducted a multi-year study of professional development focusing on the following question: How effective is a professional development module, focusing on conceptions of giftedness, curriculum modification, curriculum differentiation, and enrichment in helping teachers acquire new knowledge and skills related to using gifted education strategies in the regular classroom? Details of the results of the research are in Implementing a Professional Development Model Using Gifted Education Strategies With All Students (Gubbins et al., 2002).


Burns, D. E., Gubbins, E. J., Reis, S. M., Westberg, K. L., Dinnocenti, S. T., & Tieso, C. L. (2004). Applying gifted education pedagogy in the general education classroom: Professional development module (PDMCD04) [CD Rom]. Storrs: University of Connecticut, The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.