An interview study of rural elementary teachers of the gifted and their perceptions of professional development and training experiences
Harrison, Rebecca Sutphin
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The focus of this study is training for teachers in rural gifted education classrooms and the perceptions of four gifted teachers in rural northeast Georgia schools who were trained through RESA certification. Interviews were conducted at the schools in the classrooms where they taught. Based on the data from the interviews, this study suggests how appropriate training can help rural gifted education teachers better implement gifted education pedagogy in their classrooms for their gifted students. The findings of this study revealed that the gifted education teachers in the RESA certification program had not received much preparation to work with gifted students and most of the training they had received was through professional reading they had done on their own. The teachers struggled with issues of diversity, social emotional development, professional development and technology. An examination of factors that influence how rural gifted education teachers meet the needs of their gifted students should provide the direction for a certification program. Rural schools need to accept the funding responsibilities for their gifted students, provide more professional training in gifted education, and address issues of diversity and social emotional development of the students. In addition, they need to be held accountable for providing for the technology needs of gifted students to allow them to compete in the larger society.