Allen, Jennifer Kesler
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Traditional school measures and norms often fail to validate giftedness in culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners, which causes them to have limited access to and remain underrepresented in gifted education programs. Building on critical theory and Latin@ critical theory (LatCrit), this practitioner research study (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009) engaged six elementary teachers in six small-group, collaborative discussion sessions. During these discussions, teachers acted as co-researchers and used photographs and digital photo stories, created by elementary-aged Latin@ children, along with the NOT-ICE protocol (Allen, 2016) to investigate how schooling labels carry potential biases that obscure emergent bilingual students’ gifts and talents and cause teachers to overlook them for gifted referrals. The Listening Guide (Gilligan, Spencer, Weinberg, and Bertsch, 2003) facilitated the data analysis process. The findings of this study are highlighted in three interrelated but stand-alone manuscripts. In the first manuscript, “You Can’t Know Until Someone Tells You or You Experience Something”: Talking Back to Deficit Discourse with Digital Photo Stories and the NOT-ICE Teacher Discussion Protocol, the author argues that digital photo stories can act as counter-stories because they can disrupt teachers’ commonly held (mis)perceptions about emergent bilinguals of Latin@ heritage, emphasize their strengths and talent potential, and help teachers see how they might reach these students by providing them with challenging and engaging learning opportunities. Findings discussed in the second manuscript, From Gatekeeper to Advocate: How Digital Photo Stories and the NOT-ICE Teacher Discussion Protocol Sparked Conversations that Ignited Teacher Agency in Noticing and Cultivating Gifts and Talents in Emergent Bilinguals, indicate that teacher agency is crucial in a teacher’s ability to recognize untapped gifts and talents among diverse student populations, make sound pedagogical decisions to provide high-quality educational experiences for them, and act on the students’ behalf to increase their opportunities to be referred for gifted evaluation. In the third manuscript, Practitioner Research: A “Refreshing Change” for Professional Learning, the author discusses the significance of using practitioner research involving visual media and collaborative discussions as an effective form of professional learning.