Curriculum and Instruction
Gifted and talented learners benefit from specially-designed instruction tailored to meet their individual academic profiles. Educators should develop adaptations or modifications to the general curriculum, learning environments, teaching methods, and/or instructional materials in order to address this need. Assessment of these needs should be the basis for any modifications and should not be a one-size-fits-all program.
When designing such a program or individual instruction, there are three fundamental differences that distinguish gifted learners from other learners, which should be considered:
- the capacity to learn at faster rates, more in-depth, and with greater complexity;
- the capacity to find, solve, and act on problems more readily; and
- the capacity to manipulate abstract ideas and make connections.
Curriculum, Instruction, Process, and Product
In developing specially designed instruction, there are four aspects that should be considered as the framework: Curriculum, Instruction, Process, and Product. The following are key principles that provide a guide for gifted program development.
- Focus on and be organized to include more elaborate, complex, and in-depth study of major ideas, key concepts, and themes that integrate knowledge within and across disciplines.
- Be an extension of core learning, using both acceleration and enrichment strategies to streamline or compact curriculum that the student is able to master quickly.
- Encourage exposure to, selection of, and use of varied, challenging, and specialized resources.
- Provide opportunities for students to recognize complex relationships and arrive at sound generalizations.
- Stress higher-level thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
- Set high standards that demand rigorous expectations for student work and performance demonstration.
- Promote in-depth learning and investigation that deals with real-life problems and issues.
- Include content and concepts that promote students’ involvement as practitioners of the discipline.
- Allow for the development and application of productive thinking skills to enable students to re-conceptualize existing knowledge and/or generate new understanding.
- Be flexibly paced and matched to the student’s ability, pre-assessment data, learning style, interest, and motivation.
- Provide students with the freedom to choose topics to study and the methods to use in manipulating and transforming information.
- Promote independent, self-directed, and in-depth study. Encourage the application of advanced research and methodological skills.
- Focus on open-ended tasks.
- Provide opportunities to develop leadership and group interaction skills;
- Allow student-centered discussion, Socratic questioning, and seminar-type learning.
- Encourage the development of products that challenge existing ideas and produce new ones.
- Incorporate the application of discipline methodologies in product development.
- Promote products that are comparable to those made by professionals in the designated field.
- Require that products of gifted students represent application, analysis, and synthesis of knowledge.
- Provide the opportunity to create products/solutions that focus on real-world issues.
- Establish high-level and exemplary criteria to assess student performance and products.