Date of Award

1-1-2010

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Leadership and Policies

Sub-Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Susan Schramm-Pate

Abstract

An English language arts elementary teacher is the focus of this qualitative case study. For twelve years, 'Karen Winters' (pseudonym) served as an elementary reading specialist for struggling readers and today, she is in her second year of teaching English language arts to students who are identified as academically gifted and talented. The case study took place at Beech Hill Elementary School (pseudonym), one of eleven elementary schools in a school district located in a suburban community in the southeastern United States of America. Research questions include: 1) How are the practices of a novice teacher of elementary 'gifted and talented' students influenced by her previous teaching background?; and 2) How are the practices of a novice teacher of elementary 'gifted and talented' students influenced by her school district's curricular and pedagogical mandates?

Following Merriam (1998; 1988), and Yin (1984), the qualitative case study explores Karen's philosophy of education of gifted learners and her curricular and pedagogical practices with the gifted learners through five 90 minute classroom observations and six 60 minute interviews. Artifacts collected for data analysis triangulation include state curricular standards, lesson plans, field notes, and journal entries.

The qualitative case study reveals the strengths and limitations of Karen's practice and offers suggestions and recommendations for broadening the curricular and pedagogical practices for teachers of gifted learners. An analysis of the data reveals three virtues that complicate and add to suggestions for effective teacher-preparation programs in the literature (Brewer, Rees, & Argys, 1995; Davidson Institute for Talent Development, 2010; Davis & Rimm, 2004; Heath, 1997; Rogers, 2000; Shore & Delcourt, 1996; Van-Tassel Baska & Stambaugh, 2006). These virtues include: 1) understanding that one size does not fit all; 2) debunking the myths; and 3) knowing the two faces of a people-pleaser.

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