Gifted education and the inclusion educational approach
This Research Project sought to determine more about whether the needs of gifted students are being served successfully within the current educational approach of inclusion, and whether teachers are properly supported and professionally prepared to accommodate these types of learners (and other Special Education students in general) into their regular education (inclusion) classrooms. A mixed-methods survey gathered information from 24 regular education classroom teachers across four separate schools in two neighbouring school districts in British Columbia during the winter of 2012. The vast majority of Special Education students in surveyed teachers’ classrooms were identified as having a learning disability, while few were identified as being gifted, echoing previous gifted education researchers’ fear of a “quiet crisis” in this area. A strong majority of participants believed more students would benefit from a Special Education designation. Results also revealed that although the majority of participants had been involved in professional development directed related to Special Education at some point, they felt professional unprepared and improperly supported to address the needs of these students in their regular education (inclusion) classrooms. More, the entire range of Special Education students represented considerable challenges of incorporation to participants. The majority of teacher time on accommodations went to those with learning disabilities, while the least went to gifted students. This study concluded that a concentrated effort by school districts and the Ministry of Education alike needs to be undertaken in terms of focused professional development and support of its teachers in Special Education policies, ideologies, and strategies, whilst seriously addressing the gap between the policy and practice of inclusion in regular education classrooms.