Urriculum Develpment and Teaching Strategies for Gifted Learners

This is a paper that was done already by Hala. I need this to reflect early childhood education.

Thank you.

Your paper will be 7 to 10 pages long (NOT including the cover page and references page) and include the following:

1. a statement of the issue;

2. a rationale for choosing the topic. The rationale should state why you specifically selected the topic and how it relates to early childhood education;

3. provide supporting evidence, background information, and/or pros and cons regarding the information you have uncovered;

4. your thoughts and feelings about the information as well as implications for teachers of young children;

5. a reference page. Citations and references MUST be listed in accordance with APA

Curriculum Development and Teaching Strategies for Gifted Learners

Helaine Summers

ECI 621

Selected Topics in Early Childhood Education

Dr. Jennifer Lynn Prior

August 5, 2007

Northern Arizona University

Special education and curriculum development for gifted learners has long been recognized as integral to the realization of intellectual potential and talents. Indeed, special education programs for gifted learners can be traced to Ancient Greece. As described by Plato, the Ancient Greeks generally divided education into three pars, those being maths/reading, music and sports. Students which displayed consistently higher than average ability in any of these three were from the average learners and placed in gifted education programs which focused on challenging them and nurturing their abilities (Tannenbaum, 1997). Students who excelled in special education programs were, according to Persson, Joswog and Balogh (1997), once again, separated from their above average co-learners and placed in programs designed for geniuses. The intent of this program was not simply the realization of gifted learners full potential but the development of future leaders.
The historical introduction offered in the preceding highlights a long-standing acknowledgement of the importance of designing special education programs which address the mental capacities, abilities and talents of gifted learners and function to both enable and guide them towards the realisation of their potential. Integral to the realization of potential of gifted students is, of course, curriculum and learning strategies. Within the context of the stated, therefore, curriculum development and learning strategies for gifted students assume unique importance and, accordingly, have been the focus of numerous research and studies. This paper shall review a number of these studies for the purpose of evaluating the variant curriculum development and learning strategies for gifted students.
In his analysis of gifted learners educational requirements, Shore (1988) argued that without a curriculum which is designed in response to their needs, the full potential of gifted learners will never be truly realized. Even while conceding that prerequisite to the design of such a curricular is the careful and critical evaluation of individual learner requirements and, possibly, the design of differentiated curricula within the context of a more general curricular framework, Shore (1988) defended his approach to curriculum development as optimally suited to the needs of individual gifted learners.
The development/design of a differentiated gifted learner curriculum is a complex undertaking insofar as it involves the design of both general and specific curricula. The design of the general gifted learners curricula should, according to both Shore (1988) and Van Tassel-Baska (2003) be informed by an empirical investigation of variant gifted learners curricula. The purpose of the aforementioned investigation is the isolation and identification of that set of factors from which a gifted learners curriculum derives its strength. This does not just include curriculum content but the role of teachers, administrators and parents in the support and communication of that curriculum. In other words, the reference here is to the design of an environment which is supportive of gifted learners and not just curriculum content. To this extent, and as Shore (1988, p. 9) argues,  the considered advice of experts and persons actively involved in the field, is integral to the successful realization of a best-practice gifted learners general curricular framework. In other words, schools need to invest the requisite time and effort in the design of a gifted learners curriculum which aims towards the creation of a supportive learning environment, involving all of gifted learners, their teachers, parents and school administrators.
The development of a curriculum for gifted learners, however, is infinitely more complex than the above stated. Indeed, the design of the aforementioned curriculum is only the first step towards the formulation of a gifted learners curriculum as which would specifically address the needs and requirements of individual learners. As Shore (1988, p. 15) notes,  gifted children require a qualitatively different education, with a distinctive curriculum, at least part of the time. There are two implications to this. The first is that gifted students require an educational which is different from that of average students and the second is that gifted students need to be differentiated one from the other and each provided with the education which corresponds to his/her needs and intellectual capabilities.
Boreland (1989) concurs with Shore s (1988) argument regarding the imperatives of designing differentiated curricula for gifted students. Indeed, as he argues, the very definition of curriculum as  that reconstruction of knowledge and experience, systematically developed under the auspices of the school (or university), to enable the learner to increase his or her control of knowledge and experience (Borland, 1989, p. 175), supports this particular perspective on curricular design. Quite simply stated, if the purpose of an educational curriculum is to intellectually challenge students, expand the parameters of their knowledge, and educate them, it should both address a student s needs and his intellectual level. In other words, curriculum for gifted learners need be differentiated for greater responsiveness to the needs of individual learners.
Proceeding from the above stated, differentiated curriculum emerges as the curricular framework which gifted learner programs must aspire towards the design and implementation of. Tomlinson (2001) agrees and, even goes so far as to argue that differentiated curricula is the only means by which schools and teachers can effectively respond to, and satisfy the needs of gifted learners.
The argument in favour of the design and implementation of a differentiated curriculum for gifted students does not suggest that the entirety of the curriculum should be designed around individual students but only specific aspects therein. As Tomlinson (2001) proposes, in gifted education programs the general curriculum should be uniform, in that all students sit for the same general classes. Following from that, however, and as based on each individual student s needs, each gifted learner should further be required to sit for classes and study additional material in the subject, or subjects of his/her speciality. In other words, both the content and the mode of its delivery are partially differentiated from one gifted learner to another and not the entire gifted learner curriculum (Tomlinson, 2001).
Within the context of the partially differentiated gifted learners curriculum, as defined and described in the preceding, Castellano (2002) maintains that the design has to adhere to a set of basic requirements. In the first place, the curriculum must be designed in such a ay so that it directly correlates to the target learner s areas of speciality, or exception, and his/her specified needs. Added to that, the differentiated curriculum in question n