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Training Teachers in Gifted and Talented Education  

There is no question that well-trained teachers are essential for student learning.  High quality instruction demands that teachers are aware of and are able to respond to their students' unique qualities and characteristics.

The majority of GT students spend a high percentage of their time in the regular education classroom.  Therefore, it’s essential that teachers and other school personnel are familiar with the characteristics of giftedness and possess an array of strategies to address and meet the students’ learning differences and needs.

Only a small number of universities offer programs that prepare teachers specifically for working with gifted and talented learners (more on teacher training programs); only a handful of states require all teachers to receive pre-service training in gifted and talented education and 36 states do not require general education teachers to have training on the nature and needs of gifted and talented students at any point in their careers.  As a result, responsibility for improving teaching and learning of gifted students rests with school district personnel who hire teachers and ensure their competence through required licensure or certification, professional development, collaboration with colleagues, and assessment of teacher practice.

Teachers knowledgeable about the learning needs of gifted and talented students are making a difference for students across the country.

What the Research Says about teachers and gifted students

Gifted and talented students learn differently than other students.  Teachers trained to recognize these differences and who can adapt instruction using an array of strategies that are well researched can help children soar.  Click here to read about some of the research that highlights how well-trained teachers can make a difference with their students. 

What every teacher should know about working with Gifted students

Because gifted and talented students are served in a range of settings, including the regular classroom, it's crucial that all teachers have a basic understanding of how to work with gifted students.  These understandings are also critcal for student referrals for gifted education programs and services.  Unfortunately, the majority of teachers have not been trained on the nature and needs of gifted students. 

NAGC has responded by identifying the primary knowledge and skills standards in gifted and talented education that all teachers should possess.  Click here for the standards for all teachers, which can be used by teacher training programs and others involved in training teachers already in the classroom. 

Standards for Teacher Training Programs

NAGC and CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) collaborated to write standards for teacher preparation programs in gifted and talented education.  The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) adopted these standards to use when reviewing teacher training programs at universities.  To  help educators, NAGC created two guidebooks on how to use the standards -- one for universities and one for K-12 professional development personnel.

NAGC-CEC Gifted Education Teacher Training Program Standards 

Guidebooks on Teacher Preparation Standards in Gifted and Talented Education 

  • Using the National Gifted Education Standards for University Teacher Preparation Programs   
  • Using the National Gifted Education Standards for PreK-12 Professional Development

Ensuring that all teachers can identify and accomodate gifted children in their classrooms as well as graduating well-prepared teachers of gifted and talented children will have a substantial impact on gifted and talented students across the country.


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