Special Education / Education 636

Practicum and Action Research in Teaching Gifted Learners

1. Catalog Entry

Practicum and Action Research in Teaching Gifted Learners

Credit hours (3)

This practicum provides a minimum 60-hour clinical experience in teaching gifted learners. Seminar meetings are regularly scheduled to enhance professional development. An action research study is a required component of the course.

2. Detailed Description of Course

This graduate-level practicum experience in teaching gifted learners is designed to provide direct field experiences with gifted education programs and services in grades appropriate to the graduate student’s initial teacher licensure certification area. Students will apply skills and knowledge in individualized assessment, curriculum planning, and instructional methodology for gifted learners. An action research component will require students to apply inquiry, writing, and research skills to a relevant issue or concern in gifted education. Regularly scheduled seminar meetings will enhance professional development and address issues such as the following:
• Collaboration with general education teachers and other teaching professionals on behalf of gifted learners;
• Roles and responsibilities of the identification and placement committee;
• Development of learning environments that recognize and support the cognitive and affective needs of gifted learners; and
• Evaluation of gifted learners’ academic growth using multiple criteria.

3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Field placements are made in appropriate grade/subject areas with respect to students’ initial area/s of teacher licensure. Opportunities are provided to teach gifted learners in heterogeneously grouped (mixed ability) or homogeneously grouped (single ability) classrooms.  The practicum experience will provide for a minimum of 60-clock hours with at least 45 hours spent supervised in direct teaching activities. An action research component will require students to apply inquiry, writing, and research skills to a relevant issue or concern in gifted education. Special seminars are regularly scheduled to enhance the professional development of students.

4. Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals, objectives, and assignments in this course address CAEP Standards, Virginia Licensure Regulations for School Personnel (8VAC20-542-300), and the NAGC-CEC Teacher Knowledge & Skill Standards for Gifted and Talented Education (which were adopted by NCATE in 2006).

At the conclusion of this course, the teacher/teacher candidate will have had the opportunity to develop competencies in the following knowledge and skills and will be able to:
• Apply theories and research models that form the basis of curriculum development and instructional practice for individuals with gifts and talents; (CAEP #1; 8VAC20-542-300 #9; NAGC-CEC #1, #7)
• Align differentiated instructional plans with local, state, and national curricular standards and selects curriculum resources, strategies, and product options that respond to cultural, linguistic, and intellectual differences among gifted learners; (CAEP #7; 8VAC20-542-300 #4; NAGC-CEC #7)
• Select and adapt a variety of evidence-based curriculum and instructional strategies to incorporate advanced, conceptually challenging, in-depth, distinctive, and complex content for individuals with exceptional learning needs across various cognitive, affective, aesthetic, social, and linguistic domains; (CAEP #2, #4, #5; 8VAC20-542-300 #2, #3, #4, #5; NAGC-CEC #4, #6)
• Complete an action research/self-study project examining professional practice and/or current issue in gifted education; (CAEP #9; 8VAC20-542-300 #6; NAGC-CEC #9)
• Use information and/or assistive technologies to meet the needs of learners; (CAEP #8; 8VAC20-542-300 #4; NAGC-CEC #4)
• Create safe learning environments for gifted learners that promote self-awareness, independence, positive peer relationships, interdependence, intercultural experiences, and leadership; (CAEP #3; 8VAC20-542-300 #2, #5; NAGC-CEC #5)
• Demonstrate proficiency in using and interpreting multiple assessments in different domains for identifying gifted learners, assessing and documenting academic growth of gifted learners, and instructional planning and delivery for gifted learners; (CAEP #6; 8VAC20-542-300 #3, #5; NAGC-CEC #8)
• Utilize school and community resources, including content specialists, to support differentiation for gifted learners; (CAEP #10; 8VAC20-542-300 #1; NAGC-CEC #10)
• Collaborate with individuals with gifts and talents, their families, general, and special educators, and other school staff to articulate a comprehensive preschool through secondary educational program; (CAEP #10; 8VAC20-542-300 #1; NAGC-CEC #10) and
• Demonstrate proficiency in grammar, usage, and mechanics across both oral and written assignments, communications for a variety of purposes, and proficiency in writing as a tool for effective instructional planning and assessment (8VAC20-542-300 #7, #8).

5. Assessment Measures

Assessment in the practicum is both formative and summative and is completed collaboratively by the cooperating teacher and the university supervisor/s. Assessment methods include, but are not limited to, the following:
• An action research project focused on a relevant issue or concern in gifted education
• Curriculum and student-assessment products (unit of instruction and analysis of impact on students)
• Multimedia presentation on Action Research project
• Teaching responsibilities
• Participation in seminar class meetings (discussions and small-group activities)

Technological proficiency must be demonstrated in written assignments, electronic mail communications, and correspondence.

6. Other Course Information

This course will be cross-listed with EDUC 636

Review and Approval
March 17, 2014