Pros and Cons of Self-Contained Gifted Programs
What Is a Self-Contained Gifted Class?
A self-contained gifted classroom is one in which the students are placed based on similar academic abilities, typically performance at or above the ninety-fifth percentile. Schools with self-contained gifted classrooms usually place all the gifted children in the same classroom, a homogeneous grouping. In a best-case scenario, the children are all in the same grade level, but gifted numbers do not always allow this to occur. When there is a limited number of gifted children, a self-contained gifted classroom may be restructured into a multi-age classroom or may include high-achieving students who have not been gifted qualified.
The Pros of Self-Contained Gifted Classrooms
- Self-contained gifted classrooms provide all-day instruction that is more beneficial for gifted children, because it addresses the need for different instruction in all areas of their development and all areas of academics.
- The majority of regular education teachers have had little or no training in how gifted children learn, yet they typically have gifted students in their classes. Self-contained gifted classrooms address the special, unique academic, social and developmental concerns of gifted children.
- Studies have shown that gifted kids need less practice to learn concepts, often only one to three repetitions. When students are placed in self-contained classes, more learning is accomplished.
- Gifted students often report that they are far less frustrated and bored when placed in self-contained gifted classrooms.
- Gifted students often have special emotional needs that are not met or supported in a regular classroom. In a self-contained gifted classroom, there is more support and a greater understanding of these unique needs.
- Gifted students often thrive when surrounded by peers who challenge them to be all they can be.
- Gifted students often feel isolated when placed in a regular classroom. Their abilities tend to separate them from the mainstream. Self-contained gifted classrooms help students make friends, become more social, and become accepted by their peers.
Links to Gifted and Talented Child Resources
- Gifted & Talented Students
The Gifted and Talented students are the least understood students in the public school system. After attending a conference for teachers who teach this special population, I realized that there are many misrepresentations of what defines a
- Links to Gifted and Talented Child Resources
This is a comprehensive list of resources for gifted and talented children and their parents. Please feel free to add more in the comments and I'll incorporate them into the list. Associations National...
- Identification of Gifted Students
This site shows you how to identify gifted and talented students without using gifted identification checklists. It details why gifted checklists don’t work and why gifted education is so important.
The Cons of Self-Contained Gifted Programs
- It can be difficult to find enough gifted students to fill a class, so classes are often compromised by making them multi-age or watered down by high-achieving students that have not qualified for gifted services.
- Self-contained classes are often smaller than other classes, resulting in resentment from other teachers.
- Self-contained classes are often viewed as elitist.
- Students may qualify for gifted instruction in only one or more areas, but they receive all-day instruction in a self-contained program. This misplacement often results in additional challenges.
- Teaching a self-contained gifted classroom can be very challenging.
- Many people claim that children within a self-contained gifted classroom lack socialization with other students who are not gifted.
The Needs of Gifted and Talented Students
Conclusion: Self-Contained Gifted Classrooms
Without a doubt, gifted instruction is maximized when students are homogeneously grouped within a self-contained gifted program. Few students qualify for gifted in all areas, and students may receive gifted instruction in areas in which they have not qualified as gifted. However, self-contained gifted classrooms allow teachers to maximize both the intensity of instruction and the duration of gifted instruction. There is a tendency to teach to the norm in any class. In a self-contained gifted classroom, the norm is in fact gifted. This isn’t the case with cluster grouping. With pull-out programs, teachers simply do not have the time to teach in depth, so instruction is often highly limited to isolated subjects. Consequently, self-contained gifted classes provide the ideal format for gifted instruction.