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The relationship between teachers’ understanding of giftedness and their classroom practices in a selected school in Kazakhstan.


Academic year: 2023

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The purpose of this study is to investigate teachers' understanding of giftedness and teaching gifted students and the nature of the pedagogical practices teachers employ in their classrooms at a selected school in Kazakhstan. The study concludes that the teachers were only marginally able to tailor their pedagogy to the needs of the gifted students. The literature on the subject of teaching gifted students (VanTassel-Baska & Stambaugh, 2010; Tomlinson, Brighton, Hertberg, Callahan, 2003; Starko & Schack, 1989; Laine & Tirri, 2015) goes hand in hand with the large topic of differentiated education for the gifted population and also explores the characteristics of effective teachers of gifted students (Hansen & Feldhusen, 1994; Chan, 2001; Mills, 2003).

Otherwise, it is unlikely that teachers will be aware of the characteristics of gifted students and how to effectively teach them. It is not surprising that the role of teachers is in the spotlight when teaching gifted students is discussed (Dixon, Yssel, McConnell & Hardin, 2014). Rather, it is expertise in the specific subject and passion for the subject that can shape a successful teacher of gifted students (Hansen, 1994; Mills, 2003).

It is also worth noting that teachers' views of gifted students may change depending on grade level. Bringing gifted students together is essential to fostering and enriching the classroom. Teachers of gifted students are encouraged to plan activities that match the abilities and interests of gifted students.

However, there are teachers who proved to be quite successful in teaching the gifted students.


These characteristics were both negative and positive, but the overall trend in the teachers' responses was that teachers were very aware of the fact that gifted students have very diverse characteristics - some of them are talkative, while some are reserved. As can be seen, teachers were very aware of the fact that gifted students do not only possess positive characteristics. Most of the teachers talked about the freedom of students to sit with whoever they want during classes and over.

One of the teachers said that the lowest mark she has given students is 4 on a 5-point scale, where 5 is the highest mark. According to what teachers have revealed about some of the most successful activities in the classroom, great emphasis is placed on "Home Reading Project" among other activities mentioned. During my observation of the lesson, this teacher explained that this time home reading was organized in the form of individual presentations.

One of the teachers said that she assigned projects such as conducting surveys and presenting statistics. Overall, almost all the codes from the mentioned observation scales were present in the teachers' lessons. Representatives of the school's management revealed that as one of the strongest schools in the field of hard sciences, they adhere to a long-standing tradition of education.

When asked how she deals with students who are bored or finish assignments early, she replied that she gives them the responsibility of the class teacher. Returning to the lesson observations, as I have shown in the table above, there was no apparent difference in student readiness/level in any of the observed lessons. Among other problems, the vice-principal said that teachers burn out very quickly due to constant changes in the evaluation and documentation system.

One of the teachers said that she had never thought about the psychological aspect of teaching gifted students – are they too sensitive, maybe. In my question about what challenges teachers face in teaching, most of the participating teachers said that they did not have any major challenges like school. In fact, during my observations, I felt that most teachers were successful in building good relationships with students and it was clear that the classroom climate was not threatening.

Table 1: Classroom Practices used during the lesson observations
Table 1: Classroom Practices used during the lesson observations


This view is present in the book by Davis et al. (2014), where gifted students are claimed to be more sensitive to issues of fairness. If teachers believe that every child is gifted in some way, they concede that everyone in the classroom should receive the same level of instruction (Brighton, 2003). This study found that teachers' beliefs about equality conflicted with their awareness of student diversity in the classroom, and therefore most of them did not tailor their teaching to the needs of individual students (Brighton, 2003).

In the previous section, teachers' understanding of giftedness and their attitudes towards gifted students were specifically outlined and analyzed in relation to their classroom practices. A recurring theme in participants' teaching philosophies was that they place great value on creating a welcoming classroom environment. In terms of flexibility, most teachers reported not having strict classroom seating and grouping policies.

However, appropriate grouping in the classroom is believed to be a fundamental part of differentiation (Davis et al., 2014; VanTassel-Baska and Staumbaugh, 2005). Another recurring theme in the teachers' philosophies was that effort was very important to them during grading. Research has shown that many gifted students are indeed bored in the classroom (Gallagher, 1997; Diaz, 1998), but the strategies to overcome such learning barriers are not related to the idea that.

It was essential to see how the teacher's beliefs and teaching philosophies were reflected in the teachers' actual practices. To organize the collected data and compile Table 2 in the findings chapter, we used the classroom practice record (Westberg et al., 1993). This study found that 84% of the activities in which gifted students were involved did not show differentiation, meaning that their individual abilities and needs were largely not being met in mainstream classrooms.

One such type of coping strategy was mentioned in the review of differentiation instruction by Tomlinson et al. This practice was also mentioned in the literature and is considered to be a weak form of meeting the needs of gifted students (Tomlinson, 1994). However, the fact that teachers do not use any kind of differentiation strategies in the classroom really puts many students' learning abilities at risk of not being realized.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In general, teachers' attitudes towards gifted students were neither too positive nor too negative, although some teachers associate giftedness with morally correct behaviour. This finding leads to the conclusion that the teachers' understanding of giftedness is developing, because some of the participating teachers admit they lack knowledge about gifted students' characteristics and needs. They are open to revising their perspectives as they gain more experience and knowledge about gifted students.

However, there was no emphasis or any clear policy regarding differentiation as a powerful tool to serve gifted students in school. For teachers of gifted students: seek new knowledge and effective practices for teaching gifted students;. A comparative study of a gifted school and a mainstream school with a larger sample could be conducted to better understand teachers' beliefs and classroom practices with gifted students in Kazakhstan.

OECD (2014), Reviews of National Policies for Education: Secondary Education in Kazakhstan, OECD Publishing. 1992) Challenging gifted students in the mainstream classroom. Reis, S.M., McCoach, B. (2000) The Underachievement of Gifted Students: What Do We Know and Where Do We Go? Gifted students in their classrooms.

I am very keen to do my study at your school because it is a specialized school for gifted students and therefore fits well with the focus of my study. Members of the SMT will be interviewed to explore their views on gifted students, as well as to examine the school's policies on teaching gifted students and teacher professional development. As part of my Master's program, I am conducting a study on teachers' understanding of instructional provisions for gifted students and their classroom practices in a selected school for gifted students in.

What classroom practices do English language teachers use with gifted students in their classrooms. What challenges do these teachers face in teaching gifted students and how do they deal with these challenges. The study also aims to make a significant contribution to the literature on teaching gifted students in Central Asian countries, especially in

How do you think teachers could be supported in teaching the gifted students by the school and by the government. What would be some suggestions for policies regarding the specialized schools for gifted students in Kazakhstan?.


Table 1: Classroom Practices used during the lesson observations

Ақпарат көздері


The main research question that guides this study is: “What is the role of school psychologists in the career guidance of high school students in the context of gifted schools in