Watters, J. & Diezmann, C. (2013). Starting small : A staged approach to professional development in gifted education. Australasian Journal of Gifted Education,22(2), 5-17.
One of the potentially far reaching recommendations of the Senate Inquiry of 2001 was to fund professional development for teachers of gifted children under the Australian Government Quality Teacher Program (AGQTP). This funding was made available to all sectors of schooling and led to a number of initiatives to address the shortcomings in gifted education identified in the Senate Report. This paper reports on the initiatives undertaken by one sector over an eightyear period. The initiative began with a commitment from the sector to provide professional development in gifted education and later required that sector to address gifted education in their school renewal planning. A professional development program was planned and implemented in stages drawing on the AGQTP modules. However, teachers were encouraged to pursue an active role in instigating their own professional development priorities and needs. Thus, teachers within an action research framework collaboratively designed, implemented and reflected on projects which progressively expanded over a three year period. Initial projects focussed on their own teaching or context. In the second year of the three-year-cycle, projects expanded to include colleagues. Finally, in the third year, teachers assumed a leadership role in their schools or district and also mentored other teachers beginning the program. The paper presents both qualitative and quantitative data on the experiences of the participating teachers and the long-term impact on the capacity of one sector to provide enhanced opportunities for gifted children.
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