The myth that “all teachers are teachers of the gifted” has been perpetuated to raise awareness and increase engagement with the specialised knowledge and skills teachers need to work with gifted learners successfully. And, over time, it could be argued that by perpetuating the myth that every teacher is a teacher of the gifted, we have created a lack of awareness of the need for specialised knowledge and skills and, thus, decreased the demand for advanced study and specialisation in gifted education in New Zealand.
Gifted education is a specialist field of study.
What I have seen in the last decade, and blogged about earlier this year, is a decline in the number of specialist courses in gifted education at postgraduate level, a deterioration of content on gifted in pre-service teacher education programmes, and a decrease in enrolments in the specialist university programmes that do exist. Alongside this decline in formal teacher education programmes, I note a decrease in Ministry of Education funded, specialised professional learning and development. There has also been no targeted funding for research on gifted education practices which creates a thinning evidence basis upon which to develop specialist knowledge relevant for New Zealand.
As this year’s position statement on specialist teachers of the gifted states,