Instructional Management / Individualization
Developing An Educational Plan/Curriculum|
by Karen Rogers, Ph.D.
Re-Forming Gifted Education
It is important to distinguish between the terms curriculum and instruction. Curriculum, in general, is the content that a teacher or school plans to teach. Depending on how broadly or narrowly the term is defined, content is generally the “what” children will be expected to learn. The “what” could be facts and terms, concepts, principles, rules, generalizations, or even standards or outcomes that need to be mastered for state- and national-level competency tests or exams.
A well thought out curriculum will often have a “scope and sequence” so that teachers know specifically what to teach at each grade level and to what depth or degree they are to teach it. Many experts in the field of gifted education have argued that the general school curriculum does not contain enough breadth or depth of content for bright, eager learners who crave knowledge. As a result, many professionals in gifted education have attempted to develop examples of extensive and broad-based “gifted” curricula.
If curriculum is “what” is being taught, the term instruction refers to how the curriculum will be taught. Components of instruction include: (1) management, (2) delivery, and (3) process modifications.
Managing the Curriculum
The first component of instruction is management, which refers to how children will be grouped (or not grouped) to receive their curriculum. One form of management is called individualization, which is further broken down into two separate techniques. Individualization could be either: (1) making individual decisions for a single child in how he will either proceed with or bypass the general school curriculum, or (2) allowing a group or class of students to move at their own pace through the general school curriculum. The following table lists some of the strategies or techniques that would be examples of individualization.
|Types of Instructional Management Services for High Potential Children|
Grouping by Ability or Achievement
Credit for Prior Learning
Full-Time Ability Grouping (Tracking)
Individual Educational (or Learning) Plan
Regrouping by Achievement for Subject Instruction
Early Entrance to School
Single Subject Acceleration
One-on-One Mentoring or Tutoring
Partial Day (or Send-Out) Grouping
Non-Graded/Continuous Progress Classes
Cooperative Grouping with Like-Ability Learners
Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate
Early Admission to College
Credit by Examination
How is Instruction Delivered?
Instructional delivery the second component of curriculum refers to the various strategies and techniques a teacher may use to bring the curriculum to the student.
Renzulli (1975) identified nine instructional delivery modes. These methods are listed below.
Discussion small group or whole class sharing ideas about some idea or concept all have learned in common.
Drill and recitation teacher asking specific questions from materials students were responsible for learning.
Projects small groups of students working together on a product that reflects their shared learning.
Independent study students selecting a topic of interest and working on it individually.
Lecture teacher orally sharing the knowledge and skills the students are to learn.
Peer tutoring students who have already mastered the curriculum working one-on-one with students who still need to master it.
Programmed instruction students working at their own pace through a set of materials that teach the knowledge and skills needed.
Simulations students developing a scenario and then practicing role-playing to learn knowledge and skills.
Educational games competitive quizzes or contests testing whether the students have mastered the required knowledge and skills.
Modifying the Curriculum
Now that instructional delivery has been described, it is time to go back and look at curriculum to see how it, too, can be modified using additional methods and techniques. June Maker 1983) identifies three components of curriculum the content, the processes used to learn, and the products or outcomes.
The processes, which are the methods that teachers can use for instruction of gifted students, are described in the nine instructional delivery methods described above.
The content taught in a curriculum may be composed of the facts and terms of a specific subject or can be the big ideas, concepts, rules, principles, generalizations, or theories of a subject area. Content can also be outcomes or standards for a subject are mandated by a local school board, a state department of education, or a national organization or educational agency.
The product component of a curriculum is the actual criterion used to indicate that students have learned the knowledge (content) and skills (process) of the curriculum. In addition to a test or paper, some examples of possible products could include a poem, chart, video, skit, debate, or diorama. The criterion performance or achievement might be designed by a teacher or by the school.
Looking at these three curriculum components (content, process, product) and modifying them appropriately to match your child's needs are the next steps in changing a gifted child's curriculum.
|Content Modifications for Gifted Children|
Going beyond surface information; symbolism, underlying meaning of content
Providing more difficult and intricately detailed content
Connecting content and ideas across disciplines
Changing the sequence for how content is taught
Study of People
Relating content to the people in the field, famous people, human situations and problems
Method of Inquiry
Relating content to how things work, methods that are used in field
|Product Modifications for Gifted Children|
Real World Problems or Situations
Providing learners with a problem or situation to solve or work on that is relevant to their own lives
Providing children with experts in a field the child is studying to evaluate child's work; presenting work to a live audience.
Encouraging nontraditional products and performance that require transforming what has been learned into some visual, dramatic, or other useful form