Strategies for success: meeting the needs of children who are both culturally diverse and academically talented
The purpose of this research investigation was to investigate the characteristics allowing children who are both culturally diverse and academically talented to be successful in a program designed for gifted children. In addition, teacher characteristics and expectations, educational programming for academically advanced children, as well as parental expectations and involvement were also examined and studied.
The primary research question guiding this study was: What are the characteristics that allow children who are both academically talented and culturally diverse to be successful in a program designed for gifted students? Other related questions were: 1] What is the relationship between high parent and teacher expectation and actual student performance? and 2] How are the academic and social successes of children who are both culturally diverse and academically talented affected by the educational programming they receive?
This study employed a qualitative methodology using the self-contained focus group method. The researcher observed PLATO classes and conducted focus group discussions using PLATO students, parents and teachers.
The findings from this study revealed that children who are both academically talented and culturally diverse are able to be successful when: 1] Parents are actively involved in their child's schooling and who encourage high academic and social expectations, 2] Teachers who value parents and are supportive of them, who understand the cultural backgrounds of the students they teach and who also establish high academic and social expectations, and 3] An educational program that provides a challenging and differentiated curriculum making use of multi-grade level grouping, student self-evaluation and serves as a platform for the interaction of students, parents and teachers.