A Survey of Iranian Middle School Teachers’ Desire for Staff Development with a Focus on Competencies to Teach Gifted Students
The purpose of the current study was two-fold. First, to determine the level of teachers’ desire for professional development in competencies needed to teach gifted learners, and second, to identify differences in the level of teachers’ desirability as it is related to a number of independent measures (gender, primary teaching assignment, years of teaching, and in-service training hours in gifted education).
The population studied in this study included all middle school teachers of gifted schools in Isfahan, Iran. Of the 200 teachers in this population, 105 returned a completed survey. Participants were asked to rate their level of desire for professional development in 28 competencies identified as necessary by the University of Virginia to teach gifted learners.
After the pilot study, data were analyzed by SPSS. Cronbach's alpha coefficient for this scale was set to be .96. For data analysis, descriptive statistics and one sample t-test and one-way ANOVA were used. Results indicated that teachers have significantly high desirability for professional development in competencies that is related to knowing cognitive and social/emotional needs of gifted learners and adapting their teaching to foster creativity or critical thinking. Competencies related to foundations in gifted education such as the significance of historical events to the field or the contributions of key leaders whose work has direct bearing on the field were perceived by teachers to be the least desirable.
No significant differences were found in teacher’s desire for professional development related to, primary teaching assignment, years of full time teaching experience, and hours accrued through in-service training in gifted education.
Significant differences were found in five of the 28 competencies among teachers who differed in their gender. The results suggest that variability in participants’ desire for professional development does exist. However, on the whole, differences in desirability were not related to differences in the independent measures.
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