Tuesday, January 23, 2007

North Carolina trains more gifted teachers

Teacher training is a thorny subject. On one hand, I believe that the current system of licensing teachers is horribly inefficient. Many prospective teachers major in education, rather than in the subjects they will teach, and too many districts have elaborate licensure systems in place that discourage mid-career professionals from considering teaching.

That said, studies have found that gifted education teachers who've done a significant amount of coursework in that area have better outcomes than those who haven't. So it makes sense that if a district is going to go to the trouble of creating a gifted program, it should make sure that the program's teachers know how to reach these special learners.

Yet few universities offer such courses to teachers. Fortunately, two universities in North Carolina have recently started programs specifically to train gifted education teachers (in ways that work around these established teachers' schedules). I am traveling in California on book tour for Grindhopping right now, so I don't have my HTML cheat sheet, but you can read about a program at Duke by following this link:


And you can read about a program in High Point, NC by following this link:


The Duke program in particular is exciting because it's run by the Talent Identification Program (TIP) that so many gifted kids have participated in. Every summer, TIP brings 1000 gifted middle schoolers to campus to take advanced coursework. Now Durham Public Schools teachers will be able to observe and work with the teachers of these courses. Students at programs like TIP often talk about how the three week summer camps enable them to endure the whole school year. Now, hopefully, some Durham students will benefit from that energy all year round.

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