Attitudes of day school principals and teachers toward gifted education
Isaacs, Melvin A.
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This study investigated the reported attitudes toward educating the academically gifted among principals and teachers of both the General Studies and Judaic Studies departments employed in Board of Jewish Education-affiliated day schools in the Greater New York area. A modified version of the Wiener Attitude Scale was adapted in order to reflect the conditions of learning in the participating Jewish day schools. The questionnaire was completed by 357 teachers and 39 principals randomly selected from three lists that classified the schools by the variable "Type." This represented 39.8% of the population surveyed.;Six research questions were analyzed. The data comprised two major subscales: (a) attitudes and implications of gifted programming, and (b) attitudes toward formatting structures of gifted programming.;Analysis of the data suggested that attitudes of teachers and principals were generally positive toward gifted education. When analyzed by the variable "Department" it was found that teachers who taught in the General Studies department and in both departments had a more favorable attitude toward gifted education than Judaic Studies staff. Results for the variable "Type of School" indicated that teachers of co-ed schools had more favorable attitudes than those who taught in all-boy and/or all-girl schools. Significant differences in attitudes were found between teachers who had educational background in gifted education and those who did not. Results also suggested that teacher attitudes were influenced by an existing gifted program within the school but this did not seem to affect the attitudes of principals. Principals reported preferences toward serving gifted students within the framework of the regular classroom. They further reported that specialized training in teaching the gifted was not necessary. Both teachers and principals with ten or more years of experience reported a more positive attitude toward organizing gifted students into instructional units.;In addition, findings indicated that there were differences of opinion among principals and teachers in the three types of schools surveyed and in each of the departments as to the definition of giftedness, the existence of specific programming for the gifted, and perception of administrative support services.