Can The Regular Inclusive Classroom?

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“Many students who are gifted require differentiated programming and supports to meet their exceptional learning needs” (Alberta Education, p.172). Can the regular inclusive classroom, a heterogeneous program, be enough of a challenge to stimulate the thinking to reach the gifted learner? Or, is a homogenous classroom, comprised of only gifted individuals, be the best academic solution for these exceptional students?

As of June 2014, in the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, there were only 40 exceptional students identified as gifted (CDSBEO, p.6), which is only 2% of students of all exceptional learners. With a limited portion of the exceptional students being gifted, educators may find it difficult to provide a balanced
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“The homogeneous grouping is typically one that is usually consistent with the idea of accelerated learning” (Department of Psychology, p.3). In this setting, you may find that the expected curriculum content is achieved quite quickly, it may even mean skipping grades (Department of Psychology, p.3). The heterogeneous grouping would refer to students who have the gifted identification, and those who do not. In these classrooms, teachers can use forms of differentiated instruction, flexible groupings or problem-based learning which would challenge and promote critical thinking skills in all the learners in the classroom. There are advantages and disadvantages to both settings.

Although many advocates of gifted education are hesitant with the push for full inclusion, this is likely a common practice in many smaller boards across the province. In a heterogeneous program, gifted students would have social benefits, engaging learning opportunities and exposure to diverse classroom settings.

Jacques St-Arnauld, an elementary teacher teaches in an inclusive school, where he feels that their, “inclusive approach may have some social advantages. I’ve never seen the gifted [students] be ostracized by other [students] in the school – they’re treated the same as everyone else.” (Educational Leadership). In our board, there is a gifted program which can be provided by resource teachers at schools, but the youngest
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