Tales from within: Gifted students’ lived experiences with teaching practices in regular classrooms

Maria P. Gomez-Arizaga*, Marieta Valdivia-Lefort, Hernan Castillo-Hermosilla, Thomas P. Hébert, Maria Leonor Conejeros-Solar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Gifted students in regular classrooms have fewer opportunities to develop activities that are based on their characteristics as learners and address their needs; however, many of them spend most of their school time in these classrooms. The results presented here were part of a 2-year qualitative project that analyzed 12 Chilean gifted students’ lived experiences in regular classrooms by exploring the factors that foster and hinder their learning through the use of photos, focus groups, and interviews. The results showed students’ discontent with the national curriculum and teaching practices related to rigidity, lack of meaning, and unchallenging assessments. Nevertheless, positive experiences were reported related to teaching strategies, especially when they add novelty and move away from traditional approaches. Waiting experiences were common, but were often seen by students as opportunities for creative production. Methods for engaging gifted students in their learning are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137
JournalEducation Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Regarding special education, although several laws have been created to address learning needs and inclusion in Chile, none of these regulations are specifically related to gifted students. To address this scenario, the first university-based program for gifted students was created in 2001 to serve students from public schools. After its creation, several other university-based programs emerged, and some private and small initiatives also appeared [48]. Programs for gifted students are situated in regional universities and are partially funded by the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) [49]. To become a participant, students must be enrolled in grades 5–9 and pass through different stages of identification, starting with a preliminary screening executed by teachers within schools. This process is followed by an identification phase at the centers where the Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices test is administered. Given the students’ socioeconomic background, the 75th percentile is used as a cut-off in the Raven test, as stated by the MINEDUC [49]. Private initiatives use other identification instruments, such as the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC).

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by FONDECYT, grant number 11140480.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors.


  • Classroom teachers
  • Gifted students
  • Lived experiences
  • Qualitative research
  • Regular classroom
  • Teachers of the gifted


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