Sunday, December 8, 2013

What is the Impact of Immigration on Gifted Programs?

This video is about a decade old, but the information shared impacts many of y'all's classrooms. Watch this video and then describe how immigration has impacted identification of gifted students and programming for your gifted program. (As of March 30, 2015 -I apologize, this video has been pulled from the Internet. Feel free to skip this blog.)


  1. I am having technical issues while trying to complete this module. I can not view the video, however I believe that our classrooms of today are much more diverse than ever before and we have to constantly adapt the way that we do things in order to accomadate all learners.
    Katrina Kimbrell

  2. Gifted classrooms are much more diverse today than in years past. As our school system is finishing second grade child find, I truly see first hand the impact of Lee vs Macon. Once we finished our referrals, we stared looking closer to the under served populations. Because of this impact we see a much more diverse group of gifted learners in our system.

  3. Elizabeth ElledgeMarch 26, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    I cannot view the video, either.

    I do not know how immigration has specifically impacted my school's gifted program. However, I have a little bit of knowledge about how it has impacted our school. For instance, I know that we have very few ESL speakers at our school (especially underrepresented are those of Hispanic origin), because the standardized tests (ARMT+, DIBELS) and other requirements for entry into our school are not very accommodating to non-native English speakers. However, with students of other ethnic groups whose parents come from a high SES and/or education level, our school is highly represented. For example, this year I have students with parents from Kenya and from Russia. Other students I have had have been (or had parents from) England, Ethiopia, China, and Indian, to name a few. Most of these students are professors' children. I believe that the parents' education and economic level correlates strongly with the children being identified for gifted.

  4. No video here either.

    I do realize that immigration has impacted the way students are identified for gifted services. First of all, there are quite a number of ways to assess achievement and talents besides standardized tests which do tend to be bias toward the English speaking population. Our district uses the COGaT and NNAT2 to assess students by means of their abilities to see patterns and analogies in numbers and words. In addition, the TABS that teachers use in the referral process are indicative of behaviors and traits of students rather than their abilities in speaking or writing English. In addition, portfolios of students creative works which may relate to the particular child's background, is an allowable aspect of gifted identification. Also of note is that all the forms, procedures, and assessments are available in Spanish so that parents and ELL students may read and understand the information.

    I do know that these processes do work. I have ELL students in my classes as well as an Kenyan boy who is going through the referral process presently.

  5. I agree with Elizabeth in that the parents' education and financial status greatly impacts the success immigrant children have in our schools today (unfortunately). Elizabeth described immigrant students who have successful and well-educated parents; however, this year, I have a student from Kenya who is an English Language Learner and has been in the US for a year now. While she works very hard, the language barriers have a big influence on her academic success as well as her friendships and relationships with peers. Her parents are also not involved in any activities at the school and I have little communication with them because of their cultural/ language differences.

    For my school in particular, while we have some immigrant children from well educated backgrounds, I don't feel like we do the best job at helping hispanic immigrant children integrate fully into our school, and identify their strengths separately from their lingustic needs. Consequently, I think they are probably grossly under identified in our gifted program.

    I was really intrigued watching the video in this module on the schools in Australia and was fascinated by the high levels of ESL instruction that are provided for students. They seem to have a very clearly designed system to help students transition. While we have an ESL program and teacher at our school, I don't feel like it is as effective as a program like the one described. Perhaps more fully developed programs like this one would help more of our immigrant students make an easier transition, and we could better identify their strengths and needs for gifted services.

  6. Immigration in my opinion has added steps to the identification process that are sometimes overlooked such as acculturation and home and school dynamics. The Hispanic population is large in my area. The home dynamics of a Hispanic child are definitely different than that of other students. These students' beliefs and behaviors are often different. I have noticed a better respect for authority, others, and parents from this group of students, because these students usually display a greater amount of respect for certain situations their behavior in the classroom may hide the gifted characteristics that are looked for in the identification process. The socioeconomic status of these students also prohibits them many times from having experiences that nurture their giftedness.

  7. As a result of immigration, we have seen an increase in the ethnically, racially, and linguistically different in our schools. However, our gifted classrooms do not reflect this change; instead the culturally different are underrepresented. As a result of this underrepresentation, these groups have been targeted by federal and state policies (U.S. Department of Education, 1993, p.26). One reason cited for this underrepresentation is the absence of adequate assessments procedures (Frasier, Garcia, & Passow, 1995). These tests can be biased. Also teachers tend to have unfair and negative attitudes towards these students because they do not understand their culture. Understanding the characteristics of these students’ backgrounds is crucial in the identification process. If we are truly going to increase this population in our gifted classrooms, we must carefully look at the checklist for identification. We need to look at a broader definition of giftedness. Just because a student can’t speak English does not mean they are not gifted. Many students’ gifts are overlooked. We need to focus on their strengths while providing assistance for their weaknesses. Once students are identified we need to make adjustments in our programming to accommodate their specific needs.
    An interesting fact that I would like to share with the class is that during Child Find this year we found two Asian, thirty-six African American, and ZERO Caucasian students. Our system tries very hard to look at various indicators for giftedness to help with the underrepresentation of certain populations.
    i was not able to view the video.
    Demisha Stough

  8. Although not in a classroom, I feel immigration has impacted gifted students and programming in both positive and negative ways. I feel that immigration has affected gifted education in the following positive ways: it has increased a teacher’s cultural awareness resulting in greater cultural sensitivity. It has caused teachers to see education through a broader lens, creating a potentially greater opportunity for in-depth, critical analysis of what it means to be a citizen of the world as well as a world changer. I think immigration has made teachers more aware of the cultural biases that exist and exclude special populations from gifted programming, resulting in the creation of evaluation methods that speak to a wider array of abilities with a greater sensitivity to potential biases. I think immigration has allowed teachers to see the rich cultures of the world that have been woven into the fabric of the United States of America and allowed gifted teachers to experience a far richer teaching as well as learning experience for both themselves and their students.

    The negative impact of immigration can be seen, in my opinion, as very slight – the workload on the teacher to accommodate, for all the positives listed above, is definitely increased. However, this workload increase comes with a learning curve; the ways in which teachers adapt their classrooms, instruction, and evaluation methods for children of immigrants is necessary and forward thinking as teachers strive to successfully meet the needs of gifted and talented students both of this country and of this world.

  9. Immigration brings much more diversity to our classrooms. As our textbook points out, all cultures do not have the same conception of giftedness. For example, the Navajo value spirituality and relating to the common people which contrasts to the Western world's individualism and strive toward "imminance" (if you can't already tell I don't agree with). This has led to our expansion of the definition of giftedness to include areas other than only intellectual and to explore giftedness in terms of nature vs. nurture. Bringing more cultures into the classroom also affects the way we identify our gifted students and its implications are apparent in the wider use of matrices in the identification process.

  10. Rachel LaMonte
    While I wasn’t able to watch the video, I do believe that immigration has definitely affected my former school system. While I agree with Nellie that there are a few negative drawbacks, overall the impact has been positive. The drawbacks are mainly due to the lack of acceptance of the cultural differences that students from other countries or of different religions or even sub cultures in the US bring to our classrooms. Teacher who are not truly culturally responsive cause the negativity by basically shutting down the differences and not acknowledging their importance. Thus, the child affected would most likely feel not only difference from his/her classmate but also less than them as well.
    The positive effects of immigrations can be vast if allowed by and accepted by the schools and the teachers. When two young Indian girls moved into my former school, they came dressed in traditional clothing. They are at first a bit shy, but they were lucky to have two culturally responsive teachers who acknowledged them with such acceptance that within weeks, their shyness had virtually disappeared. Not only that, but the teachers requested that they teach their classmates about some of their beliefs. By honoring their differences and allowing them to incorporate them into the curriculum and into the classroom – the teachers showed that they were open to culturally, linguistically diverse students.
    This is simply one example of how we as culturally responsive teachers can model and demonstrate the acceptance of others and hopefully open the eyes of their students to the many cultures in a positive manner.

  11. Immigration impacts gifted programs tremendously. Immigration brings so much diversity to gifted programs that educators have to be aware of and responsive to. Diverse learning styles, values, and concepts of giftedness are brought into the classroom because of immigration. Because of this, teachers have to be trained to recognize talent in students with diverse backgrounds, and not overlook them when discovering students in need of gifted services. Teachers also have to use differentiated instruction in order to accommodate the diverse learning styles of immigrant students. I am in a school system that has a large number of hispanic students, so I began working on my Spanish skills. I am now able to converse in Spanish with the students, and it has helped me so much in getting to know their values, interests, cultures, and learning styles.