Culturally Diverse Students Who Are Gifted
Alexinia Y. Baldwin
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
University of Connecticut
Culturally diverse students are receiving much deserved attention by educators of the gifted.
Historically, the field has been unable to answer all concerns about this “minority within the
gifted minority”; however, research and census data indicate that diversity has become a pri-
ority in educational settings. Understanding the meaning of cultural diversity and accepting
new paradigms for developing organizational and instructional strategies are important vari-
ables that lead to success in meeting the needs of this population. Research has shown that
conceptual and attitudinal changes toward the recognition of hidden abilities often over-
looked in culturally diverse groups have enriched successful programs for the gifted. Rec-
ommendations for the involvement of administrators, teachers, parents, and the community
in the planning process for inclusion of culturally diverse students in programs for the gifted
provide a roadmap for this complex process.
Within the last 3 decades, there has been an intense interest in the education of gifted stu-
dents. Appropriate identification strategies, organizational plans for meeting these needs,
and teaching and curriculum strategies have been in the forefront of debates about best
practices. Within this mix of concerns has been the continuing dilemma of applying es-
tablished criteria to those students who are culturally diverse. Throughout this period of
time many (e.g., Baldwin, 1985; Bernal & Reyna, 1975; Frasier, 1989; Richert, 1985)
have kept the concern for the culturally diverse gifted child before the educational deci-
sion-makers. Understanding the significant meaning of cultural diversity and accepting
different paradigms regarding giftedness, appropriate identification, and program provi-
sions for children from these diverse backgrounds have been the source of discontent in
the attempt to provide clues of giftedness that can be found in all ethnic–cultural groups.
Much has been written on this topic and it is not the intent of this article to review
again all of these concerns, but rather to give some practical suggestions for teachers and
administrators who are and will be facing these continuing concerns in the future. It is
important, however, to review some aspects of the past discussions of this domain to pro-
vide meaningful suggestions.
Copyright © 2002, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.