Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Concepts of giftedness: (Re)constructions of academic identities through literacy
by Tilles, Sara Evensen, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2014, 335; 3682411
Abstract (Summary)

Giftedness is typically defined as above-average ability, task commitment, and creativity (Renzulli, 2012). However, this definition is socially constructed and leans on the literacy practices of the dominant culture. Understanding various contributors and barriers to giftedness (Suboknik, Olszewski-Kubilis, & Worrell, 2012) can help identified students interrogate their own assumptions about their positions in the school system as well as those of teachers and peers. Since the gifted support classroom is relatively immune from the curricular pressures of the regular education classroom, it provides an ideal context for students to use various literacy practices to reflect on the complex dynamics of the public school system including the ways in which dominant literacies are valued over others generally and in regards to giftedness identification and services.

This practitioner-research study followed six gifted fifth-grade readers through a four-month long weekly Book Club as they used literacy and dialogue to reflect on, construct, and critically consider their academic identities. An inductive approach was used to generatively code responses and analyze the data. Using literature and informational text, the work supported students in using a critical lens to articulate their academic identities, consciously contemplate the expectations placed upon them in the school setting, and consider the implications of their positioning in that context. They engaged in social practices that aided in and demonstrated comprehension and agency, resulting in their re-conceptualizing the notion of giftedness. In addition, participants viewed giftedness through the perspective of culture, ethnicity, and language. Students' transaction with and dialogue surrounding various text types served as a way to challenge the socially constructed notions of giftedness and the structures that support such definitions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Thomas, Ebony Elizabeth
Commitee: Campano, Gerald, Headman, Robin
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Reading, Writing, Literacy
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 76/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Gifted Education, Pedagogy, Literacy, Reading instruction
Keywords: Dialogue, Identity, Social practices
Publication Number: 3682411
ISBN: 978-1-321-55837-1
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