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Teachers’ perspectives of giftedness among students who are deaf or hard of hearing Bibby, Mary Ann W. 1993

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TEACHERS' PERSPECTIVES OF GIFTEDNESS AMONG STUDENTS WHO ARE DEAF OR HARD OF HEARING by MARY ANN WARWICK BIBBY B.A., Mount Allison University, 1967 M.E.D., Smith College, 1970 A THESIS SUBMII1ED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUA'T'E STUDIES (Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1993 © Mary Ann Warwick Bibby, 1993  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  (Signature)  Department of  „,! Zez -e _et/ eo-/z421  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date ^',Oste-r-r2-&-k, <-27  DE-6 (2/88)  )  /99-S  a-itd ./kzeeed,(‘-e  Abstract This qualitative, exploratory study describes and interprets the perspectives of giftedness of twelve teachers who work with Deaf and hard of hearing students in a variety of educational settings across Canada. Using in-depth interviews, the resulting twenty-five hours of audio tapes were transcribed and analyzed line by line using procedures suggested by Giorgi and Marton. The supporting literature came from four major areas: (a) the construct of giftedness; (b) giftedness among the disabled population; (c) giftedness among the Deaf and hard of hearing population; and (d) theory related to teachers' knowledge and perspectives. Analysis of the data resulted in presentation of the findings from two perspectives: teachers' understandings of the meanings of giftedness and the process through which these teachers appeared to have gained their knowledge. Teachers' practical knowledge was portrayed in detailed stories of forty-three hard of hearing or Deaf students whom they believed to be gifted and in the way they described the students' achieving, learning and behaving in classroom interactions. The teachers' conceptually oriented knowledge was described as they reflected upon the meanings they associated with giftedness. The teachers' knowledge of giftedness was compared to that found in the gifted literature at both the practical and theoretical levels. Through interpretations derived from daily interactions with students and drawing on knowledge gained from personal experience, these teachers constructed perspectives of giftedness. The process that emerged illustrated the teachers' use of comparison groups as ways of gaining insight about the students and teachers' ideas about the use of labeling. The teachers' perspectives suggest that Deaf and hard of hearing students are gifted in ways similar but not identical to hearing students. The abilities of these students appear to be different from others in the "handicapped-gifted" literature and their needs are unique. The teachers' more conceptually oriented ideas also appeared to be similar but not identical to theoretical definitions of giftedness.  ii  The findings support collaboration between teachers and researchers to explore ways in which teachers come to recognize and understand gifted students. Future research must also explore the special educational needs of students who are dealing with the effects of having a hearing loss and being gifted.  iii  Table of Contents Abstract ^ ii Table of Contents ^ iv List of Tables ^ ix List of Figures ^ x Acknowledgements ^ xi Dedication ^ xii Chapter 1 ^ 1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY AND PROBLEM STATEMENT ^ 1 General Background to Giftedness and Disability ^ 1 Teachers' abilities in recognizing giftedness ^2 Obstacles to identification and programming. ^4 Ambiguities associated with the term gifted ^ 7 Statement of the Problem ^ 8 The purpose of the study. ^ 10 The specific research questions ^ 11 Significance of the Study ^ 11 Considerations for the Reading of this Study^ 12 Organization of the Study ^ 13 Chapter 2 ^ 16 LITERATURE REVIEW^ 16 Background Issues in Deafness ^ 16 Definition of terms. ^ 17 Types, causes and onset of hearing loss ^ 18 Different modes of communication^ 19 Service delivery models ^ 21 Deafness and cognitive functioning ^ 23 Framing the Research Question ^ 27 The Giftedness Construct ^ 27 The Literature on "Handicapped-Gifted" Students ^ 30 Definition. ^ 31 Incidence. ^ 31 Identification, nomination and referral. ^ 32 The Literature on Hard of Hearing and Deaf Students Who Are Gifted. ^ 33 Identification procedures ^ 34 Description of programs and practices ^ 37 Characteristics. ^ 42 The Importance of Teachers' Knowledge and Perspectives ^45 Summary ^ 53 Chapter 3 ^ 55 FRAMEWORK FOR THE INQUIRY—METHODOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE ^ 55 Methods ^ 60 Background to the study—A personal perspective ^ 60 Participant selection. ^ 64 Data sources—The interview^ 67 Interview length and procedure ^ 69 Treatment of the data ^ 71 Ethics^ 74 Pilot study^ 75 Chapter 4 ^ 77 PERSPECTIVES OF Gll-1EDNESS-EMERGING UNDERSTANDINGS WITHIN A PROCESS ^ 77 iv  Teachers Entering the Classroom and Bringing Perspectives^ 81 Liz's Stories. ^ 82 Liz's background-Liz's students. ^ 83 Cheryl—Just a really, really nice girl^ 83 Robin and Zona—Gifted in Mime ^ 85 Liz's experiences as a teacher^ 86 Liz's experience as a young student in school ^ 87 Liz's learning from her gifted partner^ 88 Liz's philosophy as an educator ^ 91 Liz's understandings of giftedness ^ 93 Discussion. and summary ^ 95 Ted's Stories^ 96 Ted's background-Ted's students. ^ 96 Cody—A mover and an advocate. ^ 97 Charles—Confident and easy going^ 98 Michael—The Artist ^ 98 Janet—The rebellious gifted student ^ 99 Ted's experiences as a teacher^ 100 Ted's personal experiences. ^ 100 Ted's learning from a gifted peer ^ 102 Ted's perspective on teaching^ 103 Ted's understandings of giftedness ^ 105 Discussion and Summary ^ 105 Chapter 5 ^ 108 AN INTRODUCTION TO TEACHERS AND THEIR STUDENTS ^ 108 Introduction to Heather ^ 110 Karen—Having no tolerance for ambiguity ^ 112 Sara—The active inquirer. ^ 112 Jay—The best communicator^ 113 Scott—The one-trial learner^ 114 John—A real bookworm. ^ 115 Jerry—Socially and communicatively competent.^ 115 Penny—Learning like a house on fire ^ 116 Introduction to Elizabeth ^ 116 Craig—The potentially gifted artist. ^ 117 Nora—Dealing with the impact of home situations ^ 118 Introduction to Heidi ^ 119 Rob—Feeling comfortable with himself ^ 120 Brian - The gifted loner ^ 121 Lisa—Gifted in English. ^ 122 Introduction to Naomi ^ 122 Nancy—Gifted despite the odds. ^ 123 Sam—Gifted but compared to whom? ^ 125 Introduction to Tina. ^ 126 Barb—The all round gifted student ^ 126 Mark—The language-blocked gifted student ^ 128 Judy—The well organized gifted student.^ 129 Terry—The adaptable gifted student ^ 130 Introduction to Laura. ^ 130 Kate—Having "the language gene." ^ 131 Darla—Dealing with discrepancies ^ 133 Little Guy—The artist. ^ 136 Introduction to Hilary ^ 136 Tarah—Needing to know and not giving up ^ 138 his—Science is her strength, not language ^ 140 Bennie—Where's his peer group? ^ 142  Sue—Gifted, depending on your perspective. ^ 143 Bruce—A hard worker^ 144 Ned—Gifted and unchallenged^ 144 Introduction to Andrea ^ 144 Alexis—Fantastic at everything ^ 145 Angie—An active leader^ 146 Irene—A leader in the Deaf community. ^ 147 Introduction to Ken and Richard^ 147 Andrew—Gifted and in trouble. ^ 149 Donna—Steaming through...until University. ^ 149 Norm—Tenacious and determined. ^ 151 Lee—Recognizing his role in the Deaf culture ^ 152 Isabelle—Interested in things outside her talent area ^ 152 Joe—Motivation came late.. ^ 153 Summary ^ 153 Chapter 6 ^ 155 TEACHERS' UNDERSTANDINGS OF GIFTEDNESS-PRACTICAL AND CONCEPTUAL ORIENTATIONS ^ 155 Part One-Interpreting the Stories of Students Achieving, Behaving and Learning ^ 156 Theme One-Teachers Watching Students Achieving ^ 158 Displaying exceptional abilities in English language development. ^ 159 Displaying exceptional abilities in American Sign Language ^ 161 Displaying exceptional abilities in speech and speechreading^ 162 Displaying exceptional abilities in communication. ^ 162 Displaying exceptional achievements in school subjects ^ 163 Displaying exceptional abilities in learning languages ^ 164 Displaying a diversity of interests ^ 164 Displaying exceptional abilities in art and mime ^ 165 Displaying exceptional athletics abilities ^ 166 Summary of areas of exceptional achievements displayed by the students^ 166 Theme Two-Teachers Watching Students Behaving ^ 166 Feeling comfortable within oneself^ 167 Being motivated, having tenacity and drive ^ 168 Being organized^ 169 Being a leader and dealing with people. ^ 169 Having a sense of humor^ 170 Being adaptable and flexible, being curious, doing things unusually. ^ 171 Being "impatient with lesser mortals". ^ 171 Summary of descriptions of student behaviors serving as indicators of giftedness^ 172 Theme Three—Teachers Watching Students Learning ^ 172 Being a "one-trial learner". ^ 173 Learning quickly. ^ 173 Concept learning. ^ 174 Learning incidentally ^ 174 Transferring learning ^ 174 Remembering. ^ 175 Other kinds of learning^ 175 Needing to know—Unable to tolerate ambiguity. ^ 175 vi  Summary of descriptions of students' learning serving as indicators of giftedness. ^ 176 Having a Hearing Loss and Being Gifted ^ 176 Smart kids don't have problems^ 177 Impact on language development and communication ^ 179 Being gifted and having a hearing loss-working hard.^ 181 Career expectations. ^ 182 Dealing with discrepancies.. ^ 184 Summary—Part One ^ 185 Part Two—Conceptual/Theoretical Orientations to Giftedness. ^ 187 Teachers' Understandings—The Beginning and the Middle ^ 188 Where does giftedness come from and how does it develop? The nature/nurture dimension. ^ 188 Teachers' Understandings—What does Being Called Gifted Really Mean?^ 191 Giftedness as relative, as lying on a continuum^ 192 Giftedness viewed as potential in relation to achievement and success ^ 193 Giftedness viewed as being good for something.^ 195 Giftedness viewed as a process or a product ^ 195 Giftedness as a school-based concept. ^ 196 The other, unseen and unknown, definition of giftedness. ^ 196 Giftedness viewed as the "small g" and "big G"—A philosophical dimension ^ 199 Theorists Understandings of Giftedness ^ 199 Implicit theoretical approaches. ^ 200 Themes of the implicit-theoretical approach. ^202 Explicit theoretical approaches - cognitive^ 203 Themes of the cognitive theorists approach ^204 Explicit theoretical approaches—developmental^204 Themes of the developmental theorists' approach^ 206 Summary and Integration—Teachers and Theorists ^207 Differences in purpose. ^ 207 Differences in source of information. ^208 Similarities in understandings. ^ 209 Summary ^ 214 Chapter 7 ^ 216 TEACHERS' WAYS OF KNOWING-USING COMPARISON GROUPS ^216 Introduction ^ 216 Teachers' Perspectives in Choosing Comparison Groups ^217 Comparing to the Teacher^ 219 Comparing to Hearing Students ^ 220 Comparing to Hard of Hearing and Deaf Students ^224 For purposes of understanding^ 224 For purposes of labeling^ 226 Discussion ^ 229 Summary ^ 230 Chapter 8 ^ 232 ISSUES IN LABELING—A COMPOSITE AND QUESTIONABLE PICTURE ^ 232 Issues in Labeling^ 235 The label "gifted"—Do teachers use it? ^ 235 The work "gifted" does. ^ 238 The impact of the label on teachers ^ 240 Impact of the use of "gifted" on the students themselves ^245 Impact of the use of "gifted" on parents. ^248 vii  Discussion and Comparison with the Literature ^249 Summary ^ 259 Chapter 9 ^ 261 NEW UNDERSTANDINGS WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING AND RESEARCH ^ 261 Overview ^ 261 Question One—What Constitutes Knowledge of Giftedness Within the Teachers?^ 262 Insights. ^ 263 Issues ^ 264 Teachers' knowing related to the handicapped-gifted literature ^ 266 Question Two—How do Teachers Gain Perspectives of Giftedness? ^269 Insights. ^ 269 Teachers' ways of knowing—The theory practice relationship^ 271 Implications for Educational Practice ^ 273 Implications for Future Research ^ 278 Dealing with the process. ^ 278 Dealing with the students ^278 Dealing with the concept of giftedness ^278 References ^ 280 Appendix A ^ 296 An Interview Guide—Teachers of Gifted Hard of Hearing and Deaf Students ^ 296 Appendix B ^ 298 HyperQual Label Sort for Teachers' Comments on Giftedness ^298 Appendix C ^ 319 Illustrative HyperQual Cards ^ 319 Appendix D ^ 321 Consent Form ^ 321  viii  List of Tables Table 1: Teachers' Backgrounds^ Table 2: Labeling — The Emergence of Themes^  ix  66 234  List of Figures Figure 1: Teachers' Perspectives of Giftedness — New Understandings ^78  x  Acknowledgements A simple acknowledgement can never begin to express the depth of appreciation I feel for the many people in both my personal and professional lives who have supported me during this critical, often exhausting but also exhilarating time of my life. I offer my heartfelt thanks: to my committee members, Drs. Perry Leslie, Ron MacGregor and Marion Porath for their willingness to share their expertise and to offer suggestions which have strengthened this work. Perry's phone calls were a constant source of encouragement; to the teachers in this study who so willingly shared their time, their insights and their wisdom, and to the many teachers and students with whom I have worked over the years and from whom I have learned so much. This work celebrates their understandings and dedication; to my colleagues at U.B.C. and at the U. of A. whose constant encouragement has sustained me and helped me over the hard times and to Drs. Harvey Zingle, Gene Romaniuk and Len Stewin who cheered me on and went out of their way to allow me the time and space that was necessary; to Bryon Clarke, my mentor and friend, from whom I learned so much about teaching, learning and caring; to Stephen and his family who have always inspired me; to Joy, Liz, Marc, Dale and Nana who have seen me through this from the beginning; and to Bob who has always believed in me; to my sisters, Heather and Charlotte, who each in their own way, have shared with me their ways of being in this world and who, through coming to know and understand them over our years together, have enriched my life; to Mom and Dad for their continuing and unconditional love, support and guidance and for providing role models as truly fine, talented, and wise human beings; to my sons Ken and Andrew, I probably owe my sanity. Throughout their teenage years, and my work for this degree, they have not only provided practical help, humour and hugs, but have given my life a balance and have shown me what is truly to be valued. xi  FOR MY PARENTS Mary and Bill Warwick and FOR MY SONS Ken and Andrew Bibby  xii  1 Chapter 1  BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY AND PROBLEM STATEMENT  The purpose of this investigation was to uncover and describe the perspectives of giftedness among teachers who work with students who are Deaf and hard of hearing and to come to some understanding as to how these teachers come to develop their perspectives. Twelve teachers of students with hearing losses coming from different educational settings across Canada participated in face to face interviews. The teachers' stories and the interpretations of their understandings form the basis for this dissertation. General Background to Giftedness and Disability Over the last twenty years, much has been written about the needs and the characteristics of children who are gifted; in addition, there is a vast body of literature that focuses on the special attributes of and educational programming needs for those who have hearing losses. It is only recently, however, that attention has turned to those students who are Deaf and hard of hearing who might also be gifted (Whitmore & Maker, 1985). In the United States, the first national conference on "handicapped" gifted children was held in 1976 and the category "handicapped-gifted" was added to the indices of the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) in 1977 (Whitmore & Maker, 1985). Until that time, and in almost all cases, children had been identified and labeled only by their disability and educational programming for them had tended to focus on remedial strategies geared towards the process of overcoming the disability. Historically, the studies of giftedness and of disability have developed along different lines (Yewchuk & Bibby, 1989c). Some educators of students with hearing loss  have had contact with students who are academically talented, but most remain relatively unfamiliar with issues in the field of giftedness; many other special educators, however,  2 may have had little to do with academically talented children (Whitmore, 1981). In spite of this lack of contact across disciplines, it might be unfair to assume that teachers of hard of hearing and Deaf children are unconcerned with the needs and abilities of these students or that they are unable to recognize them in their classrooms. In fact, the literature on gifted students who also have hearing losses is scant and most of the information regarding this special population of students is subsumed under the heading of "the handicapped gifted". Those students include the mentally retarded, hard of hearing, deaf, speech impaired, visually handicapped, seriously emotionally disturbed, orthopedically or other health-impaired children, or children with specific learning disabilities (U.S.Congress, 1975). This literature, although at times recognizing the very different needs of children with different disabilities, also tends to group students under the "the handicapped-gifted" label. Because of the unique factors associated with the impact of having a hearing loss and without having more information on the population of students who have hearing losses and who are gifted, it is impossible to say that the claims and assumptions made for the handicapped-gifted are necessarily appropriate for gifted students with hearing losses. There appear to be three main issues in the existing literature which raise questions critical to the field of deafness and which support the need for this investigation. One is concerned with teachers' abilities to recognize and identify students with disabilities who might also be gifted. The second discusses specific practices which might hinder the recognition and development of these children. The following section first discusses these two issues and indicates the need to investigate their applicability to teachers who work with students with hearing losses. The third issue is more general and has to do with the ambiguity of the meaning of the term giftedness. Teachers' abilities in recognizing giftedness.  One of the important issues in the handicapped-gifted literature has to do with the ability of teachers to identify gifted students. In 1959, Pegnato and Birch published work  3 which was to have a profound effect on subsequent research regarding giftedness. The purpose of their study was to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of a variety of methods of screening children for giftedness, which included teacher judgment, honor roll listing, creative ability in art and music, student council membership, superiority in mathematics, group intelligence test scores and group achievement test scores. Pegnato and Birch reached two important conclusions. One was that group intelligence tests were the most efficient and effective screening method, but this was not necessarily surprising because as Maltby (1984) notes, "group intelligence tests and the individual intelligence test used as the reference criterion are similar measuring devices " (p.5). They also concluded that teachers do not locate gifted children "effectively or efficiently enough to place much reliance on them for screening." Clark (1992) still quotes the study as "showing the inability of untrained teachers to identify gifted children accurately" (p. 141) and Richert (1991) cites numerous studies that support teachers as unreliable sources of identification data. It is interesting to note, however, that these studies fall between 1959 and 1978. In the last decade, the meanings of giftedness have broadened to include much more than abilities defined by scores on intelligence tests. Teachers who participated in these older studies may have been interpreting giftedness in a manner different to that which the researchers had in mind, as Maltby (1984) suggests for example, by taking into account students' attitude, motivation and achievement within the class. Although Borland (1978) challenged the overgeneralization of Pegnato and Birch (Shore, Cornell, Robinson & Ward, 1991), in the area of the gifted handicapped, work by Eisenberg and Epstein (1981) appeared to provide more support to the assumption that teachers were also unable to identify students who were gifted. They sent forms for nominating potentially gifted and talented students to schools serving over 60,000 handicapped students, but not a single handicapped student was nominated. This somewhat disturbing finding has been used in subsequent literature to provide support for  4 the idea that teachers must be trained to recognize giftedness in the students with whom they work (Minner, Prater, Bloodworth, & Walker, 1987; Yewchuk & Bibby, 1989a; Yewchuk & Lupart, in press). It is important to note, however, that teachers were not asked for their reasons for not nominating students into the gifted programs and alternate explanations might be possible. The teachers may not have been aware of the goals, or of the content of the gifted programs; they may not therefore have been ready to recommend transfer to a program that was relatively unknown to them. It is also possible that the teachers may have believed that the programs these students were receiving were in fact meeting their needs as gifted students. Since most teachers in the gifted programs would have had little experience with students with disabilities, recommending placement without proper preparation might have influenced their decisions. Whatever the reasons, however, the critical issue is that researchers have not usually asked the teachers themselves about the reasons for their decision making. The current literature (Shore, et al 1991), however, is reflecting a more positive recognition that teachers' knowledge is especially useful in other ways: (a) in recognizing underachievers (Borland, 1978); (b) in identifying creativity (Kirschenbaum, 1983; Rimm, 1984); and (c) in recognizing giftedness among students who have hearing losses (Yewchuk & Bibby, 1989b). Not surprisingly, teachers were better able to identify these students when they had an opportunity to get to know their students (Denton & Postlethwaite, 1984) and after specific training (Gear, 1978).  Obstacles to identification and programming. In addition to writing about the issue regarding the importance of teachers in the process of identification, I have also contributed to the literature on the "giftedhandicapped" which makes other claims as to the reasons for the apparent lack of identification and programming. My increasing questioning of some of these claims, became part of the reasons that prompted this investigation.  5 The gifted-handicapped literature (Clark, 1992; Maker, 1977; Whitmore & Maker, 1985; Yewchuk & Bibby, 1989b) often cites obstacles that impede the identification of gifted handicapped individuals. Among these obstacles are the claims that: (a) until recently this population of students who are dually labeled have been virtually ignored in special education; (b) the gifted handicapped are noticed for their disability and not for their giftedness; (c) teachers of disabled students do not have specialized knowledge about giftedness; and (d) traditional teaching strategies virtually ignore the individual's higher cognitive needs. It has also been claimed that teachers of disabled students tend to focus on the students' weaknesses rather than on the students' strengths (Clark, 1992; Maker, 1977). . Moores (1987), one of the outstanding educators of Deaf and hard of hearing people in North America, cites an additional four general reasons for the paucity of programs for academically talented students with hearing losses. First, deafness is itself a lowincidence condition and since in most definitions giftedness is believed to be manifested by 3-5% of the population (Maker, 1977) there would be minimal numbers of hard of hearing or Deaf gifted students in even the largest school district. Gamble (1985) reports an incidence rate for giftedness in this population in the U.S. as 4.2%. Bibby and Yewchuk (1987) report a somewhat higher rate of 6.1%. The second reason for a lack of programs for these students is that even the most able deaf students have relatively low scores on standardized achievement tests and Moores (1987) suggests that because of this teachers are not motivated to establish special programs. Moores (1987) cites the stigma of "elitism" as the third reason. Since the special education emphasis has traditionally been on equality of access and of opportunity, little attention was paid to students with above-average capabilities. When emphasis in regular education shifted to increased academic achievement and the push for excellence began (National Commission of Excellence in Education, 1983), more concern was given to  6 students who were considered to be gifted. For Deaf and hard of hearing students, however, the needs of those who were capable of doing the best were seen to be of lesser importance than the needs of those who were average or below average in ability. The Federal government in the U.S. has been slow to give support to special programs for gifted handicapped students and Moores cites this as the fourth reason for the lack of growth of special programs for gifted students with hearing losses. This exclusion is "reflected in varying degrees in state and local education agencies and in university training programs" (p. 308). There is certainly an apparent lack of special programs for gifted hard of hearing or Deaf students. Gamble (1985) reports that only 15% are being served in the United States. In informal conversations with Canadian educators who work in a variety of different settings, I have not discovered any special programs in existence for these students. Implied in these preceding statements, however, is the assumption that gifted hard of hearing and Deaf students who are not receiving special services are also not in the best educational settings. It follows that their needs are thus probably not being met. This may not be the case. Many of these students may in fact be receiving appropriate services and challenges in at least two ways. The first is that innovative teachers, on an individual basis in all educational settings, may already be using many of the effective teaching-learning strategies which are being supported in the gifted literature: cognitive mediation, peergroup learning and individualized instructional practices (Feuerstein, 1980; Martin, 1989), for example. They may be providing for the needs of gifted Deaf and hard of hearing students on a one-to-one basis in their classrooms. Since these classes traditionally are relatively small, with usually only between 4 and 10 students, individualization of instruction is not only possible but highly probable. Some students may be being challenged in yet another way. With the move toward integration and inclusive education, the school settings themselves may be making  7 unprecedented demands upon gifted students who must keep up with their hearing peers without being able to hear the teachers. Educational options are many and for those who are in regular high school or junior high school settings, academic challenge may exist precisely because of the setting. For those at schools for the Deaf, being educated with their Deaf peers, the challenge may lie in the fact that they are required to keep up with hearing peers on standardized measures such as Provincial examinations. Ambiguities associated with the term gifted.  The preceding background has dealt with issues related to problems which deal with the perceived lack of identification of and programming for gifted students with disabilities in general and with gifted students with hearing losses in particular. Common to the whole area of gifted education is the fact that the giftedness construct itself is fraught with ambiguity and lack of clarity (Hoge, 1989). From a psychologist's perspective, Hoge suggests that definitions differ along various dimensions: the breadth of the construct, the content of the definition, the level of exceptionality, the extent to which it incorporates a static versus dynamic view of the characteristics of giftedness and the precision of the definition (Hoge, 1989). These issues are discussed at length in Chapter 3. In addition to the confusion in definition of terms relating to the idea of giftedness, however, we are also being presented with exciting and important theoretical changes which challenge our previous understandings of the terms and meanings relating to the idea of intelligence. Sternberg's Triarchic Theory, (1984, 1985), the work of Naglieri & Das (1988) and Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983) are among several which are challenging old stereotypes. Theorists admit to ambiguities and changing definitions in the use of the term. What are the teachers' understandings? In spite of ambiguities, are there commonalties of meaning that allow for clear communication? In summary, the existence of gifted disabled individuals is now well documented (Shore et al., 1991) as is the existence of gifted persons with hearing losses (Gamble,  8 1985; Texas School for the Deaf, 1980: Yewchuk & Bibby, 1989a). The existing literature which deals with gifted students and that which deals with gifted-handicapped students, makes strong claims that giftedness must be recognized and that programming must better serve the needs of these groups of students; education must recognize strengths and disabilities (Shore et al., 1991). These statements are positively oriented and few would be able to argue with their validity and their importance to the field of special education. On the other hand, teachers who deal on a one-to-one basis with the specialized needs of very different disabled students, have very often been grouped together in the literature on the "gifted-handicapped." Statements made in the literature may not apply equally to all teachers or to all students within this very diverse group. The literature claims that these students as a group are underserved and it has been strongly suggested that teachers of disabled students may be unaware of giftedness among their students. Even if they recognize these students, it has been suggested that they may not be able to provide appropriate programming. Complicating this situation is the fact that the literature also indicates that the meaning of the label "gifted" is difficult if not impossible to define with any kind of precision. Statement of the Problem  As the theoretical "experts" debate the issues, the real world goes on inside the classrooms. There must be a link made between what the literature implies and what the teachers think about the issue under investigation: giftedness. Teach&s must be asked to share their own perspectives on these issues. Buchanan and Nielsen (1991), in making recommendations for research in gifted education, strongly support the notion of considering multiple perspectives in order to see major patterns in the "fabric of gifted education" (p. 13). They suggest that "in addition to knowing the literature and the published experts, researchers need to be in touch with those on the frontlines, teachers of  9 the gifted" (p. 13), maintaining that these teachers' perspectives, gained through interactions with researchers, will provide important new insights. Smith and Shepherd (1988) suggest that teachers' ideas are best known by inferences from their case knowledge which is tied to specific events and persons within their immediate experience. This knowledge helps the teacher decide what to do in any given circumstance. According to this belief, people know how to do "without being able to state what they know" (Feiman-Nemser & Floden, 1986, p. 506). My study is predicated on the assumption that teachers will make decisions about their students based on past and present experiences with "giftedness," and the resulting internalization of its meaning. As a researcher, I can best discover the meanings teachers hold about giftedness by making inferences from their case knowledge. In informal conversations, teachers of students with hearing losses have no trouble identifying those students they think of as being gifted when they are asked to name students with whom they have worked (Bibby, 1988, Bibby & Yewchuk, 1987). As one teacher said in an interview, "Well, I don't know if she'd be called gifted, but I know she's gifted." This kind of response prompts the following questions: To what extent do the claims that teachers are usually not able to identify gifted students who have a disability, apply to teachers of hard of hearing and Deaf students who are also gifted? What does being gifted mean to these teachers? How do they know that a child is gifted? Are these teachers identifying these children? Are these teachers aware of the needs of these students? What are these teachers' perspectives? One would expect that the teacher's perspective of giftedness would impact in some way on what she or he does in the classroom in interactions with the students. If, for example, teachers view giftedness as a "fixed trait" (Maker, 1986a) then their interventions with these students may be very different from those teachers who see the environment as playing the major role in developing competencies. If teachers see giftedness in terms of a natural ability to  10 achieve, they may not recognize those who would benefit from assistance in developing to their fullest potential. Whatever their belief systems, teachers make decisions about gifted students based on their personal knowledge about the meanings of giftedness. It is critical that the understandings of these teachers be given a voice. The purpose of the study.  The purpose of this investigation was to use semi-structured interviews in order to uncover and describe the perspectives of giftedness, held by teachers who work with hard of hearing and Deaf students and to come to some understanding as to how these teachers come to develop their perspectives. "The central task... becomes to reveal what constitutes reality for the participants in a given situation, to explain how those participants came to view reality in this way"( Barton & Walker, 1978, p. 274 in Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p. 78). The interview, with its interactive directive, can help provide "direct data on the wider spheres of influence" (Denzin, 1978, p. 28) acting on the teachers who are involved on a daily basis with their students. These teachers are at the forefront of the decision-making process in educational settings, yet no one has asked the teachers about their ideas of giftedness, or about their ideas about students who are gifted. This research gives teachers an opportunity to share their own knowledge. As Larsson (1987) suggests, the "use" of such findings can be of two kinds. First, it can be part of a description of an important subculture in our society. The description which arises from the interviews of teachers of hard of hearing and Deaf students will be the first of its kind in the field. Second, Larsson continues... ...we argue that the described variation can be reflected upon by teachers or student teachers. Their thinking can be broadened as a consequence and they can become aware of new conceptions. In some cases this can mean both a new attitude to their professional world and an improvement of their understanding of other perspectives. In some cases this has an impact on teachers' actions of the kind that (can be described) as a reflexive conception of educational change... (p. 37).  11 The specific research questions. Two main research questions guided the interviews and subquestions were generated from the main questions. A. What constitutes knowledge regarding giftedness among teachers of hard of hearing and Deaf students? 1.  What does the concept or term mean to the teachers?  2.  What is involved in the use of the label gifted?  3.  What are the differences in the perspectives that the teachers hold?  4.  What are the shared meanings that teachers hold?  5.^In practical terms, how does teachers' knowledge of their gifted students relate to how they see their students' needs being met? B. What is the process involved in gaining perspectives about giftedness? 1.  What, in the context of the educational system, helps account for teachers' perspectives of giftedness?  2.  What enables teachers to know students as being gifted or not gifted?  3.  What is the role of encounters with gifted Deaf and hard of hearing students in shaping perspectives and making meaning?  4.  What is the role of theoretical knowledge in shaping perspectives and making meaning?  Significance of the Study Given the sparseness of the literature on gifted students who also have hearing losses, this study will first and most importantly serve to provide a descriptive base yielding new information about this population. There have been some programs established for gifted Deaf and hard of hearing students in the United States and there have been a few investigations into how schools should best go about identifying these students by formal means. There is no research, however, which investigates what teachers' ideas are about these students, or what teachers really mean when they talk  12 about gifted students. Whitmore & Maker (1985) have published the one case study that was done with a man who has a profound hearing loss and who is also gifted. The stories that the teachers tell about their students then, will provide new descriptions of gifted hard of hearing and Deaf students, in the context of their educational settings. In hearing the stories of these teachers, about the students they teach, we may begin to reach some important understandings of why the students appear to be gifted and of the factors in each of their individual lives which appear to help or hinder the development of their talents. From the teacher's perspective, there is a need to investigate this phenomenon, because much of the literature on gifted students in the general population indicates that these students have special needs and that they are not being served. If our field is not serving the brightest students adequately, we are not doing our part in meeting the needs of our students and providing them with opportunities to achieve to the very best of their abilities. Teachers' own understandings of giftedness will affect the way they deal with gifted students. It is critical that these understandings be discovered and brought to our awareness so that, in turn, our programming efforts might be more effective. Considerations for the Reading of this Study This investigation uncovered the perspectives of teachers who are working with Deaf and hard of hearing students. These perspectives were collected through the use of interviews which were semi-structured and which were conducted with the belief that each of the teachers had his or her own reality to share. It was expected that these multiple realities on a given topic, that of giftedness, would provide information on the differences that teachers see as they come to understand what giftedness means to them. No attempt was made to "verify" statements made by the teachers about the students. The teachers of course were asked to check through their own transcripts for meaning clarification and to make any changes, but their own perspectives are the core of this study.  13 As a researcher, I am totally responsible for any interpretation that has been made in the context of making sense of all the hundreds of pages of data. It must be remembered that "we are always making inferences on the basis of partial information."(Mishler, 1986, p. 247). The teachers did not tell me all of what they know; they chose to tell me only what seemed to be important to them at the time. The participants in this study came from a broad range of different experiences and as a result, were able to provide differing perspectives. All of the teachers in this study had worked with students they believed to be gifted; teachers who have not worked with gifted students with hearing losses may well have different perspectives. The more we explore differences in people's ideas, the better understanding we might have of how teachers come to make sense of their every day lives as they interact with students. Organization of the Study In Chapter 1, the background to the study in terms of giftedness and disability has been addressed. The problem has been stated, along with the purpose and significance of the study. The questions and sub-questions have been outlined and an overview of the study with considerations for the reader have been presented. Chapter 2 serves two main purposes. The first is to provide the reader with background information and pertinent issues related to the field of deafness. The second purpose is to provide the reader with the background from the literature which provided initial support for the main areas of this investigation. The literature on the giftedness concept outlines the problems associated with the lack of clear definition for the meaning of the term and briefly reviews dimensions of the concept. The literature which deals with handicapped gifted is then reviewed, followed by a review of literature for hard of hearing and Deaf students who are gifted. The chapter concludes with a review of some of the literature that supports research related to teachers' perspectives and knowledge. Chapter 3 outlines the theoretical perspective contained in the methodology. Part one deals with the descriptive and exploratory nature of this study, along with its  14 emphasis on the phenomenographic perspective. The second part goes on to describe in detail the methods and procedures used to carry out the investigation into teachers' perspectives of giftedness. Chapter 4 provides the reader with an overview of this study, in terms of both content and structure for presentation. A diagram illustrates how teachers might come to develop their ideas about giftedness in their students and where new understandings might emerge during that process. The second part of the chapter, introduces and describes the perspectives of two teachers who exemplify the process. Chapter 5 presents an introduction to each of the remaining ten teachers and their students, as told in story form by the teachers themselves. The teachers' descriptions provide the reader with understandings of these students in the context of their home and school lives. The stories are reported using the words of the teachers themselves. Chapter 6 describes and interprets the teachers' understandings of giftedness. The teachers have expressed their understandings in two ways. The thematic analysis described in the first part of this chapter, comes from the stories the teachers told about their students, as they watched them achieving, behaving and learning in their classrooms. These three areas are described in full. This interpretation incorporates references to the existing literature on characteristics of giftedness among the general population. The chapter closes with a section which details how the teachers see these students meeting the challenges of having hearing losses and being gifted. The second part of Chapter 6 describes the teachers' more theoretical orientations to the concept as they reflect upon what giftedness means to them. Literature which describes the viewpoints of 17 different theorists is then described and the chapter concludes with a comparison of the teachers' and the theorists' perspectives. Chapters 7 and 8 are different from the preceding chapters, in that they have more to do with teachers ' ways of knowing about the students in their classrooms. Throughout the interviews teachers appeared to use the act of comparing in order to better understand  15 their students and for purposes of this study, to clarify their meanings of giftedness. This way of becoming informed is described in Chapter 7. In contrast, Chapter 8 deals with the issue of labeling, a practice that is common in special education, but one which does not appear to inform these teachers in any meaningful way. Both of these issues permeated the interviews and provided important findings to this study. Chapter 8 also presents an overview and example of how each individual teacher's ideas about the issue of labeling contributed an additional understanding to the larger picture; each teacher's individual knowledge added something different to the labeling issue as a whole. The teachers' comments throughout this chapter have also been referenced to the original text which can be found in Appendix B. Chapter 9 discusses new understandings which have emerged from the interviews with the teachers and presents implications for educational practice and for research.  16 Chapter 2  LITERATURE REVIEW  The literature in this study has been used selectively in four different ways. First, in Chapter 1, it served to "nest" (Wolcott, 1990) the problem which introduced the research. In Chapter 2 it serves two main purposes. In the first section, the purpose is to provide the reader with background and information related specifically to educational issues related to teachers who serve students with hearing losses and begins by providing definitions of common terms. The impact of hearing loss has many ramifications and these will certainly affect teachers' perspectives of giftedness among this population of students. The second part of Chapter 2, the purpose of the literature is to cover topics which arise directly from the research questions. These topics provide the conceptual framework for the study and have to do with the meaning of the term "gifted" itself and literature related directly to giftedness, disability and hearing impairment. Background for the importance of gaining an understanding of teachers' perspectives is also presented. The literature in these sections reveals the general focus and nature of prior inquiry and indicates discrepancies and gaps in the literature. The literature in subsequent chapters is used in a fourth way; it is examined in light of the findings which emerged from the interview with the participants. Using this literature in consort with the analysis of the data provides clarification and understanding of the phenomenon as it is presented (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Locke et al, 1987; Wolcott, 1990).  Background Issues in Deafness Teachers of Deaf and hard of hearing students face many demanding challenges as they enter this interesting and varied profession and these challenges are the results of at least three major issues: the types, causes and onset of hearing loss, the different modes of communication used by Deaf and hard of hearing people and the service delivery models  17 which are in place in Canada. Prior to 1950 people with hearing losses had also been viewed as intellectually inferior to hearing people and since the handicapped-gifted literature claims that, in some cases, this erroneous assumption still exists, a brief overview of findings related to deafness and cognitive functioning will also be presented. First, however, it is necessary to define some terms as they are used in this study. Definition of terms. Deaf: In this research, the term Deaf has been used to indicate those people who are members of the Deaf community. As such, they are for the most part users of a visual language for communication, that of American Sign Language (ASL). deaf: This term, without the capital D, is used when referring to the degree of hearing loss that a person might have. It is usually used in conjunction with the terms "severely" or "profoundly," in order to signify the degree of loss. A person with a severe loss would have a 70 - 89dB loss; a person with a profound loss would have a loss greater than 90db. Hard of Hearing: The term hard of hearing is used to refer to those people who are primarily dependent upon the use of audition, speech and speechreading for communication. English (or another auditory-verbal language) is usually their primary language as Rodda and Grove (1987) indicate. The importance of the terms hard of hearing and deaf is not just audiological; it reflects the fact that there are two distinctly separate ethnic groups with different conceptions of the world at large (Spradley & Spradley, 1978). Hearing people may have difficulty recognizing this fact, but hearing impaired people do not. They clearly know if they are deaf, hard of hearing, hearing or in a state of anomie (belonging to none of these groups and existing in a kind of "nether world"). (p. 42) Hearing Impaired: When this term is used it refers in a global sense to all people who have severe and profound hearing losses, including those who are hard of hearing and those who are Deaf. This term is meant to include people who use ASL, Signed English and/or speech to communicate.  18 Handicapped: Because of it's negative connotations this term is used in this thesis only where discussion centers around the literature which refers to those who are "Handicapped-Gifted." This term is being phased out in special education, but remains as a label of categorization in the literature. Language: In this study the use of the term language is used as described by Armstrong (in Martin, 1985). It will be understood broadly to encompass human communication via oral or gestural signs (Peirce, 1955) when such signs have a rule-governed system of organization (syntax) and are used in ordinary discourse and social interaction. This definition would...include such oral/aural languages as well as visual languages such as ASL and written English (as distinct from spoken). It is recognized ...that a deaf child may have very poor skills in written or spoken English and yet not be language deficient if a rich background in a signed language exists. (p. 100). Gender issues: I have attempted to use both male and female pronouns equally throughout the study, except where one refers specifically to a known person. Types, causes and onset of hearing loss. Hearing losses may be of three types: conductive, sensory and neural (Boothroyd, 1982). Conductive losses can usually be cured or alleviated by medical treatment whereas sensory -neural losses tend to be permanent. In some cases cochlear implants may be beneficial. The students mentioned in this study all have sensory-neural losses and only one student had an implant. There are many causes of hearing loss, however and these can impact greatly on the development of students' abilities. Causes can be divided into four major categories: those that are genetic, those caused by disease such as rubella or meningitis, those caused by drugs and those caused by a trauma such as anoxia (Boothroyd, 1982). The educational implications of the cause of deafness are important. Students whose hearing losses are inherited are less likely to have other learning problems, whereas those students who have been affected by disease may have multiple handicaps. Hereditary deafness  accounts for approximately 50% of early childhood deafness, but only between 5 and 10% of all deaf children are born to deaf parents (Moores, 1987). In many cases,  19 however, the etiology is still unknown. Etiology can be an important consideration, however; Deaf children of Deaf parents for example, are generally ahead of their peers in school achievement (Moores, 1987). Children can acquire hearing losses before, during or after birth. This becomes a critical factor when the development of language is considered. Prelingual deafness refers to the condition of persons whose deafness was present at birth or occurred prior to the development of speech and language. Postlingual deafness refers to the condition of persons whose deafness occurred following the spontaneous acquisition of speech and language (Moores, 1987). It is important to note that "language" as used here refers to the English language, or to any auditory-verbal language. It does not refer to ASL, which is a visual language and is often learned as a first language by Deaf children of signing Deaf parents. In this study, all except one of the students were prelingually deaf; one student had a progressive loss which became total when she was in junior high school. Different modes of communication. People with hearing losses use different ways to communicate with the hearing world and with each other. Put simply, two systems of communication predominate in the field: the auditory verbal systems and the manual communication systems. Some people are able to and prefer, to develop speech, speechreading and auditory skills to the level that these become the main form of communication with people who are hearing. Many hard of hearing people fall within this category and some people with profound losses are able to communicate orally. Sanders (1993) provides a succinct picture of how a child may or may not benefit from this method of learning to communicate. The benefits of effective auditory-oral communication are great. When the method succeeds with a child, the advantages include the ability to function and compete in the hearing world; (and) to take advantage of most of the education, professional and social opportunities that require oral communication; ...Unfortunately such opportunities prove not to be realistic for many persons with severe to profound hearing impairment. When the auditory-oral method cannot provide a viable communication system, the cost is extremely high. The profoundly hearing impaired child receives only a small part and in some cases none, of the rich auditory information in which the hearing child is bathed constantly. The reality of sound, its referential  20 function and its meaning, rather than being learned naturally, must be taught. ...acquisition through speech perception is slow and laborious. At a concrete level, the child may show progress in naming people and objects, but those language constructs that enable us to acquire abstract thought present an extremely difficult learning task. Since experience, cognition and language processing are symbiotic functions, a child delayed in language necessarily will be impaired in the ability to know and think about the world and himself. (p. 247) In contrast to auditory verbal methods as described above, many Deaf people use ASL as their main language to communicate with other Deaf people. The use of ASL implies membership in the Deaf community, so although members usually have hearing losses in the severe to profound category, some may have quite mild impairments. ASL is a language system in its own right and is very different from English (Padden, 1980). Other students are often exposed to and use some form of signed English. This manual form of communication attempts to reflect the exact syntax and structure of the English language and is presented visually at the same time as the spoken word. "This manual English has been formalized into systems such as Seeing Essential English (SEE) (Anthony & Associates, 1971) in which each word is signed, in contrast to the concept signs of AMESLAN (ASL)" (Sanders, p. 251). The signed English systems of communication have been used in schools and programs as part of the philosophy of Total Communication. This philosophy means to provide the child with information using "any of several modes of communication that proves successful in a given situation. Thus speech, natural gestures, fingerspelling and AMESLAN may all be used together with a system of signs" (p. 251). Sanders also reflects on the impact of the manual English systems on the educational outcomes for hard of hearing and Deaf students. Nearly 20 years of almost universal education of profoundly hearing impaired children by total communication method have now passed—a period during which early diagnosis, fitting of amplification and preschool intervention have reached more and more of these children. Yet, as a population, children with profound hearing deficits remain significantly educationally retarded (Jordan, Gustason & Rosen, 1976). The typically profoundly impaired student today graduates from high school with an average third or fourth grade reading level (Allen, 1986)... Allen maintains that signed English systems therefore, cannot tap into or build upon a natural language. (p. 251)  21 For this reason, some specialists are now advocating the teaching in infancy of ASL to children and the development of family support systems in order to provide assistance to parents in understanding what deafness might mean for their child. Service delivery models Canada provides a vast array of educational choices for students who are Deaf and hard of hearing, but students who live in larger centers are much more likely to be able to have access to those facilities (Bibby, in press). It was assumed that in this study, teachers who worked in different settings would also have different experiences which would impact on that teacher's perspective of giftedness. The information about the settings and experience of the teachers is presented in Table 1, Chapter 3. The Schools for the Deaf in Canada have traditionally been residential, with students living in the dorms. During the past 15 years, however, students whose families do not live in the community live in the dorms only during the week; these students go home or to a foster family for the weekends. Day students, who live at home in the community, also attend these schools. The schools tend to have student enrollments ranging from approximately 80 to 300 (Bibby, in press). Situations in Schools for the Deaf are changing and it is necessary to explain these changes in order to fully understand the perspectives of the teachers in this study. Eleven of the 12 teachers in this study have taught Deaf and hard of hearing students for over 10 years. When they talk about teaching in a School for the Deaf, one can assume that, for the most part, the philosophy of Total Communication has been in effect. English, therefore, had been the main language of instruction and ASL had been used to communicate as needed in the educational situation. It is also safe to assume that ASL was the social, "outside-the-classroom" language for these students. During the past five years, there have been Schools for the Deaf that have changed their teaching philosophy from that of Total Communication to a "Bi-Bi" approach. This bilingual-bicultural instructional philosophy fully recognizes the culture of the Deaf  22 community and provides classroom instruction in ASL. Because this is a relatively new approach which is now in the process of being formalized in the schools, it is safe to assume that the students named in this study were not exposed to this methodology. The students in this study who attended Schools for the Deaf were most likely educated within the framework of the Total Communication philosophy. Many public schools provide integrated settings, self-contained classrooms for students with hearing losses. These classrooms are usually staffed by a fully trained teacher of Deaf and hard of hearing students. The students in these classrooms are usually either using oral methods of communication, or they are using a Signed English system in the educational environment. In many cases students within these settings are included in regular classrooms with their hearing peers for academic subjects at different times during the day; placement into the regular stream is dependent upon the individual abilities of each student. In some cases students will use an oral or a sign language interpreter when they are placed with their hearing peers. There are also educational settings that provide itinerant and consultant services on an individual basis to students integrated into their community schools. These students often receive the services of an itinerant teacher who is a teachers trained to work with Deaf and hard of hearing students. The itinerant teacher provides one-on-one tutoring to the student in the school, with the amount of contact time determined by that student's individual needs. In most cases, these students are communicating through the use of speech, speech reading and audition, but within the last decade there have been more students who have been placed in these situations with a sign language interpreter. More recently, some programs provide consulting services only, which means that the trained teacher does not usually work with the student; her responsibility is to provide support and information to the classroom teacher. In summary, the complexities associated with educating Deaf and hard of hearing students are enormous. As teachers enter these varied educational environments, they are  23 faced with children who are in many ways similar to hearing students; in many ways there are also important differences. A host of other variables come into play when the students have hearing losses and these not only affect students' school outcomes, but impact greatly on students' interactions with people and how they deal with their lives. Mertens (1989) reviewed the literature concerning school outcomes for Deaf and hard of hearing students and categorized those variables uniquely associated with this group of students. They are listed as follows: Family background characteristics (e.g., hearing status of parents; communication mode used in the home) 2. Subject background characteristics (e.g., age of hearing loss, cause of loss, communication skills, degree of loss, presence of additional handicaps) School or school district conditions (e.g., size of hearing impaired 3. student enrollment, expenditure for hearing impaired programs, support services provided) Within school conditions (e.g., hearing impaired student-teacher 4. ratio, process of making student placement decisions) 5. Instructional personnel characteristics (e.g., signing ability, training and experience in working with deaf students) 6. Student attitudes (e.g., impulsivity, attitude toward communication, internal/external control) Student placement (e.g., residential school, day school with self7. contained classes, mainstreamed classes) Instructional personnel performance by both teachers and interpreters 8. (e.g., sign mode used) 9.^Family support variables (e.g., adaptation to deafness, family involvement/interaction, expectations). (p. 827) 1.  Deaf and hard of hearing people do indeed form a heterogeneous population. Deafness and cognitive functioning  In spite of and perhaps because of the many variables listed above, teachers generally do not question the fact that people with hearing losses are just as capable as those without. They recognize the difficulties imposed by the loss of hearing, but seldom question the intellectual abilities of the students. Research supports the fact that there appear to be no differences in the cognitive capacities for learning, remembering, thinking and language and that these capacities are not distributed differently from those in hearing people (Bellugi, 1991; Martin, 1991; Rosenstein, 1961; Vernon, 1967). There is no doubt however, that there exist "symbiotic functions" (Sanders, 1993) in the  24 interplay of experience, cognition and language or, as Marschark & Clark (1993) suggest, "among the cognitive, linguistic and social environments in which deaf children are immersed" (p.22).The following discussion is meant to provide for the reader a brief sketch of some points which serve as important background for this research. Moores (1987), in a chapter summary on deafness and cognitive functioning states unequivocally that... ...the available evidence suggests that the condition of deafness imposes no limitations on the cognitive capabilities of individuals. There is no evidence to suggest that deaf persons think in more "concrete" ways than the hearing or that their intellectual functioning is in any way less sophisticated. As a group, deaf people function within the normal range of intelligence and deaf individuals exhibit the same wide variability as the hearing population. (p. 164). Work by Rodda and Grove (1987) confirms these findings. They suggest that in many aspects of cognitive skill deaf respondents are equal to or even superior to hearing respondents. If scores appear to be low, they are more inclined to blame other external factors, such as reduced social communication, poorer reading skills and less exposure to educational experiences. These are not factors which are the primary result of having a hearing loss. They often accompany deafness, but are not inevitable consequences of being deaf. Although Rodda & Grove (1987) conclude that "the cognitive abilities of deaf children, students and adults are essentially normal" (p. 183), they also note that in two specific areas, short-term memory storage and English language skill, deaf subjects consistently score below hearing controls. They ascribe this performance of deaf students to a specific effect resulting from their inability to hear, "a disability that can be overcome by the use of alternative visual coding strategies" (p. 183). Wolff (1985) also suggests that differences in scores are often due to such factors as linguistic competencies and secondary handicaps. Moores (1987) notes the fact that many investigations which deal with people who have hearing losses are very prejudiced. Often, tests that are developed for hearing children have been used for those with hearing losses; experimenters have limited or non-  25 existent abilities to communicate with deaf children and investigators often hold expectations of lowered performance as they begin their studies. Conrad (1979) has in fact termed these expectations of low performance "the generalized deficiency hypothesis." In spite of these rather incredible obstacles, research results are now arguing in favor of similarities and comparability between deaf and hearing populations (Marschark, 1993). Historically, perceptions of the intellectual functioning of Deaf and hard of hearing individuals has changed over the years and Moores (1987) describes these changes in terms of three stages. Stage One is characterized by research which saw deaf people as inferior intellectually; researchers in stage two saw deaf people as qualitatively different, and those in stage three recognize people who are deaf as being intellectually normal. In stage one, Pintner & Patterson (1917) recognized cognitive deficits in terms of lower visual memory for the deaf than for the hearing, and later (Pintner, Eisenson & Stanton, 1941) suggested that deaf people were intellectually inferior in intelligence, demonstrated by IQ scores that were ten points lower on the average than those for hearing people. In contrast, later work by Vernon (1968, 1969) showed that both deaf and hearing people showed the same distribution on intelligence tests. In Stage Two, the deaf were seen not as inferior in intelligence, but as qualitatively different, in that they were unable to think abstractly; they were seen to be more "concrete" in their intellectual functioning( Myklebust, 1964; Myklebust & Brutton, 1953). Myklebust's "organismic shift hypothesis" (1964) characterized this period (Marschark, 1993). In Stage Three, deaf people were finally seen to be intellectually normal. Martin (1985) notes that it is a well accepted fact that when using performance rather than verbal  IQ tests, people with hearing losses show a normal range of intelligence. The activities of Furth, (1964, 1966a, 1966b,1969, 1971, 1973, 1974) during this stage were instrumental in that he reasoned that the poorer performance of deaf  26 individuals on some Piagetian tasks might be explained either by a lack of general experience or by specific task conditions that favored linguistic habits. He also brought the work of Piaget to the awareness of educators of deaf children. His work contributed to a changing view of deafness that moved perspectives away from the traditional view of seeing individuals on the basis of deficiency or deviancy. He asserted that the majority of deaf individuals get along adequately in the world in spite of the educational obstacles they face and in spite of the prejudices that they encounter. His positive approach to searching for strengths and giving learning to think priority over language instruction greatly influenced teaching methodology. Furth did not deny the importance of language, but he did also emphasize the importance of experience in concrete situations as a way to help the developing mind. Paul & Jackson (1993) suggest, however, that some of Furth's assumptions must be questioned in light of today's research. Furth believed, for example, that deaf people typically do not know much language; although his overall attitude was favorable to Total Communication methods, he still assumed a lack of language in some fundamental sense (Rodda & Grove, 1987). This statement does not take into account the importance of the nature and functioning of sign language. In addition, Furth (1964) suggests that deaf persons fall short at the formal operative level of intellectual functioning. As mentioned above, Moores' own reviews of the literature suggest that reasons for the poor performance may have more to do with the experimenters' inability to communicate effectively with their subjects (p. 160). In summary, the research to date agrees that the great difficulty encountered by deaf children in academic subject matter is most likely not caused by cognitive deficiencies. It is recognized that English language abilities and reading scores are generally found to be much lower for students with hearing losses, but this is not seen to be an indicator of lower intellectual functioning. Researchers are beginning to adopt a "contextual/interactionist model" (Clark, 1993) of development which recognizes the  27 reciprocity between deaf individuals and the worlds in which they live. Many of the causes of learning difficulties among hard of hearing and deaf people are seen to be external to the individual and as educators, we must concern ourselves with giving focus to both the cognitive strengths of the students and to their ongoing interactive environments. Framing the Research Question The following section will provide the reader with the framework which served to guide the research for this project. This literature came from four substantive areas: literature relating to the giftedness construct, literature relating to students who are gifted and handicapped, literature relating to students who have hearing losses and who are gifted and literature concerning teachers' perspectives and knowledge. As is common in qualitative research, (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Strauss & Corbin, 1990) much of this literature will be re-examined in light of the findings from this investigation and will be incorporated into the chapters that describe those findings. In addition, new literature related to the findings that does not appear in this section of the thesis, will be explored and incorporated as it relates to the issues and themes which emerge from the data (Locke et al, 1987; Wolcott, 1990). This section then, provides the background which supports the areas of focus for this research: the meanings of giftedness; the literature on disability and giftedness; the literature on hearing impairment and giftedness and the importance of teachers' perspectives. The Giftedness Construct. Hoge's (1989) article entitled An Examination of the Giftedness Construct provides a framework for an investigation of the understandings given to the term "gifted." Written from the perspective of a psychologist and a theorist, the article served a central role in supporting the rationale for this study. In many ways, it validated my own feelings of confusion about the meanings of the term and encouraged me to seek some clarification from the teachers.  28 Thirty five years ago, Getzels and Jackson (1958) raised questions related to the concept of giftedness. At that time, the meaning was frequently related to a score on an intelligence test, and they suggested that this presented a very narrow view. Hoge notes that " their paper represented primarily a call for an expanded definition of the giftedness construct" (p. 4). Hoge (1989) discusses issues relevant to the giftedness construct and the existing variability in definitions. Recognizing that we are not dealing with a unitary and universally accepted construct, Hoge lists and explains five major dimensions on which these terms differ in the existing literature. The first three dimensions concern the breadth of qualities and traits as being narrow ( Torrance's (1965) ideas of creativity) or broad(Renzulli, 1986), the nature of the qualities as being, for example, cognitive, motivational or creative, and the level of excellence as evidenced by a cutoff score on an IQ test of, for example, 130. The fourth dimension of variability concerns the extent to which the conceptualization incorporates a static or a dynamic view of the characteristics . In the case of narrowly derived cognitive performance, (IQ scores) we might be dealing with "a bright child who will be bright for all time and under all circumstances" (p. 8). At the other end of the spectrum is the child who has potential which may or may not develop. This nature/nurture issue (Maker, 1977).may be especially critical for those dealing with young children who are seen to be gifted. As Lewis and Louis (1991) suggest, a central question for this age group becomes: "Do gifted preschoolers become gifted children and adults or do they eventually level off?" (p. 373). This static or dynamic view may also have an impact on who is labeled gifted: those who demonstrate achievement, or those who demonstrate potential for achievement? (L. Silverman in Maker, 1986). Hoge's (1989) fifth dimension of variability concerns the precision with which the elements of the construct should be explicitly stated; those elements should be linked to specific measuring operations and data should be presented on the validity of the  29 construct (Messick, 1980; Shavelson, Hubner, & Stanton, 1976). Hoge gives as an example, a definition that is global and vague (Ontario Ministry of Education, 1984): The exceptional pupil is... ...a pupil whose behavioral, communicational, intellectual, physical, or multiple exceptionalities are such that he is considered to need placement in a special education program...(giftedness is) an unusually advanced degree of general intellectual ability that requires differentiated learning experiences of a depth and breadth beyond those normally provided in the regular school program to satisfy the level of educational potential indicated (p. 9) These differing dimensions of the giftedness construct play an important role in what is actually done in schools. A teacher who views giftedness as an inherent trait may be more determined to encourage students who have high IQs and less likely to encourage those who do not. If one views a gifted learner as someone who does something faster, or more, the focus may be on acceleration; if one views a gifted student as one who learns things differently, then the focus will be on finding unique ways to teach (Borland,1978). "Each definition leads to different interpretations of a qualitatively different curriculum" (Maker, 1986b, p. 323). The label is not value free and people's construction of meaning is on-going. Maker (1986a) suggests that, at a national level, there may be a tendency to view gifted students as a national resource; the special education perspective views gifted children as having the right to develop their potential. In terms of society's values, "Yesterday's context could very likely not be valid for defining tomorrow's giftedness" (Borland, (1978 p. 326). Both Maker (1986a) and Hoge (1988) have expressed some concern over the variability of the giftedness construct. Maker is caught in the quest for "the best defensible program" for gifted students to "enable education to make a better case for the provision of special services" (p. 326). Hoge accepts that variability exists, that it will continue to exist and that it is not necessarily undesirable. ...definitions of the gifted construct should flow from assumptions and values respecting the needs of children and of the most effective programming for meeting those needs. These assumptions and values are likely to vary from  30 one setting to another, and, hence, alternative formulations of the giftedness construct are inevitable. There is, however, one point on which there can be no compromise: ...if children are going to be labeled "gifted," it is essential to understand what the label denotes (Hoge, 1989, p. 11). Meanings given to the term "gifted" appear to be fluid and change within contexts. The idea seems to be complementary to the reality of the education system to which Heshusius (1982) refers when she talks about teachers and pupils interacting as "open systems, non-linear, unpredictable, and complex." It is to that classroom environment, the world of teachers and students, that we now turn. The Literature on "Handicapped-Gifted" Students In spite of and perhaps because of, the complexity of the construct of giftedness, there now exists an extensive literature on giftedness among the general population. In every area where children are dealing with special challenges there exists a separate literature which attends to their unique needs and characteristics. There is a large literature on deafness for example, as there is with other areas such as learning disabilities and physical disabilities. As mentioned in Chapter 1 of this study, the combined focus on and literature related to those who are both gifted and who have a disability, however, has emerged only in the last 15 years. Although the category "handicapped-gifted" is officially recognized it is unfortunate that the term "handicapped" is used in its title, because in the 1990s it is outdated; there is more willingness to use the term disabled. The use of the term is being called into question by today's advocates of people's rights. It is more appropriate to be bringing into focus the strengths of those individuals who have hearing losses or visual problems or who are physically challenged. Our concept of what is the "norm" is being challenged, as it becomes more critical for our society to accept the differences that each of us brings to our communities. For the purposes of this section of this chapter, however, the term will be used because it is in use in all the existing literature and because it indicates that there are a  31 unique group of people who are dually challenged. These are the minorities within the minorities. The chapter on labeling in this document more clearly discusses the "pros and cons" of this issue as they are seen by teachers who are working in the field with students who have hearing losses.  Definition. Yewchuk and Bibby (1989b) and Yewchuk and Lupart (in press) provide a comprehensive description of issues related to "gifted handicapped" individuals. A gifted child with sensory or physical disabilities must meet the criteria which have been established for both populations. For giftedness, the standard is that which was established by Marland (1972) where demonstration of potential for high abilities in one of several areas is a prerequisite to being given the gifted label. The child must also be classified as hard of hearing, deaf, speech impaired, visually handicapped, orthopedically impaired, or health impaired (Marland, 1972). Children with learning disabilities are also now included in this group. In Canada, both gifted students and those with disabilities are eligible for special funding when identification procedures indicate that their needs cannot be met in regular classrooms without special services. Because of the variety of handicapping conditions and the multifaceted aspects of currently employed definitions of giftedness, a variety of individuals with different profiles of strengths and weaknesses may be defined as handicapped gifted learners.  Incidence. Various estimates of the incidence of handicapped giftedness range from a conservative 2% of all handicapped children in the United States, or between 120,000 and 180,000 (Schnur & Stefanich, 1979), to a more liberal 5% or between 300,000 and 540,000 (Whitmore & Maker, 1985). These estimates assume that the incidence of giftedness among the handicapped population is similar to that within the general population. In Illinois, Mauser (1980) found 2.3% of learning disabled children to be intellectually gifted and in Alberta, Bibby and Yewchuk (1987) found 5.5% of Deaf and  32 hard of hearing children to be intellectually gifted as determined by scores on non-verbal intelligence tests. A thorough discussion of the literature on gifted Deaf and hard of hearing students is presented in the next section of this chapter. If the Canadian population of disabled children is proportional to that of the United States, then total incidence in Canada is probably between 12,000 and 54,000, the vast majority of whom have not been identified as being gifted (Yewchuk & Bibby, 1989b). Identification, nomination and referral. Issues relating to the abilities of teachers to recognize giftedness, especially among those students who have a disability, have been discussed at length in Chapter 1. Since teachers are directly involved in the process of teaching these students and since, in general, their ability to identify these students has been found to be lacking, the research has strongly supported the need for inservice training. There is, however, no research which has directly questioned these teachers about how they see their students and why they may or may not "correctly" identify those who are gifted. Identification of gifted handicapped children is, in any case, fraught with difficulty. It has been shown that the same screening and multifaceted data collection procedures used with gifted children in general produce the best results (Whitmore & Maker, 1985; Yewchuk & Bibby, 1989c), although special concessions are required for each area of handicap (Pendarvis & Grossi, 1980). Children with hearing losses, for example, are given nonverbal tests such as the WISCR or III performance scale and the Leiter International Performance Scale, to judge intellectual potential. Other testing considerations such as mode of communication and the experience of the examiner must also be taken into account (Moores, 1987). Johnson and Corn (1989) report that, since Whitmore's review in 1981 which called the investigation of gifted children with handicaps a new frontier, "fewer than 10 articles have been written about these students. In addition, few papers addressing the needs of this special population have been presented at national conventions. For example, at the  33 1988 Annual Convention of the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC), only one session focused on the gifted handicapped" (p. 15). Johnson and Corn, however, don't include articles on learning disabled and gifted children since this focus is on those with serious physical handicaps. These same authors do credit the National Theater of the Deaf with giving increased visibility to people with handicaps who are gifted. In fact, more actors with various disabilities are being seen in major roles in mainstream movies and television series. In spite of the achievements of these people, however, gifted children with sensory and physical disabilities are said to be underserved within the school system (Johnson & Corn, 1989; Shore et al, 1991). The Literature on Hard of Hearing and Deaf Students Who Are Gifted  The extant literature dealing with Deaf and hard of hearing gifted students consists of 11 articles, one book chapter and one thesis, in addition to six articles recently published by my colleague Carolyn Yewchuk and myself. Even though this appears to be more than Johnson and Corn (1989) suggest, the literature is still sparse. This could be a reflection of several conditions: (a) that not much is being done to identify or to serve these students; (b) that something is being done to identify and serve these students but that dissemination of information about what is happening is a low priority among educators of Deaf and hard of hearing students; or (c) that other concerns such as the debate regarding ASL and Signed English are overshadowing the field. Many of the papers discuss more than one area, but the following review is organized around the following themes which relate specifically to Deaf and hard of hearing students: (1)  Identification procedures (Hadary, Cohen, & Haushalter, 1979; Pollard & Howze, 1981; Whiting Anderson, & Ward,1980; Yewchuk & Bibby, 1989a, 1989b, 1989c).  (2)  Descriptions of programs and practices (Fleury, MacNeil, & Pflaum, 1981; Krahe, 1984; Solomon, 1981)  34 (3)  Surveys of programs for gifted students with hearing losses(Gamble, 1985; Sarnecky & Michaud, 1979) and  (4)  Discussions or investigations of general or specific characteristics and needs of gifted students (Maker, 1981; Murphy-Berman, Witters & Harding, 1985; Whitmore & Maker, 1985; Yewchuk & Bibby, 1988b,1989a).  One general statement with regard to definition can be made before we review the literature. The evidence suggests that for the most part the definitions for gifted students who also have hearing losses, are based upon Marland's 1972 report to Congress (Yewchuk & Bibby, 1989b) where gifted and talented children were defined as... those with exceptional abilities in the areas of general intellectual ability, specific academic ability, creative and productive thinking, leadership, visual and performing arts and psychomotor ability (Marland Report, 1972). Marland's (1972) definition is often used as a standard. The School for the Deaf in Texas, for example, uses the state's definition which was changed somewhat to emphasize the often uneven profiles these children present and to emphasize potential as well as performance or achievement. The gifted student is: ...a student who, by virtue of outstanding mental abilities is capable of high performance. The student may demonstrate, singly or in combination, aboveaverage achievement or potential in such areas as general intellectual ability, specific subject matter aptitude, ability in creative and productive thinking and leadership ability... (Texas Education Code, Section 16.501 in Pollard & Howze, 1981). Definitions from the literature cited below which are applied to hard of hearing and Deaf children are based on local state definitions for hearing students (Gamble, 1985; Texas Report, 1980) or program criteria for entry which often required IQ scores or performance measures (Krahe, 1984; Murphy-Berman, Witters & Harding 1985; Whiting et al., 1980; ). Some authors do not offer definitions in their writing (Fleury et al., 1981; Hadary & Cohen, 1979; Solomon, 1981). Identification procedures. Material published by the Texas School for the Deaf (Pollard & Howze, 1981) is the most comprehensive and the most involved in its treatment of identification procedures.  35 Having been given a large financial grant and working over three years, the School developed a complicated but statistically valid set of guidelines for identifying the gifted student, all of which related to testing criteria. In the first stages of the project, researchers obtained over 70 test scores on 539 children and through procedures involving factor analysis established specific identification guidelines. Informal procedures, ratings and nominations were also used to identify these students. Criteria for identifying giftedness in the visual and performing arts were also developed. In their conclusions, the authors state that, "A student's TAG Index scores and results from the visual and performing arts procedure should supplement rather than substitute for common sense, personal knowledge and professional judgment. ...The TSDTAG Identification Procedure represents the best selection procedure existing at this time for identifying talented and gifted deaf students" (p. 19). It also appears to be the most complicated. Yewchuk and Bibby (1989b) initially used teacher and parent nominations to identify gifted students. Teachers were asked to use four forms, one of which was The Scales for Rating the Behavioral Characteristics of Superior Students, (SRBCSS) (Renzulli, Smith, White, Callahan, & Hartman, 1976). Consisting of 10 scales with a total of 95 items, this is the most extensive of its kind and one of the few normed measures of giftedness available. The items were derived from a comprehensive review of the literature on characteristics of superior students. For an item to be included on the SRBCSS, the characteristic it represented had to have been recognized as important in at least three separate studies (Barbe & Renzulli, 1981). The SRBCSS was chosen because it is the most detailed in breadth and depth. It indicated performance on ten different scales: leadership, motivation, learning, creativity, artistic, musical, dramatics, communication-precision, communication-expression and planning.  36 The other three forms completed by the teachers were: (a)  Rating Gifted Students, a 15 item instrument used by the public school in  Edmonton as a screening tool to identify academically gifted students. (b)  Teacher Observational Items (Pledgie, 1982), a 7 item questionnaire intended  as an initial screening tool to identify gifted handicapped students. After examining checklists and lists of characteristics pertaining to four groups of children: the gifted, culturally diverse gifted, disadvantaged -gifted and handicapped gifted, Pledgie selected the seven behaviors common to all four groups; and (c) Nomination Form for Potentially Gifted Students, a nine-item questionnaire that was developed in an effort to identify gifted students who might otherwise be missed by group testing; that is, those who underachieve, exhibit disruptive, withdrawn and/or other deviant behavior. In addition to the data supplied by the teacher, parents were asked to use a form called "The Parent Nomination Form," which was in use in the public school system and adapted from Martinson (1974). The second major phase of our research, however, then tended to focus on those students who were intellectually gifted, whose IQ scores fell above the 90th percentile on performance IQ tests. Conclusions from this study indicated that several measures, including IQ scores, should be used to identify Deaf and hard of hearing students who might be gifted. In addition, both parents and teachers should be involved in the process. Parent nominations, teachers nominations and IQ scores all appeared "to provide important sources of information" (p. 46). Identification criteria for two other studies had a different emphasis because of the placement decisions being made for the students. Whiting, Anderson and Ward (1980) described a situation whereby the students participated in a program that had been set up for gifted hearing students. The criteria for identification were the same as those used for hearing students in the State of California: " Identification of mentally gifted is based on  37 an examination of all pertinent evidence as to a pupil's general intellectual ability and verified by a score within the top 2% on an individually administered intelligence test" (p. 27). Nominations and a screening procedure were also used. In a brief description of the American University program developed in Washington DC, Hadery, Cohen and Haushalter (1979) discuss their in-the-classroom attempts to establish criteria for identification based on observable measures in science and thinking skills. In the area of science, they "are developing a series of observational measures adapted to handicapped children to find the ones with high ability." They go on to explain that they "plan to examine what children do in a given complex situation, identifying characteristics of behavior that show more powerful problem-solving strategies than other characteristic behaviors" (p. 40). In summary, it appears that identification procedures for Deaf and hard of hearing students have been similar to those for hearing students. Multifaceted methods, which use IQ scores, achievement ratings, nomination forms and observations are being used. Identification of gifted students who have hearing losses also comes from people with varied backgrounds-parents, teachers and psychologists. It is interesting to note that both the Texas identification procedures and those used by Yewchuk and Bibby (1989c) were extremely time consuming and fairly expensive. Description of programs and practices. Some of the literature has been written for teachers who are interested in issues related specifically to programming needs of Deaf and hard of hearing students who are also gifted. Krahe's (1984) students were integrated with hearing gifted students in a summer program. Her descriptive account outlines the Pegasus Project for the Hearing Impaired which was developed in conjunction with a program at the University of California Campus. Their Project Explore! UCI "was selected because it is an academic and cultural enrichment program with courses designed to stimulate complex thinking and problem-solving behaviors in high-achieving, gifted, motivated or capable under-  38 achieving students and this program seemed to meet the identified needs of an unserved segment of the hearing impaired population" (p. 590). Nine students, seven using total communication and two who were oral, all between the ages of 11-15, were chosen to participate in the project. The students attended courses for a three and a half week summer session and the program was rated as "a highly successful project." Evaluation was informal, being done by questionnaires, observations and comments by persons working with and observing the program (Krahe, 1984, p. 592). The greatest weakness that was demonstrated by the PPHI students was in the area of written language. Krahe concludes that: ...the intelligence that is demonstrated, the high levels of cognitive engagement with material, the creativity and the developed language skills, all present a unique capability in a small segment of the hearing impaired population that can best be met by people trained to work with gifted individuals in combination with those knowledgeable about hearing impairment (p. 593). Solomon (1981) too addresses instructional issues when she describes in detail how she used videotaping as a teaching technique to enhance the learning program she used with her five, 8-10 year olds who were gifted. Unfortunately, we have no other information on these students or how they had been identified, but Solomon presents a description of the children's positive reactions to the use of the video sessions. In a similar vein, Fleury, MacNeil and Pflaum (1981) provide an in-depth description of the kinds of media designs that are most beneficial to meeting the unique needs of gifted students with hearing losses. They say that these students "need to be challenged in developing advanced cognitive abilities to acquire competencies at an accelerated rate, to integrate large amounts of information and to independently explore specific areas of interest" (p. 15). They go on to say that gifted and talented students should "become active participants in their education and be encouraged to be creators, not just passive learners" (p.16). They provide a fairly thorough description of the characteristics of gifted Deaf and hard of hearing students and then focus their attention on how innovative media designs can be created to effectively meet the needs of the  39 students. The article does not deal with definitions of giftedness or with criteria for identification. Both Fleury and MacNeil have been involved in teaching gifted students who have hearing losses; Pflaum appears to be the media expert. These articles offer worthwhile suggestions for implementing programs for students who are gifted and who have hearing losses. The students are able to take a part in programs for hearing students and creative teachers can learn to provide stimulating and creative environments. The reported studies are, however, brief and somewhat sparse in content. There is a need for a strong research base which will assist in developing programs which take into account the multiplicity of contextual factors that impact on each student. Survey of programs. Work by Gamble (1985), is one of the most extensive investigations into the state of gifted programs for Deaf and hard of hearing students. It is discussed in detail because it provides the only demographic information of its kind in this field. Gamble used questionnaires to determine the number and characteristics of programs available in the United States to intellectually and academically gifted Deaf and hard of hearing schoolage individuals. A quantitative assessment of the characteristics of the reported programs for the gifted was made according to what experts in the field consider to be ideal characteristics of successful programs and the data were also analyzed to determine whether parental hearing status was a factor affecting the incidence rate of giftedness among hearing impaired students. Returned questionnaires came from 44 of the 62 residential schools in the United States, 8 of the 15 day programs and 31 of the 53 county special education programs. No attempt was made to collect data on isolated attempts to individualize instruction in schools without gifted programs. The findings are briefly reported below. 1.^There are at least 16 programs serving gifted Deaf and hard of hearing students in the United States. The 16 reported represented six residential schools for the  40 deaf, six county special education programs accessible to students with hearing losses and four day schools. 2.  The incidence rate for giftedness among Deaf and hard of hearing students  was found to be 4.2% which was consistent with other rates of 3 to 5% among the general population (Marland, 1972). A total of 134 Deaf and hard of hearing students were identified as gifted and being served in the 16 reported programs. Fifty-six percent of those reported were male and 44% were female. Gamble appears to obtain that incidence rate from those who were actually enrolled in programs and who have, therefore, been identified. The total number of Deaf and hard of hearing students in all the schools that returned the survey was 3,183. Later in the report, Gamble (1985) indicates that 877 of these students were "identified as gifted or believed to be gifted." (p.512). If those identified (877) were all found to be gifted, then the actual incidence rate would be around 27.5%. This seems to be excessively high and would tend to indicate over-identification. 3. The incidence rate for giftedness among Deaf students having two deaf parents is eight times as high as would normally be expected. A total of 24% of the identified students, or 32, came from families with two deaf parents. Gamble (1985) obtains these figures by referring to findings by Rawlings and Jensema (1977) which indicated that 3% of deaf children have two deaf parents, 6% have one deaf parent and 91% come from families with one or two normally hearing parents. He concludes: Given these figures, it would be expected that only four of the gifted students reported in this study would come from families having two deaf parents. In fact, there were eight times that many (32) reported. (p. 150) It is interesting to note that Johnson and Corn (1989) later highlight this finding, saying that "One might conclude that, with early intervention, a higher estimate of the incidence of giftedness in the hearing impaired population could be more accurate" (p. 16).  41 Unfortunately they failed to see that these children were probably among those "believed to be gifted" and not from those having been formally identified as gifted. 4.  The gifted programs used identification measures which included the WISC-R  Performance Scale, with the average intelligence quotient criterion score being 123, with a range of 112 to 132. Teacher nomination and the Stanford Achievement Test-Hearing Impaired were the most frequent measures for specific academic aptitude. Six of the 15 program supervisors responding indicated that no operational definition was included in their program. Eight of the remaining nine included a definition used in their individual state's definitions. 5.  County gifted education programs accessible to students with hearing losses  included more key features of successful programs than either the residential or day schools reported in this study. 6.  Only 15% of all gifted Deaf and hard of hearing school-age students reported  in the study were enrolled in special programs for the gifted. These percentages are confusing again, however, because Gamble uses the 877 number in his figuring. "From a total of 877 hearing impaired students identified as gifted or believed to be gifted, only 134 are reportedly being provided with a special program" (p. 512). I have already questioned the high incidence rate if the number 877 is used. Nonetheless, whether or not one can eventually "prove" that these students are or are not gifted, the people who did the nominations obviously felt that these students were capable of a great deal. 7.  Gamble reports finally that "the percentage of hearing impaired students  believed to be gifted (5%) is consistent with the upper limits of the incidence rate for giftedness among the general population" (p. 512). This percentage appears to come from those schools and county special programs that did not provide gifted programs. Although Gamble's reporting of his statistics is often confusing and even contradictory, the fact remains that gifted Deaf and hard of hearing students are being recognized and are beginning to be being served. Gamble's work is the first to take a  42 close look at giftedness among this population and as such contributes a great deal to the field.  Characteristics. Several of the authors of these studies indicate that characteristics of the gifted Deaf and hard of hearing population are similar to those of the general population of students (Fleury et al., 1981; Krahe, 1984; Texas School for the Deaf, 1980; Whiting, Anderson, & Ward, 1980). There appear to be two ways in which these characteristics have been described in this literature: the first places the characteristics within a context, the second provides a list. In the first instance, Whiting et al., (1980) provide a description of the students who were identified as being "Mentally Gifted Minors" (p. 30). They indicated that in addition to their high IQs, they shared the following characteristics to a greater degree than is usually seen in the "aurally-handicapped" population. Although these comments are meant to alert the classroom teachers to giftedness in their students, it is assumed that these behaviors showed up in the testing situation and were noted by the psychologist. *They are more apt to be working at grade level (as different from hearing gifted who will be advanced for their chronological age level). *They are self-starters, usually reaching for the next Leiter test or peeking under the cardboard strip to see what test it will be. They may want to control the taking out and putting away of the blocks. *They evidence a sense of humor. However, it manifests itself in teasing, play-acting or pretending. These children enjoy laughter and go about setting up a situation in which to be merry. They enjoy manipulating their environment. For example, they pretend to be unable to comprehend a specific Leiter task, then complete it successfully and rapidly and usually with a grin of triumph. *They appear intuitive. These children do not need literal explanations and the older ones usually have the unique ability to know what you are saying—or signing—before you say it. *They are ingenious in solving problems. Even when their test responses are incorrect, there is an explainable reason why they answered as they did. *They enjoy the challenge of the testing. Each qualifying student saw the test as a "game," wanted to continue and did not want to give up on hard problems even when told it was "OK" to go on to another task. *Without prompting, they check their answers. In the experience of the psychologist, it is unusual for the deaf children to scan or review their  43 work once they consider a task completed. They are more apt to look to the adult for assistance. *Finally, their language capabilities are clearly symbolic. At more than an age-appropriate level, the mentally gifted children are at home with inferences and abstractions. (Whiting et al., 1980, pp. 30-31). In a second example of reporting of characteristics, Yewchuk and Bibby (1989b) briefly interviewed teachers of Deaf and hard of hearing students after they had filled out the nomination forms for students they thought to be gifted. Altogether 36 teachers were asked to talk about the characteristics of giftedness they recognized in the students. The resulting list (Yewchuk & Bibby, 1988a, p. 347) has detailed the characteristics but is totally context free. Frequency^Characteristic 14^Understand quickly 14^Superior recall 12^Expressive language: colorful, precise excellent speech and articulation, talkative 11^Superior vocabulary 11^Superior reasoning ability (critical thinking, logic, analysis) 10^Grasps concepts easily; thinks quickly 8^Outstanding academic ability in several areas; surpasses peers on achievement tests 8^Eager to learn 7^Inquisitive; thoughtful questions 7^Superior task commitment, work attitude; goal-oriented 7^Transfers learnings to other areas and situations; applies learnings 6^Confident in self and own abilities; competitive; adaptable, copes well 5^Observant 5^Integrates and synthesizes ideas; sees relationships between ideas; sees inferences and insights 4^Superior reading ability (rate, comprehension) 4^Visual skills 4^Leadership skills; takes initiative; accepts new challenges 3^Superior attention span 3^Receptive language 2^Follows directions 2^Many interests 2^Physically very active 2^Outgoing, good sense of humor 2^Outstanding artistic ability/skills 1^Good writing skills  44 Yewchuk and Bibby (1988a) conclude that "a comparison of the characteristics of giftedness in hearing impaired students... and those commonly reported for hearing students reveals that, in many ways, in both populations, giftedness is manifested in the same ways: quick understanding, superior recall, superior vocabulary, etc. In one respect, however, the two differ: whereas gifted hearing students frequently function above grade level, gifted hearing impaired students are regarded as exceptional if functioning at grade level" (p. 96). Perhaps the most satisfactory description of giftedness among those with impaired hearing is that provided by Maker (1981) and by Whitmore and Maker (1985). Maker in the first part of the article and in an extremely thorough way, addresses issues related to definition and to characteristics related to areas of giftedness. Following a classification of talents suggested by Taylor (1968a in Maker, 1981), Maker details characteristics for people with intellectual/academic ability, with ability in the visual and performing arts, with planning ability, with forecasting/predicting ability, with leadership ability, decisionmaking ability and with creative abilities. She then deals with critical issues in the identification of Deaf and hard of hearing gifted students. The last section of the article, however, brings a focus to educational considerations which had been critical in the lives of successful disabled scientists. This focus is important because it is one of only two articles which refer specifically to case study information of Deaf or hard of hearing people who are also gifted. Of the 160 scientists interviewed, approximately 40 with each of the following disabilities were included in the study: hearing, vision, orthopedic disabilities and cerebral palsy. Three categories of information from the study are summarized: (a) the events perceived as significant (either positively or negatively), (b) the causes of success in achievement-related events and (c) coping strategies used to overcome barriers and inhibitors. This is the first study that went directly to the disabled people themselves and asked for their perspectives.  45 Whitmore and Maker's (1985) case study research of Myron is also outstanding. Myron is a physician in charge of a specialized center for research. He had a congenital loss of 80 to 90 decibels, but no one knew he was deaf until he was six or seven years old. Although his story is extremely unusual, it allows the reader insight into the experiences of one deaf man who is also gifted. As a result of their research, Whitmore and Maker make several recommendations to educational professionals: (a) the development and communication of realistic high expectations for accomplishments; (b) the use of caution in expecting language skills to be an indicator of giftedness; (c) the development of problem solving approaches to educational concerns; (d) counseling of giftedhandicapped individuals; and (e) the instruction of coping strategies to those who are dually labeled. Whitmore and Maker (1985) are to be commended for their interest and belief in the first hand experiences of disabled people who are also gifted. My study extends that interest and respect to those who work daily with this special population, the teachers. The Importance of Teachers' Knowledge and Perspectives  The work of Sternberg, Conway, Ketron and Bernstein (1981), lends support to the critical importance of investigating the conceptions of not only the experts, but also those of the lay person. They designed three experiments to uncover the two groups' conceptions of intelligence; their work not only respects the ideas of lay persons, but also sheds some light upon lay persons' understandings of intelligence which, of course, play an important role in the broader concept of giftedness. Sternberg et al's studies on intelligence (1981) were in fact important precursors to Sternberg and Davisdon's (1986) more recent publication on conceptions of giftedness. Sternberg's (1981) work and findings related to laypeople's conceptions of intelligence are discussed briefly in this section of Chapter 2; his work on conceptions of giftedness is used in Chapter 6 of my study to provide the background for a comparison to the teachers' own conceptions of giftedness which make up part of the findings of my investigation.  46 Making a distinction between explicit and implicit theories, Sternberg et al.,(1981) suggest that the former "are constructions of psychologists or other scientists that are based or at least tested on data collected from people performing tasks presumed to measure intelligent functioning" (p. 37). Implicit theories on the other hand are constructions of people that "reside in the minds of these individuals and need to be discovered because they already exist, in some form in peoples' heads...the data of interest are peoples' communications (in whatever form) regarding their notions as to the nature of intelligence" (p. 38). In Chapter 1 I have already suggested that teachers will make important classroom decisions based on their perspectives of giftedness which are brought into play as they interact with students. Sternberg et al.,(1981) claim that implicit theories of laypersons are interesting because of the importance of the concepts in our society and because these theories do two things: the meanings people hold serve important functions in determining decisions related to practice and in addition "they may suggest aspects of intelligent (or gifted) behavior that need to be understood but are overlooked in (the explicit theories)..." (p. 38). Stating that the opinions and ideas of lay persons are often overlooked, Sternberg et al. go on to note how often assessments of people's intelligence is made in the course of interviews and informal social interactions and that these evaluations are often valued or trusted by even the experts! Before describing briefly the experiments and findings of the Sternberg et al (1981),  it is worthwhile noting their reference to the work of Neiser (1979) and his conceptualization of the use of a prototype in understanding people's ideas of intelligence. I mentioned in Chapter 1 that perhaps the most intriguing statement I heard teachers make throughout my research was: "Well, I don't know what giftedness is, but Jenny is definitely gifted." The following quote from Neisser, (cited in Sternberg et al.,  1981, p. 39) though written in terms of intelligence, may also apply directly to giftedness  47 and illustrates the resemblance between what a teacher might see embodied in the student in front of her and what a teacher might hold as an imagined prototype.  Intelligent person is a prototype-organized concept. Our confidence that a person deserves to be called "intelligent" depends on that person's overall similarity to an imagined prototype, just as our confidence that some object is to be called "chair" depends on its similarity to prototypical chairs. There are no definitive criteria for intelligence, just as there are none for chairness; it is a fuzzy-edged concept to which many features are relevant. Two people may be quite intelligent and yet have very few traits in common—they resemble the prototype along different dimensions. Thus, there is no such quality as intelligence , any more than there is such a thing as chairness —resemblance is an external fact and not an internal essence. There can be no process-based definition of intelligence because it is not a unitary quality. It is a resemblance between two individuals, one real and the other prototypical. (p. 185) Sternberg et al. (1981) conducted three experiments. In the first they asked people in a train station, entering a supermarket and studying in a college library to list behavior characteristics of either intelligence, academic intelligence, or every day intelligence, then were asked to rate their own intelligence. In the second experiment laypersons and experts were asked to provide various kinds of ratings of the behaviors obtained in the first experiment; in the third experiment laypersons selected at random in a New Haven area phone book were asked to rate the intelligence of various fictitious people who were characterized in terms of different mixes of behaviors listed by subjects in the first experiments. Findings which are important for providing important background information to this study are of two kinds: those which compare the ratings of laypeople and experts and those which describe aspects of intelligence. Sternberg et al. (1981) made the following conclusions in terms of people's' understandings of intelligence: 1.  People appear to have organized conceptions of intelligence but if it is to be  understood in terms of prototypes then there appears to be more than one prototype. People have somewhat different conceptions of the meanings of intelligence, academic intelligence and every day intelligence. 2.  Experts and lay persons do appear to have prototypes corresponding to  different kinds of intelligence and these "are very similar but not identical".  48 3.  People use their implicit theories of intelligence in evaluating the intelligence  of others and of themselves and these implicit theories of experts and laypersons are similar enough so that it makes little difference which is used in predictions. 4.  The results of Sternberg et al.'s (1981) research find that both experts and  laypersons agree that intelligence appears to include at least four kinds of behavior: "problem solving, verbal facility, social competence and possibly motivation" (p. 54). Having noted that Sternberg and colleagues respect and value the interpretations and ideas of lay persons as they contribute to a clearer understanding of concepts which often form the guidelines which govern interactions in our society, it is also important to extend this notion directly into classrooms and to focus directly on the teachers' ideas about students who might be called gifted. Duckworth (1991a) expresses the researcher (expert) and teacher (layperson) relationship eloquently in response to the question: "You view teacher knowledge, then, with respect?" (p. 34) Yes! The main thing wrong with the world of education is that there's this one group of people who do it-the teachers-and then there's another group who think they know about it-the researchers. The group who think they know about teaching try to find out more about it in order to tell the teachers about teaching-and that is total reversal. Teachers are the ones who do it and, therefore, are the ones who know about it. It's worth getting teachers to build on what they know, to build on what questions they have, because that's what matters-what teachers know and what questions teachers have. And so anybody who wants to be a helpful researcher should value what the teachers know and help them develop that. (Duckworth, 1991a, p.34). The creatively simple writings of Duckworth, (1972, 1979, 1991a, 1991b) illustrate several other important principles that are supportive of the importance of teachers' ways of learning and of knowing in the context of everyday experiences and environments. Her views encompass several important principles of teaching and learning. One is that people come to learn and understand when they struggle with something that is important to them and that they want to know more about. Solving real problems in real life situations creates an atmosphere for the development of, rather than the receiving of, new learnings. The teachers in this study are constantly in these kinds of situations, attempting on a daily  49 basis to meet the needs of the students with whom they interact. A second principle has to do with ownership of ideas. Duckworth insists that teachers have a vast amount of knowledge and that " nobody else knows what the teachers know"(1991a p.33). Teachers often feel that their knowledge is "probably wrong" but Duckworth emphasizes the importance of individual perspectives. She gives as an example her own learning experiences with a group of other adults trying to uncover meanings of a certain subject in common. Her new learning happened because it was meaningful to her and her mind was engaged and because each of her own ideas was recognized to be "a wonderful one" (Duckworth, 1972). Hawkins (cited in Duckworth, 1972, p.224) suggests that teachers don't want to cover a subject, they want to uncover it. She explains that she was able to "find out about" something because she was able to see her own confusions and those of the others in the group. She was also able to see that when each individual contributed their own ideas, "you notice all kinds of things which keep leading to deeper understandings" (1991, p.32). These new understandings keep changing; "six months later you've made new connections and are ready for new understandings" (1991, p30). I, too, believe that the teachers' points of view, or perspectives, are of critical importance if we are to come to some understanding of what is happening in classrooms, of whether or not gifted students are being identified or whether or not their needs are being met. In spite of the need to hear the teachers' voices, there is no research which allows us to do that. According to Erickson (1985), this is not unusual, for in terms of research paradigms, the quantitative one has been paramount. As Duckworth too has suggested, questions about peoples' life-worlds and their experiences in a real life context are often overlooked. Erickson suggests that people who hold and share meaning perspectives are often in positions of powerlessness. Their meaning perspectives are also "often held outside conscious awareness ...and thus are not explicitly articulated" (p. 125 ). If only given an opportunity to describe these experiences, teachers may come to a better understanding of their worlds.  50 The classroom is an interactive and dynamic social structure. It is "open, nonlinear, unpredictable and complex "(Heshusius, 1982, p. 11). Teachers' decision making in the classroom is critically important; teachers "teach in a prescriptive, doing environment... a what-ought-to-be-done environment"(Connelly & Elbaz, 1980 p. 111). They must use `imagination, judgment, dedicated attention and house sense in daily, sensitive responsible classroom practice"(Heshusius, 1982, p. 12). In order to act in this environment, the teacher must rely on a knowledge base which must be far more than the content of course work prescribed and ingested in any teacher preparation program. In any pedagogical encounter, there are principles and values at work (Soltis, 1984, p. 8). Connelly and Elbaz (1980) describe what they term the teacher's "personal practical knowledge" in the following way... Substantively, the content of the teachers practical knowledge is easily cataloged. There is a knowledge of subject matter, students, milieu of schooling, development and organization of curriculum materials, instructional procedures and self. The latter is often overlooked when one's perspective is not practical. But when the teacher's point of view is adopted, personal goals, beliefs, talents and shortcomings come to the fore. These matters affect the teacher's curriculum planning and teaching (p. 112). Connelly and Elbaz (1980) go on to present five orientations of teachers' knowledge: to situations, to theory, to others (social), to self (personal) and to experience. The situational orientation makes evident the fact that teachers work within the context of specific situations. Teachers also shape their work by having some view of theory. This may range from outright rejection, viewing oneself as a pragmatist working by trial and error, to deliberate single minded application of a particular theory. Social conditions and constraints also shape the teacher's knowledge. The orientation to self, as described by Connelly and Elbaz (1980), reveals the need to recognize the existence of multiple realities. Every encounter between teacher and student reveals their divergent perceptions of their common situation, their attention to different aspects of their situation and their different interpretations of the situation. Their points of view and the interpretations which they produce, reflect a personal need to integrate, order and render meaningful one's experience. The teacher's  51 personal orientation rests not only on intellectual belief, but also on perception, feeling, values, purposes and commitment. (p. 116) Working in conjunction with this orientation is that of experience, where the teachers' knowledge is drawn from their daily interactions, gives shape to their world and allows them to function in it. These experiences are manifested in what Schutz (1973) call "knowledge at hand" (p. 7). Knowledge itself, however, appears to have two faces; that which is "on call" and thus in teachers' awareness and that which is hidden. This hidden knowledge may be remote, or difficult to recognize or to use and teachers are not often aware of what or of how they know in any explicit way. "...Just as sugar sweetens the tea but is lost from sight and recall, the modes of knowing 'sweeten' one's personal knowledge while disappearing from sight"(Connelly & Clandinin, 1985, p.183). This hidden knowledge is not "on call". Instead, as we know from our daily doings, we "do our damnedest" as needed in situations (Connelly & Clandinin, 1985, p. 183). Teacher's personal practical knowledge is, however, readily available to be recognized and used. It is experiential, embodied and reconstructed out of the narratives of a user's life. The knowledge that a teacher has gives rise to different perspectives. A perspective may be seen as a ...point of view, placing observers at various angles in relation to events and influencing them to see these events from these angles. By its very nature, then, a point of view, or perspective, limits what the observer sees by allowing only one side of what is "out there" to be seen. (Charon, 1985, p. 3) These perspectives sensitize people to parts of the physical reality, they desensitize them to others and help the individual to make sense of the world around them. "This does not mean that, in daily life or in science, we are unable to grasp the reality of the world. It just means that we grasp merely certain aspects of it, namely those which are relevant to us... for carrying on our business of living" (Schutz, 1973, p. 5).  52 In spite of a recognition that there is a multiplicity of perspectives, each one as valid and meaningful as the next, we must also be aware of the commonalities of shared meanings and shared experiences. There is shared meaning in any pedagogical encounter (Soltis, 1984) and it is this sphere of commonality (Polkinghorne, 1983) which allows for communication of ideas and which is the essence of any encounter (Van Manen, 1990). Schutz (1973) talks about "the individual's common-sense knowledge of the world being a system of constructs of its typicality" (p. 7). Schutz (1973) illustrates this idea by talking about the concept of "dog." Schutz could see his Irish setter, Rover, as an exemplar of the general classification of "dog" because his dog has all those characteristics which allow him to be categorized in that way. He does not need to see his dog in that way, however. He is not concerned with exactly what Rover has in common with all other dogs. He sees Rover as a friend, a companion, of a certain color, shape and size with individual personality characteristics and these, to Schutz are the most important aspects . In a more general way Schutz (1973) says that any typified object, S, encompasses many different aspects, three of which could be labeled p, q and r. S is not merely p, but also q and r. If I say that S is p, then "under the prevailing circumstances I am interested in the p—being of S, disregarding as not relevant its being also q and r" (p. 9). This idea seems to me to be critical when we are talking about giftedness. The ambiguities of the term gifted do not allow us this clarity of perception when the term is used. In interviewing teachers, however, my main concern was with trying to delineate the "q's and `r's," those features which are critical to an understanding of both the idiosyncratic and the shared aspects of giftedness. There is, as Schutz says, a "reciprocity of perspectives" (p. 11), one which is socialized and intersubjective. Teachers of the deaf share understandings and beliefs; they are members of an "in-group" (Schutz, 1973, p. 13) and as members, come to terms with certain accepted behaviors and standards of  53 meaning. This allows them to make "of-course" statements, believed to be valid by the in-group in spite of their inconsistencies. (Schutz, 1973, p. 13). The key to these shared meanings is the use , or the misuse, of language and awareness of the position that language is socially constructed. It is our linguistic system which facilitates, or inhibits, understanding and interaction. Categorization and labeling are examples of this phenomenon. Young, (1971, in Lincoln & Guba, 1985) suggests that researchers should... treat as problematic the dominant legitimizing categories of educators and should view them as constructed realities which are realized in particular institutional contexts...Existing categories that for parents, teachers, children and many researchers distinguish home from school, learning from play, academic from non-academic and able or bright from dull and stupid must be conceived as socially constructed, with some in a position to impose their construction or meaning on others. (p. 78). Whether these categories develop out of need, or out of a need to impose certain beliefs, the "named thing is significant enough to provide a separate term for it" (Schutz, 1973, p. 14). At any one time and for any one person, however, the knowledge associated with the linguistic label such as giftedness will "manifest degrees of clarity, distinctness, precision and familiarity" depending upon the person's experience with the concept (Schutz, 1973, p. 14). Language becomes the medium through which a person's perspectives can be shared and through which meaning can be interpreted. The process of interviewing can draw out the narrative account of the teacher's experience; and the interpretation of text will help discover the structures by which teachers order their teaching worlds.  Summary This chapter has provided a review of issues in deafness which are pertinent to the focus of this study and which illustrate the complexities that the impact of hearing loss has on students and on their interactions with their worlds. This chapter has also provided the reader with a review of the literature which placed in context the questions for this  54 research. Hoge's (1989) review of the ambiguities and complexities inherent in the giftedness construct emphasized the need to discover the teachers' meanings of the term, in order to understand better if and how particular students came to be identified and how programs may or may not be meeting their needs. How teachers understand giftedness, in turn, shapes interactions in classrooms. The literature on gifted-handicapped students illustrated the relatively recent directions which have brought into focus their special needs and abilities. It was suggested both in this chapter and in Chapter 1, that results of studies on the "handicapped-gifted" as a group may or may not be directly applicable to persons with hearing losses. The scant literature on students who have hearing losses and who are also gifted, allows the reader to see that these students have also begun to be recognized and their special needs are, in some cases, being realized. There is, however, no research that investigates students who have hearing losses and who are also gifted, in the context of their daily lives in classrooms. Although teachers are responsible for helping students reach their potential, their views have never been solicited. In the final part of Chapter 2, Sternberg's research on conceptions held by lay people and literature reflects the importance of perspectives and teachers ways of knowing. The work of Connelly & Clandinin (1985) and that of Duckworth (1972, 1979, 1991a, 1991b) continue to emphasize the importance of teachers' knowledge in classrooms, both in their roles as educators and as learners themselves. This work provides support for the research question: what are the perspectives of giftedness among teachers who work with Deaf and hard of hearing students and how do these perspectives come to be formed? The next chapter provides the methodological framework which was used to answer the question.  55 Chapter 3  FRAMEWORK FOR THE INQUIRY—METHODOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE  The qualitative, human science research approach (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992; Eisner, 1981; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Patton, 1990; Smith & Heshusius, 1986; Smith, 1983; Van Manen, 1990) has been chosen for this study because the basic philosophical belief system that underlies this approach offers congruency between my own personal belief system and the research perspective. This is the only approach that can tap directly into the first hand experiences of the teachers as they know them and that will allow insight into their personal perspectives. The following themes support the finding of answers to the research questions, underlie all qualitative inquiry and form the basis for this research. 1.  Qualitative research is contextualized, inasmuch as individuals are seen as co-  constituting the world, having active and interactive rather than passive relationships with their environments (Osborne, 1990; Valle & King, 1978). 2.  Understanding becomes the focus for research (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992;  Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Osborne, 1990; Valle & King, 1978). The Verstehen approach is an attempt to achieve a sense of meaning that others have given to their own situations... something which is possible if one possesses a degree of empathy with the other (Smith, 1983). 3.^Qualitative research follows the tradition of descriptive science, not explanatory science (Giorgi, 1989). It depends almost exclusively on the power of language for communication and therefore transcription is its main technique. The aim is to capture a detailed thick description of the phenomenon under investigation and to use direct quotations in order to capture the people's personal perspectives and experiences (Patton, 1990).  56 4.^Qualitative research pays attention to the human consciousness, the subjective experience, (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992; Giorgi, 1970; Osborne, 1990) and it is this consciousness which shapes interaction with the world (Valle & King, 1978). Both the participant and the researcher play important roles: behavior cannot be understood without knowing how it is perceived and interpreted by the participant and the researcher's personal experiences and insights are an important part of the inquiry and critical to understanding the phenomenon (Patton, 1990). The qualitative interview then becomes one of the most creative ways of illuminating meaning. Basic to the framework for this inquiry is the position that reality is socially constructed (Berger & Luckmann, 1967). A story is told about Jocko Conlon, a National League umpire, who, when trying to define criteria for calling a given pitch a ball or strike, finally declared, "They ain't nothin' til I calls 'em." (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p. 70) Social reality is a construction based upon the participant's frame of reference within the setting, based upon what we have determined to be the participant's perspective. Schutz (1967) suggests that reality as an artifact is too difficult to explain unless rooted in the meanings that are constructed and attached to everyday life by individuals. To operate comfortably with the proposition that people construct reality, means essentially that we can allow truth to reside inside our heads as much as "out there." Researchers in a variety of disciplines in the social sciences have been and are grappling with the social constructivist approaches, wherein each contribution of each individual in the context of the creation of a reality is recognized. These individual realities overlap on one another, simply because many of them are an effort to deal with the same putative phenomenon, but they differ in meanings that are attached to the phenomenon and in the sense making in which each actor engages in order to keep his or her world whole and seamless (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p. 70). People reading the works of Carlos Castenada (1972) for example, will have different reactions to the written words. "What are we to believe about these writings? One person's reality will undoubtedly be another's mystical allegory and still another's  57 hogwash" (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p. 75). Events and situations are theoretically open to as many constructions as there are persons engaged in them, or as many reconstructions by a single individual as imagination allows (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). This acceptance of multiple realities is essential to naturalistic inquiry.(Osborne, 1990). The underlying assumption for the researcher then, is that it is possible to discover the motives and meanings of other persons through our connections with them, through their words as they communicate with us and through our knowledge of our own words and actions as we see them reflected in others. This perspective is at the heart of a qualitative, descriptive, interpretive and naturalistic approach to research (Colaizzi, 1978; Giorgi, 1970; Guba, 1981; Stainback & Stainback, 1984; Willams & Alexander, 1982). The writings of Ference Marton (1981a, 1981b, 1982a, 1982b, 1982c, 1988) and his description of phenomenography, draw our attention to "first-order and second-order" perspectives, which are reflected by the way in which we ask the research question. Had I accepted the first order perspective for this research, my question could have been: "what is giftedness among students who have hearing losses?". The research question for this study, however, is a question of the second-order: "What do you think about what giftedness is among students with impaired hearing?". An answer to this kind of question, is, as Marton says, "a statement about people's conceptions of reality" (1981a, p.178). It dictates that the researcher "look at the relationship between human beings and the world around them, focusing on the perception itself. For Marton, perception falls between human beings and the world around them." (Fetterman, 1988. p. 21). In the first and by far the most commonly adopted perspective, we orient ourselves toward the world and make statements about it. In the second perspective, we orient ourselves towards people's ideas about the world (or their experience of it) and we make statements about people's ideas about the world (or their experience of it.) (Marton, 1981a, p. 178).  58 The purpose of the second-order orientation in phenomenography is to find and to systematize forms of thought in which people interpret significant aspects of reality, aspects which are socially significant and which are shared (Marton, 1981a, p.180). Marton (1981a) provides two strong rationales for formulating questions which investigate this second-order perspective. The first is that "we consider that to find out the different ways in which people experience, interpret, understand, apprehend, perceive or conceptualize various aspects of reality is sufficiently interesting in itself, not least because of the pedagogical potentiality and necessity of the field of knowledge to be formed" (p. 178). Teachers of gifted students are constantly making decisions about what happens in the teaching/learning situation and yet they have never been asked about what their ideas or conceptions of giftedness are. The second reason for arguing in favor of these kinds of questions is that ...the descriptions we arrive at from the second-order perspective are autonomous in the sense that they cannot be derived from descriptions arrived at from the first-order perspective. This means that if we are interested people think about school success, then we have to investigate this very problem because the answer cannot be derived either from what we know... about the general properties of the human mind, or from what we know about the school system, or even from the combination of what we know about both (Marton, 1981a, p. 179). In terms of this research, we cannot find out about what teachers think about giftedness by our knowledge of what the literature says about giftedness, or by any insights into the real-life experiences of students who are gifted. In point of fact, our knowledge in these areas is extremely limited anyway, because there is very little research about giftedness among students with hearing loss. The phenomenography of giftedness then, would "refer to anything that can be said about how people perceive, experience and conceptualize (giftedness)." (Marton, p. 181). This research deals with both the conceptual and the experiential, as well with what is thought of as that which is lived. We would also deal with what is culturally learned and with what are individually developed ways of relating ourselves to the world around us  59 (p. 181). This research asks about the different conceptions that people have, as much as it asks about the commonness of the perspectives. Much of Marton's work in phenomenography is discussed as it relates to the process and the content of learning. It is worthwhile to quote directly from a section in which he talks about our knowledge of the content of learning. I have substituted the word gifted for learning and teachers for students, because this statement seems to fit this research so well. If we think of giftedness in terms of what is in the teachers' minds rather than of what is in the textbook, it clearly seems preferable that giftedness should be described from a second-order (or experiential) perspective. This view is based on the argument that the question of giftedness does not necessarily concern the correct meaning of the (word), ...but rather the meaning the teachers put into (it)...Whatever an individual feels that he knows contributes to his actions, beliefs, attitudes, modes of experiencing etc. ...the conceptions held by the teachers - as a rule - differ from those which the author of a trying to make teachers acquire or construct...if we accept the thesis that it is of interest to know about the possible alternative conceptions teachers may have of the phenomena or the aspects present in, related to or underlying the subject matter of their study, it is these questions specifically which we must investigate (Marton, 1981a, p. 183). As Marton (1981a) points out, all attempts to change understanding of something "must, of necessity, take their starting-point from how this 'something' is constituted"(p.179). This exploratory study takes as its point of departure the particular understandings of the teachers and focuses on their perspectives of giftedness. This research pays attention to teachers' "subjectively reasonable beliefs" (Larsson, 1987) and investigates their common-sense understandings of the phenomenon of giftedness. In summary, the methodology emphasizes the insiders', the teachers', perspectives. The research methods reflect the underlying principles of a descriptive exploratory approach by: (a) using interviews as the main sources of data; (b) recognizing the ongoing dynamic nature of reality; (c) being concerned with process; (d) attempting to gain a holistic perspective; and (e) using research procedures which are flexible, exploratory and discovery oriented. The following section describes in detail the methods used for this research.  60  Methods Background to the study—A personal perspective. As a researcher, my interests, my values and my experiences were in fact, the source of motivation for this study. Rather than attempting to isolate myself from the ongoing process of "re-searching", (Polkinghorne, 1983), I addressed my experiences directly so that my own perspective could be clarified. The following aspects of my personal background impacted upon how the research problem was viewed, how the interviews were conducted and how the data were finally analyzed and how this final writing was constructed. I have been a classroom teacher of deaf and Hard of Hearing children for approximately eight years, having worked with preschool and elementary children for seven years and with high school students for one year. I have taught these students in both auditory-oral and total communication settings and in residential, day school and preschool environments. This background served to give me an opportunity to establish rapport with the teachers involved and to develop an empathic understanding of the experiences shared during the interview and to recognize and make sense of the meanings which will be brought to light in their narratives. In addition to practical experience in the classrooms of the schools, I have been actively involved in teacher education for over 13 years in the University setting. As part of my responsibilities I have done many hours of supervision of student teachers in classrooms. During the past few years, I have become increasingly fascinated by the work that teachers do with hard of hearing and Deaf students. I have developed a sense that teachers are constantly trying to do the very best that they can; they are trying to understand children so that they can assist them with their learning. At the same time they are attempting to find balances between their needs to control learning situations and their wishes to develop independent learning skills in students. I myself am constantly dealing  61 with these issues at the university level of teaching. Knowing and understanding students is a challenge. I also get a strong sense that teachers are interested in learning more about themselves as they interact in the classrooms, that they are wanting to be able to have time to reflect on what they are doing. Their schedules are so busy and involved, however, that time does not usually permit this type of self-learning. A focus on "the reflective practitioner" (Schon, 1983) is becoming a pervasive one within the university setting and the collaboration between researcher and teacher can provide opportunities for this reflection. I recognized that the interviews for this research would allow the teachers an opportunity to reflect on what they thought about their gifted students and of what they thought about giftedness. Over the past several years, as my interest in gifted students has increased, I have been amazed at the responses that I encounter as I speak with teachers about giftedness. Responses are immediate and enthusiastic regarding students they have known and stories abound. Topics center on the behaviors of these students, their abilities to learn, their personalities, their learning environments and the experiences teachers have shared with their students. In contrast, if I have informally asked these teachers what they mean by gifted, their responses are hesitant, self-deprecating and lacking confidence. In one case a teacher reacted strongly: "Don't try to get me to define that, I wouldn't even try!" (telephone conversation, November 23, 1988) My first and more formal contact with giftedness began in 1985 when my colleague, Carolyn Yewchuk and I obtained funding to identify gifted hard of hearing and Deaf children in the Edmonton school system. Research on handicapped gifted students was in its formative stages and very little had been done in this area. This project first brought to my awareness the difficulties involved in defining the term gifted and the confusion that existed among teachers when asked about the term itself. At the same time, I was impressed with the accuracy of the teachers' nominations (Bibby & Yewchuk, 1986) and,  62 in many cases, the certainty with which most of the nominations were made by the teachers. This work is discussed at length in Chapter Two. I also became much more interested in the existing literature relating to this field . Our study dealt mainly with the process of identifying Deaf and hard of hearing students who were also gifted. We did not focus on the characteristics of these students, or on their individual learning needs, nor did we go into depth about why these students had been nominated in the first place. Although the Renzulli Scales were used and therefore allowed for identification across a broad range of characteristics (e.g., leadership, communication etc.), we did in fact focus on those students whose IQ scores fell at or above the 90th percentile. The whole procedure seemed to me to be somewhat problematic. The teachers spent a great deal of time filling out the nomination forms; Carolyn and I spent a great deal of time having the students tested. Some students whose scores fell well below the 90th percentile were nominated as being gifted; others whose scores fell above the 99th percentile were not seen to be gifted. Some students were achieving very well in school; others were not. The issue of language, reading and communication arose repeatedly. By the end of our study, I was pleased with the insights we had gained into the identification process and at the same time was bothered by the many unanswered questions that had surfaced throughout the study. At that time I wondered, for example, if we really needed to go to such great lengths to identify those students who were gifted. I also was very curious as to who these students really were, and if their needs were being met. Perhaps one of the most interesting discoveries during this period was that although several programs for gifted Deaf and hard of hearing children already existed in the United States, nothing had been developed in Canada. I had opportunities at conferences to talk with teachers across Canada and apart from individual teachers who were trying to provide extra programming for these students on their own, these gifted students were virtually ignored within the system.  63 My own personal belief regarding the education of any student, is that their individual needs must drive programming considerations. There seems to be a wellrecognized tendency in our field for teachers to underestimate students' abilities (Rodda & Grove, 1987). In contrast, I also believe in the teachers' abilities to meet the needs of their students. Upon reflection, I realized that I was feeling the need to impose ideas about special programming without first having sought the opinions of the teachers with whom they worked. I began to wonder how teachers perceived these students. For students who were in integrated settings and keeping up with hearing peers, I began to wonder if the placement itself was providing the challenge. Or did these students have to work so hard to keep up that they did not have energy to spend on developing their areas of giftedness? How were the students in Schools for the Deaf being challenged? Slowly there emerged an awareness that these students were unique. The literature had always included hard of hearing and Deaf students in chapters on "the handicapped gifted" population, but was this in fact an accurate portrayal of these students? I realized that talking directly to teachers about their experiences would help shed some light on these perplexing issues. My initial research with Carolyn, identifying gifted Deaf and hard of hearing students, provided me with the questions that have driven this dissertation. I deliberately chose to discover the perspectives of teachers in terms of the meaning they attach to giftedness. I believed this to be the crucial starting point. As I began this study, it was with a strong sense of confusion about who the gifted Deaf and hard of hearing students really were. Interestingly, I did not recall ever having worked with a student who was labeled gifted. Since my own school teaching experience all took place before 1980, this may not be surprising; the focus in special education had only just turned to students with handicaps who were also gifted. I did not remember vividly, however, working with students who were very bright and who stood out among their peers. I had seen students who I would have called gifted in art; I knew two students  64 who were achieving high marks at university, one in law and one in engineering. Two things appeared to be missing for me, however. One was that I had never knowingly had first hand teaching experiences with a 'gifted' Deaf or hard of hearing student. The second was that the literature on gifted hearing students, although helpful in terms of knowing more about giftedness in general, did not seem to fit with my understandings of hard of hearing and Deaf students in any meaningful way. So, I turned to the teachers in the field for enlightenment. Participant selection.  According to Becker, (1986) the most basic qualification for research participation is that the participant have "salient experiences of the phenomenon in their everyday worlds" (p. 105). All teachers who participated in this study had direct teaching experiences with those students whom they considered to be gifted and all were able to share a variety of their experiences and stories in a meaningful way. There appears to be great diversity in the kinds of participants researchers choose for their projects. Some prefer their samples to be as homogeneous as possible (Becker, 1986), while others (Wertz, 1984), have found that contrasting groups of participants or diverse single subjects are productive in arriving at understandings of the phenomenon under investigation. My selection of participants was based upon the assumption that diversity in experience would allow for the greatest differences in perspectives and would therefore allow for a greater understanding of what giftedness means. This diversity was accounted for in three ways: (a) The teachers work in a variety of different educational settings and the 12 participants in this study represent all of those settings; (b) the teachers work with different ages of students and all ages are represented and (c) the communication abilities of the teachers in this study are representative of each of the different methods of communication that are used with Deaf and hard of hearing students. The participants in this investigation were teachers of hard of hearing and Deaf children who were selected based on the following criteria:  65 * They were trained teachers of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. * They had worked with a student or students they thought to be gifted. * They were interested in talking about their perspectives. * They were willing to participate fully in the research process. Access to the participants was facilitated in part because of my professional relationship with teachers across Canada. My research interests and my own work allow me to maintain contact with schools and teachers. In most cases, I contacted the educational setting and asked that interested teachers contact me to participate in my research. Those in my home town were better known to me than those in other cities, though, except for two, I had met all the teachers before. In the qualitative tradition, terms such as co-researcher or participant are preferred in order to emphasize the cooperative and voluntary nature of the research (Osborne, 1990). The participants were fully informed as to the nature of the research and the atmosphere was governed by a feeling of mutual respect and shared interest. My own experiences as a teacher working with Deaf and hard of hearing students and my long hours of observing classrooms and teachers in action increased my ability to listen empathically. The teachers, three men and nine women, taught in four different Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia. Of these 12 teachers, two participated as well in the pilot study which is discussed at the end of this chapter. These two teachers had been re-interviewed for this study because of their educational roles in the schools. They came from settings not represented by the other 10 teachers. All except one of the teachers was in the 35 - 60 year old age bracket and their teaching experience with Deaf and hard of hearing students ranged from 6 to 35 years. Some teachers also had experience working with hearing students. Three teachers were parents of Deaf or hard of hearing children and two teachers were themselves Deaf. This information is summarized in Table 1.  Table 1 Teachers' Background Teaching Experiences Years of teaching  School settings^Communication mode  Name  Hearing^Hearing Impaired  Heidi  35  6  *  Ken  21  1  *  Ted  18  0  *  Laura  16  0  *  Liz  15  5  Richard  15  0  Heather  15  0  Andrea  14  0  Naomi  13  1  Hilary  12  4  Elizabeth  10  4  Tina  6  3  School for deaf^Integrated^Itinerant  *  Oral  Sign  0-3^4-6^7-12^13-18  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * *  *  * *  * *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * *  * *  *  *  *  *  *  * *  *  *  *  *  * *  *  *  *  * *  *  * *  *  Age of students  *  *  *  Note: Three teachers are parents of Deaf hard of hearing students. Two teachers are deaf. With the exception of Tina who was between 20-35, all the teachers were between 35 and 60 years of age.  67  In talking about the number of participants used in qualitative studies, Wertz (1984) suggests that the researcher needs as many as it takes to illuminate the phenomenon. Some use one, as in a case-study phenomenological approach. Others use five or less; others prefer in-depth interviews with up to ten while others have used fifty (Becker, 1986). The decision making process is complex but may be guided by the following criteria. Can the goals of the research be accomplished using this number of participants? Is the quality of the interview data good enough to provide a "sense of substantiality" in providing a view of differing aspects of the phenomenon? In the proposal for this study, I stated that "often the difficulty has not been in getting enough data, but in knowing when to stop." This was indeed the case. After the interview with the second teacher, I realized that some issues and perspectives were repeating themselves. At the same time, new ones emerged. Each teacher shared personal insights and stories in different meaningful ways. Even after the last interview, I was still learning. I decided to stop gathering more data when I felt that diversity had been achieved and a solid data base had been established. This is not to say, however, that new teachers and new contexts cannot provide further insights. Research and understanding, is ongoing. This project is only a beginning. Data sources—The interview The notion of method is charged with methodological considerations and implications of a particular philosophical or epistemological perspective... the concept of interview is charged with the reality assumptions, truth criteria and the general goals of the disciplined methodology within which the interview functions (Van Manen, 1990, p. 28). The interview is often used as the primary strategy in answering qualitative research questions that are best answered within the qualitative perspective (Osborne, 1990; Patton, 1990; Van Manen, 1990). The interview is the primary source of data for obtaining a "second-order perspective" (Marton, 1988). The interview serves two very specific purposes:  68 (1) it may be used as a means for exploring and gathering experiential narrative material that may serve as a resource for developing a richer and deeper understanding of a human phenomenon and (2), the interview may be used as a vehicle to develop a conversational relation with a partner (interviewee) about the meaning of an experience." (Van Manen,1990, p. 66). According to Marton (1988, 1981a) it is used to find diversity in people's conceptions of a phenomenon. The interview process has been discussed by many researchers (Becker, 1986; Denzin, 1978; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; McCracken, 1986; Mishler, 1986; Osborne, 1990; Patton, 1980; Spradley, 1979). The interview structure can be viewed as falling along a continuum, from standardized to unstandardized (Berg 1989) or from focused to openended (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992). The more highly structured interview, in its most standardized form, can be conceived of as using a questionnaire type format, where all interviewees are asked to respond to the same questions. Implied in this format is that the researcher has knowledge of and control over the areas for investigation. A more openended interview allows the participant to expand on whatever is meaningful to the research from his or her own frame of reference. The interviews for this research were semi-structured (Berg, 1989; Patton, 1990). I developed an interview protocol to guide the process, but encouraged digression and expansion within the framework of the study. Van Manen (1990) discusses the importance of realizing that the interview process must be disciplined by the "fundamental question that prompted the need for the interview in the first place" (p. 66). We did not spend much time discussing things unrelated to the topic of giftedness, but within those boundaries the interview remained open-ended and non-directive. During each interview, I was made aware of the impact of the questions on the participant; some questions were seen to be irrelevant, some were changed in form to allow for easier communication and sometimes new questions were added. The research need to obtain as many ideas as possible and my personal need to understand the participant's meaning, guided the interview.  69 In all cases, after the opening question, the participant controlled the direction of the interview. I came to understand the critical importance of empathic listening, using openended questions and probes and making non-judgmental statements. Because of my own experiences as a classroom teacher, I was able to ensure that the questions were formulated in ways which were familiar to the participants. We shared common experiences and therefore, a common language which allowed for clearer communication. The questions which served to guide the interviews are presented in Appendix A. Interview length and procedure The data were collected over a period of two and a half years. For two of the participants, the time between the first and second interviews was two years. These two teachers had been interviewed previously in the pilot study and were re-interviewed because they worked in settings that were different from the other teachers. In retrospect, this time lapse proved to be a very positive one in light of the research findings because it illustrated how one teacher's original perspectives had changed. This rather serendipitous event shed more light on yet another dimension of the teachers' understandings of giftedness. The time between the first and second interviews for the remaining participants was between two weeks and two months. The interviews were approximately one to one and a half hours in length; this appeared to be a length that was comfortable for both myself and the interviewee. The interview concluded when each of us felt that we had exhausted the possibilities for discussion at that time. Prior to the first interview, about 15 minutes were spent in establishing rapport, informing the participant about the nature of the research, obtaining biographical information and gaining the consent in written form. The tape recorder was turned on for the main phase of the interview. Each participant was aware that I would be making contact again for a review of the manuscript and for clarification and additions. After the  70  interview was transcribed, a copy was sent to the teacher so that she/he could have time to read and reflect on what said before the next meeting. The second interview gave the researcher and the participants an opportunity to check for accuracy, clarify meanings and to add to the ideas that emerged during and after the main interview. Because of distance and traveling difficulties, three of the participants did not participate in a second interview. These three participants responded in writing to the initial transcript. Three teachers were interviewed again after the dissertation had been written and they had an opportunity to read their own words and their stories of the students, as well as my interpretations of them. For the hearing teachers, the interviews were audiotape recorded. With the deaf teachers, an interpreter was used and the interview was video-recorded as well. Following the interview, a transcription was made of what the interpreter had said; the typist listened to the audio portion of the interview in order to do the word-for-word transcription. Later, with the initial transcript in hand, I then sat down with a second sign language interpreter who viewed the initial interview on videotape and re-interpreted it in into the audio tape recorder. This provided a second transcription of the original signed communication. I compared the first transcription with what the second sign language interpreter was saying and if there appeared to be discrepancies, we immediately stopped the videotape and re-ran it to check for further understanding and clarification. The interpreters were informed beforehand about the nature of the research, the purpose of the interviews and the kinds of questions that would be asked. Licensed and experienced interpreters were used so that original meanings in English (researcher) and in American Sign Language or English (participant) were kept intact. It is important to realize , however, that any indirect communication such as that which happens when interpreters are needed, is never as direct and accessible as direct communication. The Deaf teachers expressed satisfaction with the selected interpreters.  71 Treatment of the data  The data consisted of approximately 25 hours of taped interviews in which teachers described their thoughts about and their experiences related to giftedness. I found that very often some of the most meaningful descriptions were expressed just after the tape recorder was turned off and in such cases I was able to enter these data into my journal. My own journal was used as a secondary data source, providing insights and reflections on the processes of doing the research and on the possible interpretations and meanings of the data. I transcribed 10 hours of interviews (five teachers) myself and had a qualified typist do the remainder. When the tape was transcribed by a typist, I then took the original transcription and went through it line by line, listening to the original tape. This allowed me to pick up any errors or omissions made by the typist and also allowed me to become more familiar with the data. In any interview there are conversations about unrelated topics which often serve as ice-breakers and which occur in the process of establishing rapport. Any information which was deemed to be irrelevant to the research was omitted at this stage of the process. In all of the 21 transcripts, representing approximately 25 hours of interviews and about 1,200 pages of text, less than 10 pages of data were left out. The mechanics of handling the data were familiar to me: the coinciding and spiraling processes of data collection and analysis; the transcription of tapes; the organization of the data itself into manageable parts; the coding of information; the cross referencing; the necessity for organized and clear file maintenance; the need for contemplation and withdrawal from the data at certain times during the process ( Lofland, 1971, 1974). The thematic analysis of the data itself basically followed procedures suggested by various researchers (Colaizzi, 1978; Giorgi, 1975; Osborne, 1990) as guidelines and progressed through the following stages.  72 1.  Each individual protocol was transcribed and lines were numbered for ease of  recall and reference. 2.  Each transcript was read and re-read to get a feeling for the data. Marginal  notes were made as thoughts occurred. The transcriptions were entered into Hyperqual (Padilla, 1991) which is a computer program created to handle qualitative data on the Macintosh system. 3.  Each protocol was read on a sentence by sentence basis and sentences were  grouped into meaning units. No sentence was omitted. 4.  A label or tag (e.g., student abilities, environment, terms, meaning of  giftedness) was given to each sentence or group of sentences which formed the meaning units. At this initial stage of analysis, the meaning units were often given more than one label or tag. 5.  Meaning units were subsequently sorted according to the labels.  Labeled meaning units were grouped and re-grouped until topic headings became clear. 6.  These labeled meaning units were then grouped or clustered into topics for  analysis. At this stage of the analysis, several topics emerged. For example, all of the teachers had at one time in their interview, talked about the issues surrounding labeling. Each teacher's file contained meaning units which had been clustered under this heading. These headings, or topics, eventually became the sections for this thesis. Chapter 8, which discusses the issues of labeling, also provides the reader with an opportunity to view the selected meaning units in the context of the original interview. The complete meaning units for each teacher are presented in Appendix B and are fully referenced in Chapter 8.  73 7.  Each topic was then analyzed in detail. The meaning units were again labeled  and sorted into groups and these higher order clusters were then synthesized into main themes or conceptions for that topic. 8.  The final structure was presented as a written synthesis. Part of this  constituted a within-person analysis and is presented in a case study format in chapter 4 (Guba, 1981). This allows for a clear provision of the context, as well as the fuller illumination of the meanings of the individual (Stake, 1978). 9.  In addition, a structure for the shared and idiosyncratic meanings of  giftedness was abstracted from the individual thematic analyses (Osborne, 1990). The individual clusters were compared to identify shared themes and to highlight differing perspectives, as in Chapter 6. A narrative style is used to make the data available to a wide range of individuals (Stake, 1978). 10.  The final organization for the presentation uses a process which emerged  from the 25 hours of interviews and which is presented in an overview format in Chapter 4. One section of the data (presented in Chapter 5) was handled differently from above. The student vignettes resulted from a synthesis of all the statements made about that student during the interview process. Hilary, for example, talked about Iris throughout the interview. In some places she talked about her using several sentences, then her thoughts would move to something else. She would come back fifteen minutes later to mention Iris, perhaps in relation to another student she was talking about and then again later, she would remember another story about her that she wanted to tell to illustrate another point. I pulled all the statements about each child into a separate file and labeled it with the name of that child. That individual's file became the source for the stories of each of the children. In order to write those vignettes, I rearranged the sentences so that they would make sense in the story form. I made a disciplined effort to use the exact words of the teachers in each of the stories, with changes being made only where sentences and  74 thoughts had to fit together and where words or phrases used during the interview process could be changed to provide a better language for reading without changing the meaning. These stories were left to stand on their own and provided the source for the section on teachers' perspectives of giftedness. Hyperqual (Padilla, 1991) is a computerized data handling program that was developed to deal especially with qualitative data on the MacIntosh. The program proved to be an invaluable tool during the first six stages of the analysis as described above. The program is not an 'intelligent' tool; it cannot do the analysis. Appendix C provides the reader with a sample of the screens. Ethics. At all times the researcher must be able to protect the best interest of the participants (Locke, et al., 1987). Perhaps the biggest problem in this area is concern with security and confidentiality of information. Teachers of students with hearing losses are a small and closely knit group and personalities and student characteristics are often recognizable in written material. To deal with these concerns, I have changed all the names of all the participants. This also applies to any students who have been mentioned. In some cases, I have found it necessary to call a student who is female, male and vice versa. I have deliberately not included some information which I felt might identify a teacher or a student and I have deliberately been vague with some descriptions. The teachers come from across the country and identifying features of their places of work have been left out. I do not feel, however, that these kind of changes have in any way influenced the credibility of the data. I obtained informed consent from each of the participants in writing and the research procedures were given approval by the University Ethics Committee. See Appendix D for a copy of the consent form.  75 Pilot study.  In the fall of 1988, to fulfill partial requirements for a Graduate course, I interviewed teachers of students with hearing losses about their perspectives of giftedness. I wrote letters to several schools inviting teachers experienced in working with gifted Deaf and hard of hearing students to volunteer to participate in this project. Five teachers responded. I used a roster of questions to guide the semi-structured interviews and collected the data using an audio tape recorder. The teachers came from various settings and had a variety of experiences with gifted Deaf and hard of hearing students. The interviews with these teachers allowed me to develop my interview skills and to begin to gain some sense of the scope for my research. I transcribed each of the interviews myself and then did a preliminary thematic analysis of the content. The result was a twenty-five page paper which described the teachers' points of view centering around two major themes: the issue of labeling and the teachers' criteria for "who is gifted." (Bibby, 1988). As a part of another course requirement and using the field research tradition, I interviewed a sixth teacher and obtained interview data. In addition, I also gathered data using observation techniques and documentary analysis. The resulting paper was a synthesis of all three sources of data from the symbolic interactionist perspective. These experiences allowed me to be more fully aware of the substantive issues which were to surface as the research continued and it allowed me to become more sensitive to the factors which influenced each stage of the research. For example I became aware of the importance of the opening question for the interview. A question which asked for the teacher to talk about giftedness usually met with "well, I don't really know what it means". A question that asked the teacher to talk about herself and the students with whom she worked, however, initiated an enthusiastic response. As I interviewed subsequent participants, I had a better sense of the meanings underlying their statements and was better able to ask for clarification. In addition I also became very open to the  76 discovery of new ideas as I realized that each person had something different to offer which increased my own understandings of giftedness and of gifted students. The descriptions and analyses which form the findings of this study then, emerged from a solid base. I am indebted as much to the five participants in the pilot study as I am to the other ten participants. The next chapter begins by providing a diagram of the process the teachers appear to go through as they come to understand giftedness; it concludes with an introduction to two teachers who exemplify this process.  77 Chapter 4  PERSPECTIVES OF GIFTEDNESS-EMERGING UNDERSTANDINGS WITHIN A PROCESS  The following framework (Figure 1) illustrates a process that a teacher might go through as she or he comes to have and change perspectives of giftedness. This preview of the "big picture" allows the reader to see the various products or outcomes of this investigation which lie within a process of perspective-making which emerged from the teachers' narratives. The structure of the process itself was one of the outcomes of this study and it did not emerge until almost all the writing had been completed. Embodied within the diagram are the answers to the research questions regarding both the perspectives of giftedness that the teachers hold and the process that a teacher might go through as they develop and change their perspectives. Teachers enter the classroom with their own conceptual frameworks, made up of their own set of assumptions, their own set of values and their own set of ideas. Their perspectives, which may be more implicit than explicit, will guide their perceptions of what happens in their educational settings. The stories of both Liz and Ted provide excellent examples of the influence of experiences on perspectives and are presented in detail in the second part of this chapter (Chapter 4). The teachers working in classrooms will notice some things and will not notice others. As Charon (1985) says, their perspectives "sensitize the individual to parts of physical reality, they desensitize the individual to other parts and they help the individual make sense of the physical reality to which there is sensitization" (p. 3). What the teacher sees, in turn, will influence the action they take in certain situations which arise and provide challenges in the classroom on a daily basis.  7g  teachers entering the classroom bringing perspectives (implicit)  not noticing  noticing  becoming informed not using ( other ways of knowing  using teachers ways of knowing  (literature) (definitions) (labels)  comparing (comparison groups) students  self perspectives experiences (assumptions) (values) (ideas)  experiencing no dissonance  gifted student (learning) (achieving) (behaving) (dealing with hearing loss: being gifted)  experiencing dissonance creating questions  reinforces  ^changing modifying  ^understandings understandings ^ of ^ of giftedness giftedness changing perspectives  Figure 1 Teachers' perspectives of giftedness: new understandings within a process  79  At this point in time, the teacher will most likely see that which is most familiar. If the teacher expects to see students who are gifted in certain ways, then this knowledge will probably allow her to see that student if the student behaves in ways that she understands. If on the other hand, the teacher is not sensitized to indicators of giftedness among students who have hearing losses, then it is possible that she will not notice the gifted student. If these students go unnoticed and as a result their needs are not met, then they are greatly at risk within the educational setting. Yewchuk and Bibby (1989a) in their study of the identification of gifted Deaf and hard of hearing students, found that psychologists nominated two older students whose IQ scores fell above the 95th percentile, because their behaviors in the classroom were masking their giftedness. One is left to ponder the question: had these students been noticed earlier, would the results have been different? Noticing, then, becomes a critical part of the process of recognizing giftedness. The participants in this study were all teachers who took notice of students they believed to be gifted and the remainder of the diagram therefore, deals with a composite picture of the process of recognizing and understanding giftedness in Deaf and hard of hearing students. Once students who might be gifted are noticed, an informing process begins for the teacher. The best ways for teachers to become informed appear to deal with teachers' special ways of knowing, which bring into focus their own personal and practical interactions with the students; other ways of knowing, do not appear to be helpful. The teachers in this study for example, did not indicate that they made use of any literature that might have been available to them, nor did they say that they made attempts to become more aware of any definitions that might have existed. The use of labels was also not seen as being very helpful (Chapter 8) and in some circumstances was said to be detrimental to the well being of the students and their families.  80 Teachers developed and explored their understandings by using their own personal practical knowledge of their experiences as people and as teachers in classrooms. They saw the students achieving, learning and behaving in their classrooms and became aware of certain indicators of giftedness in each of those areas (Chapter 6).The impact of the students' dealing with hearing loss and being gifted was most noticeable in this context. When the teachers were talking about their students, they appeared to use a multiple comparison process; they compared the student they thought to be gifted with other students they knew and had known and with themselves and their friends. At the same time, they compared the students they had selected with their own perspectives on giftedness and their own more theoretical notions about the meaning of the term gifted.(Chapter 7). As they went through the process of comparing, the teachers did or did not experience, as Tina says, "good old cognitive dissonance." At various times during the interviews all the participants questioned their own abilities to select and to label a student as gifted. Their reflection and openness to questioning allowed me to assume that in some ways, they were comparing new information with established or taken-forgranted ideas. This process permeates all of the findings of this study. In addition, some of the teachers explicitly described changes in their perspectives which occurred as a result of experiencing dissonance. The most dramatic change occurred for Hilary, who, in the time between the two interviews changed her mind completely about Tarah, whom she had previously determined was "not gifted." Liz's interactions with Bob (discussed in this chapter) allowed her to change her understandings; she became aware that "process" might be an important part of the giftedness concept whereas before she had looked at "product." And Tina spoke explicitly of the readjustments teachers had to make in their thinking as they had to accept that a student might be gifted in one area and very slow (disabled) in another (Chapter 8).  81 If the teachers saw the students acting in ways that were congruent with their earlier understandings of giftedness, then their own ideas and expectations remained intact and perspectives of giftedness were reinforced. If on the other hand, the students showed to the teachers other indicators which were new, the teachers found themselves modifying and changing their previous understandings of the giftedness concept. The teachers' student oriented and theoretically oriented understandings of giftedness, either changed or reinforced, are described in detail in Chapter 6. The preceding paragraphs have been written to provide an explanation of the process that teachers in this study appeared to go through in developing and in changing their perspectives of giftedness. It has been difficult, however, for me to decide how to present the findings from the interviews in a way which allows the reader to understand the interplay between the content, the context and the process. What one sees in Figure 1 is a fairly linear representation of a very non-linear experience; the process of learning, knowing and gaining perspectives is ongoing, spiraling and at the same time backtracking on itself. The data which follows then have been organized in such a way as to clarify the issues and to allow the reader to build on his or her awareness. The next section of this chapter takes the reader to the place where teachers enter their classrooms, bringing perspectives to bear on their students and on their interactions with the students. The stories of Liz and Ted were chosen because they best exemplified the process. Teachers Entering the Classroom and Bringing Perspectives Perspectives are points of view - eyeglasses, sensitizers - that guide our perceptions of reality. Perspectives can further be described as conceptual frameworks, a set of 2. assumptions, values and beliefs used to organize our perceptions and control our behavior. 3. The individual judges perspectives according to their usefulness for himself or herself. 4. The individual has many perspectives. Perspectives arise in interaction and are role-related. 5.^Some perspectives can be considered better than other perspectives if we can agree that 'better' means more accurate and if we can measure 1.  82 accuracy - a difficult task. In science some may be more accurate than others, but it is probably more correct to argue that each focuses on a different aspect of reality (Charon, 1985, p. 8.). Of course, my response was, "What is this really?" And, of course, the response by them was that it is all of these things and probably many many more things. Indeed, whatever that physical reality was is interpreted by people in many ways, depending entirely on the perspective they use to see it... Perspectives should not be thought of as true of false (as we might be tempted to do) but as helpful or useless in understanding. We accept or reject various perspectives in our education based on whether or not they make sense to us; that is, do they help us understand people or situations we encounter? (Charon, 1985, p. 4). A perspective then, by its very nature, is a bias, it contains assumptions, value judgments and ideas, it orders the world, it divides it up in a certain way and as a result it influences our action in the world" (Charon, 1985, p. 6). The participants in this study have all been specially trained to work with children with hearing loss, but they come from a variety of educational settings, with a variety of experiences both personal and professional. In some of the interviews, teachers chose to focus almost exclusively on their own experiences with students and on discussions which centered around issues like labeling, which are directly associated with ideas about giftedness. Other teachers included some of their own personal experiences and beliefs which had helped to influence how they came to understand giftedness in the students they taught. The following section deals with the issue of perspective, by providing two profiles, one of Liz and the other of Ted. These two teachers' stories are presented here because their backgrounds are very different, yet they appear to share some common beliefs. In listening to their stories, the reader comes to some understanding of the influences which shape teacher's perspectives even before they enter the classroom.  Liz's Stories Liz's perspective appears to have been influenced by at least three different things: (a) her own experiences and interactions with students as a teacher of Deaf and hard of hearing students; (b) her own personal experiences from her childhood as a young student in a classroom; and (c) her experiences as a young adult married to a gifted man. These experiences together seem to have encouraged her to develop a personal philosophy of  83 teaching and learning, which in turn, probably affects the way she interacts with her students in the classroom. In addition, Liz's background may offer some understanding as to what her conceptions of giftedness are among Deaf and hard of hearing students and why she has brought a focus to certain indicators of giftedness that she has seen in the students.  Liz's background-Liz's students. Liz has been teaching students with hearing losses for 15 years. She began her career... teaching elementary school hearing impaired students in a classroom in a regular school. There were 6 kids, ranging in age from 6 to 14. Most of these students were integrated into their regular classrooms. After 3 years, I worked as an itinerant teacher for elementary kids for a year and an itinerant teacher for secondary hearing impaired kids for 2 year. Then I taught grade 11 and 12 hearing impaired kids in a resource room for 5 years. Most of these students were oral and some used oral interpreters, some didn't. In addition to that, I've also taught adults English as a second language in a private language school and I taught grade 11 and 12 hearing kids Spanish for 4 years Liz chose three students to talk about, one who was academically gifted and two who were gifted in mime. The first of these, Cheryl, was a strong all round student, whom Liz spoke of as being both extremely able and also empowered to take control of her life.  Cheryl—Just a really, really nice girl Cheryl is gifted in the academic areas. She's a very strong student but she's also very strong across the board academically, stronger in the sciences. She has the typical problems with language that are a result of her hearing loss but that's nothing unusual. She's also very popular with the hearing kids, very profoundly deaf, her speech is harder to understand but she has good hearing friends. She was a cheerleader. She's really very socially aware and very considerate of other people and responsible. She's 16 or 17 and I can't say that she had any weak areas. She was the photography editor for the school annual so she had some visual awareness  84 and skill too. One of the places where she had the most trouble was putting too high expectations on herself and allowing stress to build up and then not being able to handle that very well. She's the oldest of 2 children and her reading level would have been maybe a year to a year and a half to 2 years below grade level. Her English language, spoken, was OK. And her written language would sound, if we didn't know that she had a hearing loss, it would sound contrived because she tries to use too many sophisticated words. She uses them appropriately, but not naturally. She was integrated in school and in those classes she had an oral interpreter. I knew she was gifted because in class discussion she would come out and put ideas together in an original way. She would come out with things that weren't predictable. It was obvious that she was doing some original thinking. She also had the confidence to take her opinion and find supporting evidence for it, but she also didn't seem to be fixated on holding onto something... she was a flexible thinker. She knew when she knew something and she won't buy anything until she's been convinced. The teachers would often laugh amongst ourselves when she comes out with something and we'd say that Cheryl's way ahead of us you know, in a lot of ways. It's the kind of thing that she would come out with that we hadn't thought of. I think she's an exceptional thinker and has always been that way. Very observant and so on. We have an International Baccalaureate program and she was integrated with an interpreter in that program, algebra, biology and physics and she was doing fine. (She was one to two years behind in reading) but she would anticipate what was going to be happening in class, read ahead and then, when it happened in class she was more on top of it. It was very important for her to be prepared going into class and to know what was going to be covered and anticipate. She was on top of what was going on, so she could see what the next subject would be, the direction that the subjects was going in and she would make sure that, of course, any assignments that were handed out, she would have done and she would always read ahead. I think that's probably how she got along. She came with the reputation of being quite an exceptional academic student. She was also highly motivated. She talked her parents into letting her apply for the IB program. She knew that she could do it and that she would be  85 able to handle it, so she talked her teachers into it. She applied for it herself. She went for the interview. Essentially she's the one who took charge of it because I can't say that her teachers or her parents were encouraging. Cheryl will always take what she needs out of the situation. If that situation is rich enough, then she will take what she needs and go with what she needs from it. She hungers for knowledge and with the IB Program, she just took it in stride. She took hold of it and ran with it. She was being stimulated and going and going. I think it probably saved her from boredom, I think that she would have been bored in a slower class because that's so highly accelerated and because secondary school is so highly structured. In regular classes of 30 or so kids, the teaching is frontal teaching and it's teaching all the kids as one group. Unfortunately that kind of teaching teaches to the average paced learner and I think she would have been bored out of her tree. Her giftedness allowed her to overcome her disability to a large extent and then be on an equal footing with the hearing kids. She is very mature for her age, very sensitive. She was pleasant to talk to; she's interested in you and not just self-centered. Cheryl is just a really, really nice girl. Robin and Zona—Gifted in Mime I had a girl in elementary school who I thought was a very gifted actress and she was also very gifted in mime. Zona was 12. And there was an older student too, Robin, who was gifted in that area and I mean gifted (to the extent) that I feel that she could have really made a successful career from this. She was in Grade 11. For both these students, their social skills weren't that good. Maybe it's just that they were not "other oriented" in wanting to make a good impression on people. Like, people who get along with other people are really "other" oriented. So I don't know if their social skills weren't that great or just that they weren't "other oriented." Though they were obviously very good mime artists so they were great observers of human nature. They also weren't that great academically. Both kids had problems with language and with reading... they just found it harder to put words together and express themselves on paper and to understand what they were reading. Since they weren't expressive in language, through language, maybe that's why they were so expressive in mime. I can think of ways that 99 kids out of  86 100 would mime a basketball player, or a game of tennis, but the gifted person that would really make you drop your jaw and think, of gee, the rest of us 99 people would never have thought of that. So it's originality... I didn't see that the school was providing an appropriate outlet for them to grow in that area of their giftedness. So I worked very hard with them and tried to convince both their parents to try and get them into some miming classes or into some extra-curricular activities so that their strength wouldn't atrophy. (But the parents) weren't convinced that society placed any value on that kind of gift and couldn't see why they should put any energy out. I think that if the parents had been really encouraging in that area, they would have really blossomed in that area. But the parents weren't and I think that they looked to their parents as a reflection of what society's values are and they weren't convinced that this was something that should be valued and encouraged. So they didn't do anything with it. Everyone is admitting now that education has only been focused in the area of the academic. (Now it's changing so that the focus is more on) emotional, social, intellectual, aesthetic and artistic development. But before it was not like that and these kids suffered. Robin and Zona suffered because of that.  Liz's experiences as a teacher. As noted in Liz's background, she had had a variety of experiences working mostly in integrated school settings with students who were oral. Working within the public school setting would have enabled Liz to keep in close contact with the behaviors, abilities and school lives of hearing students. This group of students became the peer group for the Deaf and hard of hearing students and so when some of Liz's students stood out it was in relation to their hearing peers. Liz would also have had close contact with the teachers who worked with the hearing students and since Cheryl was integrated, Liz's perspectives would most probably have been influenced also by the perspectives of these teachers. In addition, Liz had first hand experience with the IB program and so Cheryl's eagerness to enroll there was a major indicator for Liz that Cheryl was gifted.  87  Liz's experience as a young student in school. Liz also shared with me her personal story of when, as a young child in the school classroom, she had seen the very bright students being singled out for special educational services. (Numbers denote references to themes that emerged and which are noted in the analysis which follows her story). This one student I knew was in that class because the English teacher had identified him. It wasn't a class for gifted kids by any means, but it was a class that I think the English teacher had put together, of kids who were thinkers, or who that specific teacher had identified as thinkers. The rest of us of course, just hadn't reached our potential yet (2). Which is another point that I would like to make here: why neglect (1) those of us who hadn't learned to think yet (2)? I mean, I feel that the kids who were already thinking, had an advantage over those of us who didn't (1). For one reason or another, I didn't know how to think. I was bored out my tree in school and especially in English class. And yet I don't feel that I got the teachers who were willing to stimulate, or interested in stimulating me (1, 3). I didn't get those teachers who might be interested in helping me to develop to my potential. Maybe that's why I feel so strongly that I don't think kids should be separated out (1). It's not fair to those other kids who have the potential to develop as well (4). It's just not fair that we should continue to bore 75% of the population while only paying attention to the 25% that at that point in their lives, they have achieved some kind of thinking capability on their own. Why should they get any special treatment? I mean, it's the rest of us, if anything that (a) should get the special treatment and (b) would benefit by being in classes with those kids (4). If we're concerned about these kids, then let's do something in the teacher training so that the kids, gifted or not, in the regular class are not bored along with everyone else in the regular class.  The following themes emerge from Liz's personal and sensitive story... 1.^Liz felt that she was being given unfair treatment when she saw that other children were being given special educational services, different from hers and those of the other children in her class. As a result, she felt neglected and disadvantaged. Since she  88 chose to express these feeling in the interview, it is reasonable to assume that this made quite an impact on her as a young student. Liz explicitly recognizes how this experience has influenced her thinking about pulling students out of the classroom for special help. She does not believe in "separating them out." 2.  Liz apparently felt that she "hadn't learned to think yet," which indicated that  she is aware of the importance of the development of potential, in terms of thinking skills. Seeing abilities as being strongly influenced by the environment, being brought out by time and situation, is an important conception relating to the idea of giftedness. 3.  There is no mistaking the strong influence that Liz believes that teachers have  on their students. She recognizes that some teachers are interested in helping children develop their potential; and some are not. 4.^The "haves" shouldn't get special treatment at the expense of the "haven't yets."  Liz's learning from her gifted partner. I asked Liz when she first began to understand and formulate her own ideas about giftedness and she replied with the following story. It was the fellow I married who was gifted and I just came to realize that by being married to him (2). He wasn't a particularly good student, so my knowledge has nothing to do with that (3). We were in high school together and in fact, I was a better student than he was and I think I'm probably average. But when I married him, I began to realize there was something different here (2). It had to do with who he was and things inside his head worked differently than mine. It was like there were different sparks going on up there the kind of way that he would think about things, the way he would synthesize information and come up with original ideas (4). He really had a unique kind of knowledge and an incredible confidence in that knowledge and in his own thinking. So that's when I really began to realize that people don't always show teachers the kind of thinking they do, while they are in a school setting (3).  89 In school, he was less mature than I was and I think that if the educational system did give him opportunities, he made choices (1). He chose to take advantage, or not to take advantage of those opportunities. Something different in the educational system would not have changed that. Although, I do remember that he had a different English teacher than I did and that teacher really stimulated him (1); I think she recognized his abilities. But in general, he took what he needed from school (1) and excelled in the areas that were important to him, the debating club for example. Getting good grades wasn't really important for him and I don't think a different system would have changed that. It wouldn't have convinced him that grades were important. He just took what he needed and wanted (1). It was actually from knowing my husband, that I developed my own potential you know (2). He really made an impact on me. In fact, he made up for all the terrible education I had because he challenged me to think and develop (2, 5). And it was through my interactions with Bob that giftedness held any meaning for me. I couldn't really recognize giftedness in someone who is a scientist or someone who is musical because I'm not really inside that subject, I don't really know enough about those subjects, in order to really see what a gifted person is (6). If I had been a scientist for example, then I could have recognized Einstein's giftedness because then I would have known his thinking was so different from anyone else's; my jaw would have dropped if I had been in that field. Since I'm not a scientist, I would have known he was smart because other people would have called him gifted and that's fine (6). You look at the product they've given, like Einstein and you can see that it's original, superior. But also giftedness is evident in interactions with people (2). Giftedness in Bob showed up in our interactions (2, 7), not necessarily in a product. It was just this sort of normal stuff that I could see and relate to, not any specific thing, but when I saw that I would say, "Oh my gosh!, Nobody else would ever have thought of that and I would never have though of that!" Giftedness really only had any meaning for me when I could interact, went through interactions with Bob. I only realized through interactions with Bob what the difference was between being gifted and not gifted. It was a way of thinking which I am familiar with, so that was my baseline, rather than my baseline being some sort of scientific knowledge or musical knowledge or something (6).  90 The following themes emerge from Liz's story about her husband... 1.  Perhaps one of the most obvious themes here is that of empowerment. Liz  talks about how Bob made choices, appeared to have control over the things he did not want to do and the things that he did want to do. He "took what he needed and wanted" and made choices in spite of schools. Once again, however, Liz recognized that teachers did make a difference, this time for Bob in a positive way. 2.  Liz emphasizes the fact that knowing Bob was very influential in changing her  own ideas about what giftedness meant. He changed her perspective. This impact, probably changed her as a person and as a teacher. 3.  Indicators of giftedness such as creative and original thinking, might not show  up in the school environment. Liz gives Bob some responsibility for not showing his abilities to the teachers in the school. 4.  Liz describes Bob (and perhaps all people she might identify as being gifted ),  as having different sparks, being a creative thinker, synthesizing information and coming up with original ideas. 5.  Liz had a bad educational experiences herself, but because of those and  because of how Bob helped her, she now values the idea of challenging someone to think and develop. 6.  Liz suggests that perhaps there are two ways to know about what giftedness  means. One is to hear it from other people, that someone is gifted in a certain area. Liz is willing to accept their judgment because "they" are the experts in that area who can decide. We know giftedness if someone else, knowledgeable in that area, puts a label on that person. Another way of understanding what it means to be gifted is to actually share that process with someone, as Liz did with Bob when they were interacting and discussing things. She could apparently relate to him then, in a way that she could not have related to someone gifted in science for example. Liz suggests that being "inside the subject" allows an understanding perhaps at a different level.  91 7.^Liz makes a distinction between a conception of giftedness as being product oriented and a conception of giftedness as being process oriented. Einstein and Beethoven produced great works in science and music. Bob showed creative thinking skills in an ongoing, emergent way.  Liz's philosophy as an educator. Liz explains her philosophy in the following way... Each kid in the class is going to be learning at a different pace anyway and so if I can just keep them all interested that's great. So one is faster or different from the others, it's still a class and they still have a lot to learn from each other; we all have a lot to learn from each other. I get excited about what I can learn from them. As a teacher you just go with what you have. I think teaching, being a teacher, as being a facilitator, more than a teacher because the kids really determine the direction; I just determine the subject. They determine the direction of the class and the pace that we're going to learn at. I know that the learning experiences I provide for them must be varied enough, or rather, open-ended enough so that they won't be bored. So if one kid is faster than the others, it's still a class. I wouldn't change my planning for a gifted student because I believe all the kids in the class should be exposed to what Cheryl would have been exposed to. The teacher is really the stimulus and the students have to choose to take that stimulus and then decide how far they want to go with it. As a matter of fact, I think that if I had to try and teach very closed ended lessons, where the kids did very little other than sit and absorb information, that I would feel very intimidated because I would anticipate that boredom from the kids. Every kid wants to learn, has a hunger for learning and I think if you just watch kids, you can see the kind of inquisitiveness and investigations that they do naturally and that's what we should be facilitating. The kids have to be in charge of their own education. They'll take the bat, then run with it . They take what they want or need out of any learning situation and they'll go as far with it as they want to. The teacher would facilitate, rather than try to stand up at the front of the class and impart knowledge. It would only be partly sinking in and for the most part, not sinking in and causing the students endless amounts of boredom. Not just the students really, for the teachers too.  92 If you think about getting ready for the class, my planning wouldn't necessarily have been on what to teach, but rather on what to introduce. How to introduce something and how to facilitate learning and curiosity. You see, I really believe that every kid is a potential genius. I think that it is just us that hold them back, that don't let them go. I know that especially in my early years, I really felt that I had to know everything in order to be a good teacher. I think that one of the things that teachers are afraid of is that they don't know everything, or they're going to be asked a question that they don't know the answer to. With that fear, the teachers feel that they're supposed to be something that they're not and they never will be. If we could only focus on training teachers to be facilitators, to be classroom managers, to provide resources, but not to know everything. You have to be really careful to make each child feel special, or to let each child know that they're special and that's just really important in any classroom. If you see that each child is special, then there's not a problem. Let me explain more a bit from real life. Let's say I introduced a certain project all the kids would have done that project and displayed their understanding of the experience. Each student's knowledge of that is different and it comes out of that in different ways. So, Cheryl would have displayed her knowledge in a way that was different from someone else in the class. And she could have taken that as far as she wanted and I would have been there then to make sure that she, that all of the resources would have been provided so she wasn't stumped for resources or information. If she wanted to go further in one direction I could show her, I could direct her where to go. I would have done that with the other kids too. Obviously it is easier to do that in the younger years but even in high school I still think there are ways to do it.  Liz appears to build her philosophy of teaching and learning on one underlying principle: that all children "have a hunger for learning." She believes that "every kid is a potential genius" and that provided with the appropriate stimulating atmosphere for learning, the students will take control and determine the rate and direction of their  development. Not only will the students learn from their environment, but they will also learn from each other.  93 Liz sees herself as a learner also and in her role as facilitator in the classroom she sees her main responsibility as providing a stimulus for learning. Her role is to keep the students interested, encourage their independence and to provide resources and support where necessary. Gaining knowledge is a process she goes through with the students in her classroom. Liz's understandings of giftedness.  The following understandings of giftedness arise from Liz's stories of the students she has known, her personal experiences as a student herself, as a partner to a man who was gifted and as a teacher of Deaf and hard of hearing students. Her personal philosophy of education filters through these meanings. 1.  Liz sees giftedness as potential in that students learn to develop their abilities.  "Many kids may have gifted potential, but haven't explored it; for gifted talents to come out, they need to be expressed, or they need to be encouraged, or facilitated." 2.  The existence of these abilities may be seen in some contexts and not in others  and both teachers and students have responsibility for making the giftedness known. Liz, as a teacher, wants to try to recognize and encourage potential in her students and is aware at the same time that "we're bound to see only one side, right? We see from our point of view and we may ostracize or put down the kid that we don't understand as trying to express himself if we can't relate to it... we naturally pick up on the things we identify with and we may miss other things." Students as well take responsibility for deciding whether or not to show their giftedness to the teachers. "What I see as one student's strength, another teacher may not see that because the student may not show that teacher that strength." 3.^The environment plays a significant role in influencing the development of giftedness. Within the educational context, teachers can "stimulate" students to reach their potential, or they can "hold them back."  94 4.  The students too play a significant role in developing their potentials. Both  Bob and Cheryl took charge and "took what they wanted" from the system. "I think the gifted kids, like all kids, will always take what they need out of a situation and in some cases gifted kids may take more than the others... but if the situation is rich enough, all kids will do the same, get as much out of it as they can." 5.  Giftedness is "the way that people think and put ideas together in original  ways... they synthesize information and come up with something of their own, which is very recognizably, very obviously their own... it's shown in creative thinking and with artistic giftedness with bringing original ideas to the expression of creativity." 6.  Although Liz sees all kids as potentially gifted, she still appears to recognize  that there are some who stand out from the others. In spite of that she maintains that students need to learn from each other and that there must be equal opportunities given to all children. She rejects the idea of giving special treatment to those who are gifted. 7.  Giftedness is a concept that is socially constructed in that societies decide  what kinds of gifts should be rewarded. Mime is not high on a list of priorities in our society. 8.  Liz does not believe in labeling students, as discussed in conjunction with  other teachers' perspectives at length in Chapter 8. She believes that "if we label something, we stop thinking about it and reacting to it... the label wouldn't give me information I didn't already have about just knowing her as a person." 9.  Liz sees giftedness both as a product, that can be seen as "original" or  "superior" and also as a process, that can be understood through interactions with gifted people as they share their ideas. Knowing what giftedness means has perhaps two levels: that of knowing from afar, because other people say they are gifted, or society rewards their giftedness and that of knowing from within, actually having the experience of relating to someone who is gifted on his or her own level.  95  Discussion. and summary Since Liz's experience up to this point had been in integrated settings and since she had been so actively involved in teaching both hearing students and those who had hearing losses, her whole perspective tended to blend all students together. When I asked Liz to expressly think about Cheryl and Robin and Zona in terms of their being gifted and having profound hearing losses, she responded in the following way. Let me talk about Robin and Zona first, because I said in the first interview that 'deafness allowed them to develop' their gifts in mime. Well, that is interesting, because I wonder if they had not been deaf, maybe they would not have developed this area of giftedness, though the potential would still have been there. They may not have made anything of it because there was not the same need to express themselves. This outlet for expression was needed more because they were deaf, or maybe it was because they were deaf and