Date of Award

Fall 11-22-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Brandy Kamm, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Chad Becker, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Robert Voelkel, Ed.D.


There are a wide variety of learners in each classroom. Students have different needs, learning styles, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. Gifted and talented learners are often those students who understand the concept being taught before any other student; they are the ones whose brains are constantly working, sometimes solving a problem differently than anyone else. The problem addressed was that gifted learners are not typically given the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills. Instead, they are taught as a whole class with the rest of the students. The goal of this qualitative phenomenological study was to identify the ways teachers effectively differentiate instruction for the gifted learners in the classroom, and what factors inhibit teachers from using differentiation in the classroom. In addition, participants discussed professional development opportunities and resources they felt they could benefit from to improve the quality of differentiation for the gifted learners. In this qualitative phenomenological study, 17 teachers in grades three through five were individually interviewed. The results from this study provide suggestions for successfully differentiating instruction in the classroom for the gifted learners, as well as areas of improvement that could take place in the district to better meet the needs of these students.

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