Preparing School Leaders to Meet the Needs of Gifted Learners in Saudi Primary Schools

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Embargoed until 2022-02-23
Copyright: Almalky, Abdullah
Gifted and talented individuals play an important role in the development of their country and the world. The effect of educating high-ability individuals is observed not only in high levels of achievement and competition wins but also in the prosperity of the individual s country. This qualitative case study research aims to provide research based evidence for developing programs to prepare school principals to meet the needs of gifted students in schools. The research data were obtained from eight primary schools that run programs for gifted students in Saudi Arabia. The data were collected from diverse case studies (high-performing [HP] and low-performing [LP] schools) from rural and urban areas in Saudi Arabia. The data were obtained by conducting semi-structured interviews with eight school principals and eight gifted education (GE) teachers and coordinators, conducting focus groups with 51 gifted students, and analysing four policy documents. The findings of the study reveal a lack of essential knowledge and skills among principals related to GE. However, principals of HP cases were more aware of and more concerned with addressing the needs of gifted students compared with principals of LP cases. In addition, principals of HP schools were mostly instructional leaders, whereas LP schools were mostly led by building managers. Rural principals were socially oriented, whereas urban principals were policy and functionally driven. Based on these findings, the study proposes two training models: a principal preparation program (PPP)-fix model for LP schools, and a PPP-prevention model for other schools. The study recommends an urgent revision of GE policy in Saudi Arabia and a clear definition of principals responsibilities towards gifted students. In addition, the study urges ministries of education and universities to consider including GE in PPPs and teacher preparation programs to help meet the needs of gifted students in schools.
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Almalky, Abdullah
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PhD Doctorate
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