Understanding teacher perceptions of diverse, gifted students is a first step to exploring the underrepresentation of non-white students in programs for advanced academic ability. As professionals, teachers are responsible for making referrals for special programming and are often the “gatekeepers” for student identification. This qualitative study used exploratory interviews to examine perceptions of five second- and third-grade teachers and the talented and gifted coordinator at a school in which 65% of the student population was Hispanic. Three themes emerged in the findings: (a) Teachers experience differences in training to work with diverse, low income students and gifted students; (b) teachers use personal beliefs to compensate for lack of training in identifying and accommodating gifted learners; and (c) teachers perceive barriers for diverse students participating in gifted programming.
Keywords: gifted education, identification, Hispanic students, teacher training