|dc.description.abstract||Problem: The English Language Learner (ELL) population is the fastest growing student population in the United States (Kanno & Cromley, 2013), but continues to be underrepresented in gifted education (Peters & Engerrand, 2016; Siegle et al., 2016). The flawed policies and procedures that prevent ELLs from being identified for gifted programming have been widely documented (Card & Giuliano, 2015; Ford, Grantham, & Whiting, 2008; Harris, Rapp, Martínez, & Plucker, 2007). However, there is a dearth of literature exploring the school experiences of rural high school gifted ELLs once they have received placements in gifted programs.
Procedures: This multi-case study explored lived experiences of four rural high school gifted ELLs in one Midwest state. A single overarching question guided this study: “What are the school experiences of rural high school English Language Learners who have been formally identified for gifted programs?” This study used purposeful sampling to ensure participants met the criteria (Creswell, 2013), and opportunistic sampling (Judd, 2006) to collect data through one-on-one interviews, fieldnotes, and reflexive journaling. The data analysis involved reviewing the information to find patterns, creating coding categories, and then developing general themes from those categories. The verification of the data included triangulation, clarifying researcher positionality, member checking, and thick descriptions. Findings: The first theme that emerged was that students did not have regular interactions with the gifted teachers in their building and the primary method of programming was Advanced Placement, dual credit, honors, or on-line classes. Second, students did not have opportunities to learn more about their own cultures, or share knowledge about their own cultures with their peers. Third, students had gaps in both their first language and second language. Students spoke their native languages at home, but did have the chance to maintain or advance their first language at school by listening, speaking, reading, or writing. Also, all students reported gaps of varying degrees in their English grammar. The final theme was that students felt appropriately challenged in their advanced classes and liked their style more than general education classes. Conclusions: Students enjoyed their advanced classes more than their general education classes because there were more opportunities to go in depth with coursework, engage in class discussions, and complete projects. General education classes were more lecture-driven with few opportunities to collaborate with peers. Students reported their classes were challenging, but enjoyable. None of the students reported negative reactions from parents, teachers, or peers because of their placement in the gifted program. All students had positive interactions with the teachers of their advanced classes and peers, and had many friends in those classes.
Recommendations: More research needs to be conducted into comprehensive services for rural high school gifted ELLs. Students had access to advanced coursework but lacked social and emotional supports, along with college and career guidance. In addition, students need more opportunities to share about their beliefs, values, and traditions with classmates; to learn more about their cultural heritage; and to read, write, and speak their native languages at school. Finally, all educators need professional development to learn how to become more culturally competent in the classroom.||en_US