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Elementary gifted boys' perceptions of self and school

Watts, Jessica A.
This ethnographic study seeks to understand elementary-age boys', teachers', and parents' perceptions of giftedness and gendered ability construction. Utilizing the theoretical lens of Herbert Marsh's Frame of Reference theory, this study illuminates how young gifted boys developed academic and social self-perceptions influenced by gender and ability practices. It also explores how teachers and parents perceived giftedness, gifted boys, and their pedagogical and parental experiences. A review of literature explores young boys', teachers', and parent's perspectives on gender and ability, gender construction and the roles gender play in creating stereotypes, and the socially constructed notions of giftedness and its relation to gendered differences. Implementing ethnographic analytic methods, the findings discuss three central themes: conceptualizations of giftedness, the perceptions of gifted boys in classroom spaces, and the complexities of curriculum and instructional design for gifted learners. These findings led to conclusions and implications for educators that included exploring constructions of giftedness with children, understanding how schools influence self-concept formation, recognizing intersections of gender and ability, opening spaces for students' voices to be heard, and pursuing inclusive curriculum design. Further, the study irradiates how gifted and elementary education scholars can center the voices and perspectives of students in scholarship and practice.