Teaching Research Skills to Gifted/Talented (G/T) Students

A picture of a teacher and students.

Gifted/Talented students require differentiation and special instruction in the areas of content knowledge, product development, and research processes. The links in this section provide information on learning theory, content knowledge, product development, and research processes.


A. Learning Theory

This section of the toolkit provides some background research on how Gifted/Talented students learn and how to encourage students to use advanced thinking processes. See the links below for more information on the learning theory work of Bloom, Bruner, and Kaplan.


i. Bloom's Taxonomy

Bloom's Taxonomy is the most common method of expanding thinking skills. Bloom's Taxonomy is a classification model organized by complexity, and the levels include knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The websites listed below provide resources on Bloom's Taxonomy.

  1. Basic Bloom’s Information and Three Types of Learning
  2. Applying Bloom’s Taxonomy (Task Oriented Question Construction Wheel)
  3. Bloom’s Question Stems
  4. Bloom’s and Gifted Students
  5. Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy
  6. Revised Bloom's Taxonomy Question Starters
  7. A Model of Learning Objectives Based on Revised Bloom's Taxonomy
  8. Bloom’s and Assessment


ii. Bruner's Discovery Learning

Jerome Bruner, a constructivist and learning theorist, developed the theory of Discovery Learning. Discovery Learning is an inquiry-based learning method in which Bruner asserts that student learning is an active process and a hierarchical one. Students’ new learning experiences should build on their current knowledge, and students are more likely to engage in meaningful learning if they discover concepts on their own. The websites listed below provide resources regarding Bruner’s Discovery Learning.

  1. Principles of Bruner's Theories
  2. Bruner and the Process of Education


iii. Kaplan’s Scholarly Behaviors

Sandra Kaplan is a respected researcher in the field of Gifted/Talented education. Kaplan has developed a set of scholarly behaviors (e.g., asking questions, using many tools and resources) and outline of what teachers and students who exhibit scholarly behaviors look like. The websites listed below provide resources regarding Kaplan's work.

  1. Kaplan’s Scholarly Behaviors
  2. Elements of Depth and Complexity


iv. Differentiating Instruction

Differentiating instruction allows teachers to provide specialized instruction for Gifted/Talented (G/T) students within the regular classroom. It is a method of individualizing instruction to meet the needs of all students—students who are identified as G/T and other students as well. When teachers differentiate, they assign G/T students different tasks that lead to learning that is meaningful for them. Differentiation for G/T students should focus on production, allowing students to exhibit their learning through abstract and concrete products. Some books that might be particularly helpful tools for teachers include:

  • Tomlinson, C. A., Kaplan, S. N., Renzulli, J. S., Purcell, J., Leppien, J., & Burns, D. (2002). The parallel curriculum: A design to develop high potential and challenge high-ability learners. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.
  • Winebrenner, S. (2001.) Teaching gifted kids in the regular classroom. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.

The websites listed below provide resources for differentiating instruction.

  1. How To Adjust Teaching Styles to Learning Styles
  2. Step by Step: Planning for Differentiated Instruction
  3. Multiple Menu Model of Differentiation
  4. Layered Curriculum Sample Lessons—Across Grade Levels and Content Areas
  5. Curriculum Differentiation: An Overview
  6. Electronic Resources for Differentiating Instruction
  7. Compacting Form