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Twice-exceptional learners in New Zealand schools: Teacher perspectives

Susan J. Ng, Mary F. Hill, and Catherine Rawlinson

Twice-exceptional (gifted with associated learning difficulties) students face complex learning challenges because of their varying combinations of high ability alongside domains of learning difficulty. There is currently little original empirical research in the New Zealand education setting specifically concerning twice-exceptional students. The problem of twice-exceptional student underachievement is, however, well documented in the international literature. Failure to identify and provide for such students has been shown to negatively affect academic, social, and emotional self-efficacy, which has serious implications for the development of individual capability and wellbeing. This article presents the findings from a survey of 54 teachers currently teaching in New Zealand schools. The findings reveal considerable variability in teacher understandings about twice-exceptionality that affect confidence in dealings with, and provision for, individuals with dual exceptionalities. Some suggestions for assisting teachers in developing informed understandings are proposed.

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