The intent of this program was not simply the realization of gifted learners' full potential but the development of future leaders.
The historical introduction offered in the preceding highlights a long-standing acknowledgement of the importance of designing special education programs which address the mental capacities, abilities and talents of gifted learners and function to both enable and guide them towards the realisation of their potential. Integral to the realization of potential of gifted students is, of course, curriculum and learning strategies. Within the context of the stated, therefore, curriculum development and learning strategies for gifted students assume unique importance and, accordingly, have been the focus of numerous research and studies. This paper shall review a number of these studies for the purpose of evaluating the variant curriculum development and learning strategies for gifted students.
In his analysis of gifted learners' educational requirements, Shore (1988) argued that without a curriculum which is designed in response to their needs, the full potential of gifted learners will never be truly realized. ...
while conceding that prerequisite to the design of such a curricular is the careful and critical evaluation of individual learner requirements and, possibly, the design of differentiated curricula within the context of a more general curricular framework, Shore (1988) defended his approach to curriculum development as optimally suited to the needs of individual gifted learners.
The development/design of a differentiated gifted learner curriculum is a complex undertaking insofar as it involves the design of both general and specific curricula. The design of the general gifted learners' curricula should, according to both Shore (1988) and Van Tassel-Baska (2003) be informed by an empirical investigation of variant gifted learners' curricula. The purpose of the aforementioned investigation is the isolation and identification of that set of factors from which a gifted learners' curriculum derives its strength. This does not just include curriculum content but the role of teachers, administrators and parents in the support and communication of that curriculum. In other words, the reference here is to the design of an environment which is supportive of gifted learners and not just curriculum content. To this extent, and as Shore (1988, p. 9) argues, "the considered advice of experts and persons actively involved in the field," is integral to the successful realization of a best-practice gifted learners' general curricular framework. In other words, schools need to invest the requisite time and effort in the design of a gifted learners' curriculum which aims towards the creation of a supportive learning environment, involving all of gifted learners, their teachers, parents and school administrators.
The development of a curriculum for gifted learners, however, is