Threat or challenge? Teacher beliefs about gifted students and their relationship to teacher motivation

Svenja Matheis, Leonie Kronborg, Manfred Schmitt, Franzis Preckel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    This study investigated the relationship between teachers’ beliefs about gifted students’ characteristics compared to students with average-ability and the teachers’ motivation (i.e., enthusiasm, self-efficacy). We investigated pre-service teachers’ beliefs and motivational orientations as substantial components of their professional competencies and aimed to make an empirical contribution to the discussion on the professionalization of teachers in gifted education. We expected that beliefs about the gifted would be in line with the disharmony hypothesis assuming they were intellectually strong, but deficient in non-cognitive domains. German (n = 375) and Australian (n = 315) pre-service teachers participated in a between-subjects experimental design that used student vignettes varying in ability and gender. Repeated-measures ANOVAs showed that besides a high intellect, pre-service teachers from both countries associated maladjustment with giftedness and showed lower self-efficacy for teaching the gifted. Results from structural equation modeling indicated that high intelligence ratings when paired with high maladjustment ratings were associated with lower teacher motivation. This result is of high practical relevance as perceived self-efficacy relates to actual teaching behavior in a classroom. Implications for teacher education in gifted education are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)134-160
    Number of pages27
    JournalGifted and Talented International
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • teacher motivation
    • teacher self-efficacy
    • teacher beliefs
    • cross-country study
    • teacher education

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