Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Julie Robinson


This research explores the perceptions of gifted specialists and middle school honors teachers to determine which elements from gifted pedagogy can be used to motivate gifted adolescents in an honors classroom setting. In addition, the priorities of gifted specialists and honors classroom teachers were compared to highlight key patterns. The Delphi approach was used to facilitate three rounds of anonymous collaboration between the two expert groups. Three priorities emerged through the collaboration: 1) critical thinking, 2) acceleration, and 3) goals of the class and curriculum. While social emotional issues were priorities in initial rounds, no social emotional priorities were selected upon completion of the final round of collaboration. Honors teachers did not prioritize social-emotional concerns throughout the study, while gifted specialists frequently ranked the social-emotional priorities at the top of their list. The discrepancy between the two expert groups and their perception of social-emotional needs of gifted students parallels previous research. The findings offered insights into what pedagogical strategies should be prioritized to best motivate gifted adolescents in an honors classroom and served as the focus for a forty-five-hour professional training for teachers looking to obtain a gifted endorsement from their state teaching certification.