Meeting the Needs of Mathematically Adolescent Gifted Students in Mixed-Ability Classrooms in the Private Education Sector of UAE: A Case Study

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Gifted education is not considered a very recent field in America and Europe but it is probably still in its premature stages in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). With its official foundation in 1971, the UAE is considered by today’s standards a modern state that has transformed its oil-generating wealth to serve the needs of its citizens. The UAE has two main educational sectors: governmental and private. In the recent years, particular attention has been awarded to the area of special education where the needs of students with learning disabilities have been neglected for decades. Unfortunately, the same cannot be mentioned about the area of gifted education which is typically a branch of special education. This research hopes to shed some light on this part of special education. In particular, this research aims to explore the provisions available for mathematically adolescent gifted students in mixed-ability classrooms. A special attention is given to those who attend the tenth grade in the private educational sector. On paper, there are of course, many provisions that can be applied to meet the needs of mathematically gifted students but one has to apply suitable ones that fit in within this culture. The research was done and compiled through a thorough investigation of an adolescent gifted student through the framework of a case study. This case study was conducted at a private school in Dubai. The school has mixed-abilities classrooms and genders are segregated at higher grades. It is important to note that this research paper, however, is not intended to focus on the gifted student individually. Instead, it is meant to reflect on the private educational system as a whole. The research offers some recommendations which are based on its findings to improve the way private educational system meet the needs of mathematically gifted students. It also calls for decision makers to open doors for gifted education to be implemented. This research does not escape without severe limitations.
gifted students, mixed-ability classrooms, private education sector, United Arab Emirates (UAE), adolescents, gifted education, special education, educational system