Twice-Exceptional Teacher Education Program

Twice-Exceptional Teacher Education Program

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Einstein. Thomas Edison. Michael Jordan. Justin Timberlake. Keira Knightley.  

These well-known and highly talented individuals had significant strengths that made them famous, but they also had disabilities, ranging from autism to attention deficit with hyperactivity disorder to dyslexia. They were “twice-exceptional” learners. Each of these individuals had an adult- a parent, coach, or teacher- who helped them learn what they COULD do and did not focus exclusively on what they could NOT do.  

These types of learners are also in today’s schools, but most schools and teachers are not trained in how to help them. Twice-Exceptional children, also known as 2e children, are at the intersection of Gifted Education, which focuses on talents, and Special Education, which focuses on deficits. These students are gifted, yet they also have a disability of some kind. “Disability” does not mean “unable”; it means that there are impediments to their learning.  

2ebeeBees are Twice-Exceptional 

For thousands of years, scientists had no idea how bees flew.  According to the known rules of aviation, flight for bees was impossible because their wings are too small for their bodies. Bees, of course, flew anyways.  In 2004, scientists from CalTech finally determined that bees use their wings in inefficient, but very unusual ways of spinning their wings to create vortices- essentially small tornadoes under their bodies. Bees are like twice-exceptional students- they have disabilities, but they have gifts and talents that allow them to create new ways of learning for themselves.  But unlike bees, not all twice-exceptional students learn how to "fly". They need trained teachers to help them learn to use their wings!  

In 2021, Cleveland State University initiated a search for a faculty member to start a “Twice-Exceptional Teacher Education”, integrating special education with gifted education to better meet the needs of gifted students with disabilities (2e students). In 2022, CSU hired Dr. Claire E. Hughes, a nationally-known expert in twice-exceptional education, with a master’s degree, a PhD, and classroom experience in gifted education and special education. She began in August 2022, continuing the gifted education program and starting the program development process for a range of graduate programs in twice-exceptional and gifted education. 

About the 2eTE Program

The Cleveland EDGE- Excellence and Diversity in Gifted Education 

The Twice-Exceptional Teacher Education Program (2eTE) is a leader in education nationally and internationally, transforming teachers and schools to believe that giftedness can be found in diverse schools, diverse students, and expressed in diverse ways. 

The 2eTE focuses on: 

  • Talent identification and development of students whose talents and gifts could be overlooked because of the impact of disability 
  • Mediation of the impact of disabilities- Recognition that disabilities cannot be cured or remediated, but the impacts felt can be mediated.  
  • Integration of special education and gifted education strategies and values 
  • Accessibility of the program to reach teachers and families across the globe 
  • Excellence of educational experiences so that students are challenged at appropriate levels and their learning enriched 
  • Social Justice so that teachers and schools can seek and value talents in diverse schools, diverse students, and the expression of such talents in diverse ways 
  • Collaboration of families, teachers, psychologists, policymakers and other stakeholders in determining educational experiences for students 

We are:

Deeply Passionate About: 

  • Helping twice-exceptional children, their families and their teachers recognize their abilities and develop them, mediating the impacts of disability 
  • Believing that the teacher is the crux of the educational experience to develop a child’s ability and belief in themselves.  
  • Exploring and understanding the academic, social and emotional needs of twice-exceptional individuals 
  • Communicating the needs of twice-exceptional students to the fields of gifted education, special education and general education 
  • Social Justice- expanding opportunities for students who have been overlooked, underserved and undervalued 
  • Conducting and using research to expand our knowledge of twice-exceptional children 
  • Ensuring that children from diverse backgrounds are recognized and valued

Focused on: 

  • Integration of special education and gifted education concepts and strategies 
  • In-depth knowledge of both special education and gifted education teacher preparation practices 
  • Connecting to and communicating the values and processes of the various fields to each other; collaboration and experience with national and international organizations in both special education and gifted education 

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