Accidental Success: Discovering 2e in My Classroom

I remember starting out as a new teacher, full of ideas and enthusiasm, excited to guide students, and ready to solve problems. I wasn’t so naive as to think I’d get everything right, but I was still surprised to find myself in many situations feeling anything but prepared.

Many of these involved trying to understand why a seemingly bright student was struggling to show evidence of strengths in school. For example, one student had a strong vocabulary and ability to describe vivid, creative scenes, but he couldn’t get his ideas down on paper. Another had exceptional logical reasoning and problem-solving ability, but she struggled with basic math skills. Often I felt I was doing the right thing, but reflection has shown otherwise. The more I continue to learn about supporting twice-exceptional students, the more incredulous I am about the gaps in my early training.

Teachers of the gifted, and especially of 2e students, recognize that many teacher education programs do a huge disservice to the teachers they train and the students they will serve. Little attention is given to gifted or special education, let alone twice-exceptionality. Many teachers are at a loss when encountering students who appear to be exceptionally bright and capable but struggle to make adequate progress. Lack of knowledge, awareness, and training can leave teachers unable to meet their students’ needs, and many of these students suffer frustration and low self-concept throughout their school experiences.

Identification of twice-exceptional students is complex, but recognition can be the first step to understanding, which paves the way for more effective teaching. The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) defines twice-exceptional st...


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About Ashleigh D'Aunoy

Ashleigh D’Aunoy is director of enrichment, innovation, and talent development at Episcopal School of Acadiana in Lafayette, LA. She has worn many hats in this role, including: directing the enrichment cluster program, leading design thinking projects with PK-5th grade students in the Idea Lab, collaborating with teachers on interdisciplinary project-based learning, teaching math for 2e students in a pullout program, and finding new and better ways to meet the needs of the school’s diverse learners. Ashleigh is currently pursuing an EdD through Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity.