The 27th Global Virtual Meeting for Gifted Education - December 15th 2012

New perspectives on differentiation of instruction: the project approach

In this presentation Karen will describe the philosophy of the “Project Approach” (PA) for gifted students and we will discuss experiences in the application of the PA in the curriculum for preschool children at the University Primary School, an early childhood gifted education program at the department of Special Education at the University of Illinois in Urbana – Champaign.


In the PA the teacher guides students in order to make a deep study about a real topic. One of the objectives of the PA is to motivate students by making them participate in their own learning and be capable of making quality work. The teacher is a facilitator of this learning. The students are introduced to investigation as a method to answer their questions. The PA is sensitive to the student’s interests and their learning styles, and focuses on their strengths and talents.


Karen Bendelman is currently executive director at IGET-Network, an international network whose mission is to bring worldwide best practices in gifted education to countries where it is not incorporated into national policies. She obtained her Masters in Gifted Education from the University of Connecticut, where she specialized in curriculum and professional development. She has taught, prepared workshops, and given talks to teachers and educational psychologists in Latin America and the US, on topics such as modern theories in gifted education, curriculum compacting, the project approach, perfectionism and twice-exceptional students. Karen worked in several gifted programs in the US, at the University of Illinois and in Austin, Texas. She presented part of this work in oral presentations at the National Association for Gifted Children and the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children conferences.


Dr. Leticia Hernández de Hahn is a faculty member in the Department of Education at Niagara University and works in close collaboration with the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut. She has worked in the field of giftedness at various institutions in Latin America and in Europe, including the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, where she served as a core faculty member and academic advisor in the Psychology of Excellence program.