Chapter 5 – Cognitive Ability: Intelligence, Talent, and Achievement
Submitted by Katie Williams
There are two schools of thought about talent; both are up for much debate in the psychological and pedagogical world. One belief is that talent consists of the innate ability to perform a skill well. The other belief is that talent is about intense practice that is repeatedly performed correctly.
Whether you believe talent is natural or a practiced skill, fundamentals for developing a talent are consistent. Below are a list of ways educators can develop talent in students.
Several ways to develop talent consist of:
1) Persistence – Setting aside time to deliberately practice a skill and practice it correctly. Deliberate practice means taking on challenging tasks that promote higher level thinking. Educators should give immediate feedback so learners are practicing correctly. This feedback should inform the development of the skill rather than controlling the student. Focus on learning, not on making grades so students are more willing to take risks throughout the development process.
2) Opportunity – Each child should be given the opportunity to work at the highest level possible. This is why differentiation in the classroom is so important for academic talent to be developed. Distinct planning should go into classroom differentiation. Educators should be able to provide students with the necessary background knowledge to truly foster their development.
3) Accommodations – Learners are accommodated in honing a skill, whether it is art, music, athletic, or academic talent.
4) Motivation – Students have a drive to continue with a talent and have a willingness to practice, even when honing the skill becomes more difficult. Set goals with students to motivate them to keep going.
5) Passion – Create in students a love for the talent they will be practicing and lay the foundation for the talent. This requires teacher knowledge of student needs.
6) Collaboration and Support – Work with students, parents, and community to encourage the talent. Students need support from everyone involved in order to keep developing a skill and see continuing progress.
7) Effort – Learners need to put forth effort in order to develop a skill. Help them to see the connection between effort and achievement. Even if students have an innate ability, they must put forth effort to see results.
8) Relevance – In order to hone talent development and see optimal results. Relevant, accelerated, and high-interest activities create the most appropriate learning environment for talent development.
9) Celebrate – Learning should be celebrated! This creates a learning environment where students want to continually develop their talents.
Educators are critical to developing talents of their students. When educators understand that rigor, relevance and relationships come together to develop talent, students are sure to succeed at high levels of learning!
Bergin, C. A., & Bergin, D. A. (2012). Cognitive Ability: Intelligence, Talent and Achievement Child and Adolescent Development In Your Classroom (pp. 185-191). Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
Gagné, Françoys (2007, Spring). “Ten Commandments for Academic Talent Development,” Gifted Child Quarterly, Spring 2007 Vol 51 (pp. 93-118)
Landvogt J. Affecting eternity: Teaching for talent development. Roeper Review. June 2001;23(4):190. Available from: Academic Search Elite, Ipswich, MA. Accessed September 17, 2013.
Roberts, Julia Link (2008, March). “Talent Development: A ‘Must’ for a Promising Future,” The Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 89, No. 7 (pp. 501-506) Phi Delta Kappa International, http://www.jstor.org.proxy.mul.missouri.edu/stable/20442546
1) What are you doing to develop expertise in your students?
2) What are the qualifications for students to enter a gifted program? Should they be changed?
3) What talents do you have in your career? How are you developing your talents to better serve your students?
4) In what ways could school districts address the narrowing view of giftedness?