robinellen (robinellen) wrote,

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Talent and Giftedness...

I was chatting with a friend last week, and the way she reacted to a couple things I said made me think about talent and what that means.

Our neighborhood school is the center school for the Gifted and Talented (GT) program. That means that they have entire classes and curriculum written for kids who test into the program. I've never really liked the name of the program, because I believe that every child (person) is talented in some fashion. Obviously, they can't all be academic talents, and some are hidden pretty well -- but I do believe they're there.

My friend doesn't consider herself gifted, I don't think. Her son is in the 6th grade GT class, and he scored very high (upper 90s) in all areas on the test. But she thinks of herself as a perfectionist and attributes her abilities to that trait. My mom, also a perfectionist, attributes her successes to that trait, as well. She even has trouble admitting that her artistic ability might be a talent.

I'm not sure where the difference between *gifted* and *talented* lies -- I've never really thought of myself as gifted, either. But I know I have some talent. Talents you're born with, imo. They're things you can do with less work than the average person -- at least, this is my definition. By that definition, then, I'm talented at piano, photography, writing (ha).

But my friend was saying that she believes I'm "gifted" in writing. So what does that mean? I think, to her, it means that I've never had to think about how to write something -- it's instinctive. When I was assigned a report in school, even at a young age, I automatically did it correctly. I never wrote first drafts until I wrote my thesis as a senior in college. Even there, I only had one 'first draft,' and I basically typed it into the computer without changing anything.

To me, though, that sounds like talent. I think giftedness is something more -- something sparkly ;) As a parent, I do admit that I see giftedness in my kiddos (hehe). It's not necessarily academic, however. D is definitely gifted in music. He understands music, and when he sits down to learn a piano piece, the music gets inside him -- he plays beyond his years (musically speaking -- technically, he's ahead of your average 10-year old, but he's not a prodigy). E's gift is in art -- and it's very similar to D's gift. She's not technically advanced (she is a little bit but not a prodigy), but the art is part of her. She actually sees the world in a different way, and when she expresses herself through art, it's unique and beyond an 8-year old.

So I wonder where talent comes in compared to 'giftedness'? Do you think there's a difference? If you could have your kids or yourself when you were a child in a special program, what do you think it should emphasize? Do you see giftedness in yourself?
Tags: talent
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