Day 5: Talent development

Talents can easily be a controversial topic in education.  Let me define talent.  Mike Rutherford described as a superhighway instead of bumpy country road.  There are just certain things that are easier than other for all of us.   I think of my talent of cooking.  In the beginning, my dad said, “I was as good as the recipe.”  Overtime my cooking evolved.  I cooked more and read more.  My neural pathways became strengthened.  I now know how to read a few recipes and can make it my own.  It follow Gladwell’s 10,000 hours theory.

On the other hand, I am not what so ever talented at roller skating.  Picture this, that I still hold the wall when I skate. I did not continue working at, actually I avoided roller skating.  Over time more of the neural pathways required to roller skate became snipped.  So now I worry that my kids will want me to take them roller skating.  When I heard Mike Rutherford talk about talents and non-talents, he said that you are only half as good as you could be with your talent, but you can only get a little bit better at your non-talent.

With that information in mind, I can’t remember who said on my twitter feed said(if know who it please let me know) something to the effect that:


This statement is profound.  Every student comes to school with tons of latent talents.  What do I mean by latent talents?  Talents that the person does not know he/she possess.  Our job as teachers are to identify student talents so they become aware of them and then help them develop them.  Think back to my talent of cooking.

Every teacher also has latent talents.  It also our job as leaders to develop our teachers’ talents and teach them how to deal with their non-talents.  So when you see that teacher who can sequence questions to accomplish a goal effectively, he is only half as good as he could be at questioning.  Imagine if a leader identifies this talent and helps him develop this talent.  Imagine how his students will benefit.

That same fictional teacher is has a non-talent for turning in his lesson plans.  He will only get a little bit better at that.  What would happen if the leader instead focused on his non-talent?  How would this impact students?

I want to be the first person.  My goal is to help teachers identify their talent in their teaching and help them develop their talents. I love to do this by asking those reflective questions.  Here are my favorites:

  • What happened when …?
  • How did you know to do that?
  • Why did that work?

So this week I challenge you to find another educator’s talent and let them know that you see it.

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