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François Gagne is an important researcher in the area of Gifted and Talented children. Gagne states that Talent is actually developed from Giftedness; so what is the difference and how does it work?
Giftedness is the untrained, spontaneous, expressed superior natural ability which a child must have in at least one area. The child must be naturally within the top 10% of their peers in their area of natural ability.
Talent is the superior mastery of developed abilities or skills and knowledge in at least one area. The child must still also rank among the top 10% of their peers in the area which they are talented in.
There are four domains of Giftedness:
Most often Talents emerge from Giftedness in the form of a specific skill. For instance; if a child is gifted in Sensorimotor skills they may develop a talent in sports, or if they are gifted in Creative skills they may develop a talent in the arts. However, a child can be Gifted, but may never develop a Talent, this can cause the phenomenon of "Academic Underachievement". There are several things which can contribute to Talent either developing or being hindered. These are categorised into two groups: Intrapersonal Catalysts and Environmental Catalysts.
These are partially caused by hereditary predispositions and genetics and are grouped into two categories; Psychological, which includes the self driven motivation and volition of the child and Physical, which includes self management and differing behaviours.
These are influences from outside of the child's own thoughts. They are also divided into two categories; Macroscopic which includes the child's geographic, demographic and sociological influences and Microscopic which includes family size, personality, parenting styles and socio-economics. These environmental catalysts also include other people; parents, siblings, teachers and peers can all influence the Gifted child either positively or negatively and can have significant effects on how the child's Talent develops.
Gagne, F. (2000). A Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT). http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/policies/gats/assets/pdf/poldmgt2000rtcl.pdf
Three Recommendations for Teaching Artistically Talented StudentsRecommendation 1:
As a teacher you should focus on each student's talents and develop ways to meet these needs. You need to also be critically reflective about your teaching and encourage your students to set high goals and feel competent and confident. Encourage gifted and talented children to be reflective in their art making - why are they making art and what is the context?
As a teacher you should encourage gifted and talented children to feel confident in looking at and talking about art. Allow them to investigate different world of art and initiate questions and discussions. Create possibilities for them to interact with people who make art and discuss it with them. By giving them the opportunity for critical inquiry students can develop problem - solving skills and become aware of what is happening in the art world, both at home and abroad.
Empower other teachers to develop their educational voice; privately, collaboratively and publicly. By doing this you can create a group of teachers who have the potential to promote art talent development both in their community and nationally. This can result in excellent education for all students, developing strategies to meet the needs of artistically gifted and talented students should be high priority within your school. You can lead the way, you can make the difference.
Clark, G & Zimmerman, E. (2004). Teaching Talented Art Students - Principles and Practices. New York: Teachers College Press.