Talent Development in Gifted Education
The last decades of the twentieth century saw the growth of a large body of research and development around the concept of intelligence. New concepts have facilitated new approaches to identifying and developing giftedness in young people. This digest presents a model for the education of gifted children and youth based on the concept of talent development. Specific ways to identify and develop talent are also discussed.
New Conceptions of Intelligence and Talent
A longstanding tradition in the field of gifted education assumes it is possible and desirable to identify children as "gifted" based on high IQ scores and/or high achievement test scores. Gifted programming developed from a notion of global and fixed intelligence and often resulted in exclusive one-size-fits-all programs of study. Such an approach disregarded the individual strengths and potential of some gifted students.
In contrast, the work of Sternberg (1991) and Gardner (1983) led to a diagnostic approach to ability, where specific talents or aptitudes became the focus for identification and services. Sternberg's theory proposed a number of components of intelligence in three broad categories: metacomponents (planning, monitoring, and evaluation), performance components (skills and abilities), and knowledge-acquisition components (processing and encoding). Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences (originally linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal) also elaborated on the view of human abilities as multidimensional.
Gagne's research (1985, 1993) and model for talent development explicitly set the stage for a focus on talents. He proposed an underlying set of aptitudes or gifts that are intellectual, creative, socio-affective, perceptual-motor, and other unspecified abilities. With these basic abilities the child interacts with catalysts such as teachers or parents and participates in learning, training, and practice experiences. With encouragement and support, a child's talents emerge from these experiences.
Reprinted with the permission of the Education Resources Information Center.
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