I have written a great deal in this blog about the impact CCK08 had upon my thinking and practice. Recently I had an opportunity to catch up with one of my on-line companions from CCK08, Carmen Tschofen. We came together to discuss talent and giftedness. Our conversation drew upon some exchanges we had during CCK08 and subsequently after I wrote this post about nature and nurture.
I was fascinated to learn from Carmen about the Lighthouse Program in Minnesota (some background information here). A Lighthouse Program student is:
In possession of an insatiable curiosity
Drawn to complex ideas
Comfortable with ambiguity in learning
Self–directed in learning
Eager to learn the practice of experts from discipline
Capable of working effectively with team members
Capable of a sustained focus to resolve questions
Recognized as highly able in performance, as well as, potential
Currently 7-18 years of age
Accelerated pace of learning
Non graded, multi-aged grouping
Opportunities for On-line Learning
Opportunities to experience the practices of experts
Depth of study in complex Inquiry
Student focused learning
Teacher/facilitator focused on students’ learning
Connections to rigorous high school options
Collaborative and Competitive Opportunities
Meeting Carmen and her colleagues gave me a wonderful opportunity to explore and reflect on generic issues around talent and gift that had prompted me to write about performance and share some early ideas about the identification process.
Our conversation used Elluminate and this is a recording of our hour-long exchange that linked early morning Australia and lunchtime Minnesota.
During that time we discussed:
2:40 Supporting and defining talent on an individual basis
5:15 The role of personal volition/motivation/environment
8:30 The importance of allowing time for self-discovery and play
14:30 On being the same/being different
20:00 The meaning of growth potential and potential triggers for growth
23:10 Resilience, persistence, and the issues with electronic entertainment
27:50 Understanding personal talent development through biography and narrative
30:30 Who guides talent development?
33:40 Values and ethics in coaching and mentoring
36:10 The “Birth Year Effect,” the development of talent over time, and “the system”
40:00 Relationships and life lessons
43:00 The role of deliberate practice, the problem of instant gratification, and computer games
48:35 The difficulties of “elite performer” lifestyles, the problems with shallow praise
51:50 Extrinsic rewards and the issues of ownership and autonomy
54:00 Self-ownership and self-accountability
I really enjoyed the hour I spent with Carmen and her friends. It was quite difficult to go back to bed (4 a.m.) after such a stimulating conversation. I am hopeful that this is the start of a close link with the Lighthouse Program. Sport has a great deal to learn from innovative educators within and beyond its cultural contexts.
I am convinced that any approach to talent and gift must have a profoundly personal focus that celebrates learning biographies. I am keen to explore the interrelationship between context and opportunity that can permeate personal stories.
Girls skipping at an athletics carnival