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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In the Whirled: The case against talent

Photo: Tiffany Lewis
, freelance writer for Deseret News reports, "We need to debunk the idea of innate talent. Hard work and a growth mindset are what set us up for success."

After a recent violin recital, my husband approached my son’s teacher.
“These are such talented kids,” he said.

The teacher looked at him and frowned.

“Talent has nothing to do with it,” she said. “It’s about hard work and good technique.”

A mentee of the famed Shinichi Suzuki, my son’s teacher has adopted the core of Suzuki’s philosophy — that every child is capable of becoming an excellent musician.
Suzuki is famous for launching thousands of pint-sized kids into the throes of music performance. But for him, it wasn’t about the violin. He believed that anyone, through repetition, correct technique and continual listening, could become a proficient musician.

“Talent is no accident of birth," Suzuki once said. "In today’s society a good many people seem to have the idea that if one is born without talent, there is nothing he can do about it; they simply resign themselves to what they consider to be their fate.”

Like Suzuki, I dislike the word “talent.” By definition, talent means “a special natural aptitude or skill.” It implies that people spring from the ground knowing how to draw, sing, create computer code, repair an engine or kick a soccer ball.

Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford, is famous for coining what she calls the “growth mindset.” Those with a growth mindset are willing to learn, make mistakes and stretch themselves over and over again.

On the opposite end are those with a “fixed mindset.” These are the ones who say, “I’m not good at math.” They pigeon-hole themselves into a series of cans and cannots. By so doing, they limit, or “fix” their own capabilities.
Source: Deseret News