From potential to expertise- Pt.2 of Helping children develop talent+ #32

+ GenWise Dec 2021 Program | Upcoming Events

Quote of the Week

“Giftedness is developmental- in the beginning stages, potential is the key variable; in later stages, achievement is the measure of giftedness; and in fully developed talents, eminence is the basis on which this label is granted.”

-Rethinking Giftedness and Gifted Education- R. Subotnik, P. Olszewski‐Kubilius, Frank C. Worrell


Hi, this is the GenWise team- we bring out this newsletter to help parents and educators to complement the work of formal schools and associated systems. We can help our children thrive in these complex times only by exchanging ideas and insights and collaborating on this. We are also a founder-member of the Gifted India Network- if you are interested in issues related to gifted education and talent development, an easy way to keep updated about talks, programs and resources is to join the Gifted India Network telegram channel (https://t.me/GiftedIndia).

This week’s main post ‘From potential to expertise- Pt.2 of Helping children develop talent’, is the second of a 3 part-series that highlights key points from the inaugural expert talk of the Gifted India Network by Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubelius, Head of the Center for Talent Development, Northwestern University. The talk was titled ‘The Importance of Non-Cognitive Skills in Talent Development’ and the recording of the full session can be accessed here.

You are invited to be an early member and beta-tester of the GenWise Club (ages 13-90), a community of interested students, parents, and educators. Check out this link for more about the club and how to join it. It is open to all in the current beta phase. 

Join this conversation on learning, by commenting on our posts, or joining our club community for more regular and closer interactions.

Contents

  1. From potential to expertise- Pt.2 of Helping children develop talent

  2. GenWise Residential Program, Dec 2021

  3. Upcoming External Events

From potential to expertise- Pt.2 of Helping children develop talent

This post is the second of a 3 part-series that highlights key points from the inaugural expert talk of the Gifted India Network by Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubelius, Head of the Center for Talent Development, Northwestern University. The talk was titled ‘The Importance of Non-Cognitive Skills in Talent Development’ and the recording of the full session can be accessed here.

The 3 parts in this series on ‘Helping Children develop talent’ are-

  1. Identifying ability

  2. From potential to expertise

  3. Coaching for psychosocial skills

In the first part we looked at the how specific abilities emerge as children grow, what signs parents and educators can look for, and the importance of using assessment tools to identify the same. In this second part, we look at what kind of opportunities we should provide at different developmental stages to help the child develop this potential into expertise. In the third and concluding part of the series, we look at the emotional and social challenges gifted students face and how parents can support them in developing the psychosocial skills necessary for achievement.

Talent domains have different paths and trajectories.

Different talent domains have different start, peak and ends. An awareness of these trajectories is helpful because it guides us on when to identify a particular talent and when to begin providing relevant exposure and coaching. For example, a talent for playing the violin can emerge in childhood vis-a-vis a talent for vocal arts, which typically emerges in mid-adolescence. Similarly in the academic domain, talent for math can show up in childhood whereas talent for subjects like psychology and economics is likely only in the adolescent years.

The path from potential to competency to expertise requires opportunity.

Talent development is a developmental process from the stage of potential to competency to expertise to scholarly/ creative productivity. Very few of us reach the highest level of creative productivity but most of us can achieve expertise if our abilities are recognized at the earliest opportunity, and the levers of opportunity, effort, practice, study and motivation are available/ used.

“Opportunity is where we cultivate interest and motivation”

-Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubelius

The opportunities needed at each developmental level are different, as summarised in the slide below. For example in the early years, ‘evaluative experiences’ can actually have a negative effect. The ‘dose’ of opportunity that is needed is also important. No talent development happens completely in school- opportunities for creative problem solving, authentic projects and exposure to new domains typically come through out of school programs and experiences. Watch Dr. Paula speak about this in more detail in this 4 minute clip.

What Parents and educators can do

Parents can do the following things to recognise abilities and provide relevant opportunities-

  1. Fuel interests

  2. Provide exposure without over-scheduling—Play is important!!

  3. Pay attention to child's interests, patterns of performance as they grow and develop—let them lead the way

  4. Access opportunities outside of school

  5. Provide support for interests at home

  6. Advocate for child at school (e.g. acceleration) to receive appropriate services

  7. Don't expect high performance in all areas (we spoke in the last post about how higher IQ individuals tend to show greater variability in terms of specific abilities)

Even when abilities are recognized and opportunity is available, there can be a gap between potential and achievement on account of the lack of necessary psychosocial skills. How we can help children develop these psychosocial skills and bridge the gap between potential and expertise will be covered in the next and last post in this series.

GenWise Residential Program, Dec 2021

With the COVID situation showing significant improvement, we will be running a 2-week residential program from Dec 18-30, 2021 at the Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence in Bangalore for children currently in Grade 8, 9 or 10. The recommended duration is 2 weeks, though participants are free to choose either week. 2 course options are offered each week as listed below. Ei ASSET Talent Search (ATS) Gold, Silver and Bronze scholars are eligible for the advanced courses. If you do not have ATS scores but are interested in the advanced courses, contact us. Early bird offers are available for registrations completed before Nov 15, 2021. For more details and to register, visit the program page

Our residential programs are much more than the ‘academic enrichment component’ the above courses represent. The benefits of attending a GenWise Residential Program are highlighted here.  GenWise co-founder, Vishnu Agnihotri, has also shared his personal take in a previous edition of this newsletter titled 'The Magic of Residential Programs for Children'.

We have very high standards in ensuring the safety of children. Several young athletes (age 9 and upwards) have been staying at the Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence Residences for the last few months- a child-friendly facility with strong COVID protocols for all residents and visitors.

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Upcoming External Events

  1. Learning with Interactive Neural Networks- Dr. Farhat Habib

    This talk is targeted at students in the age range 13-17. This talk is part of a series of talks in the 'Agastya Junior Data Scientists Club'. The session will be on Saturday, 13th November, 6pm-7pm. Please register here to receive a zoom link by email.

    The Guest Speaker this month is Dr. Farhat Habib who will talk about Learning with Interactive Neural Networks.

    Farhat Habib is a Director in Data Science at Glance (an Inmobi group company) and works on using machine learning to obtain insights from large scale data. Farhat has a PhD and MS in Physics from The Ohio State University. Prior to Inmobi he worked on solving logistics challenges at Locus.sh. Before that he was at Inmobi working on improving ad targeting on mobile devices and prior to that he was at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune leading research on biological sequence data.

    The 'Agastya Junior Data Scientists Club' had about 100 students participating in a 6-week long course on data science from Jul to Sep 2021. Students continue to be part of a community for 1 year beyond the end of the course to learn more about the subject. The talks and interactions in this community are open to all students now and not restricted to just the students who were part of the course.

    GenWise developed and delivered the course on data science for Agastya’s highly able learners program. GenWise Mentor, Navin Kabra, developed and facilitated the course, supported by a team of teaching assistants. The Junior Data Scientists Club is supported by Mytrah Energy and Pravaha Foundation.

  2. Ei ASSET Talent Search (ATS) 2021- This is India’s premier above-level test for identification of gifted students that is recognized by world-class gifted programs of the likes of Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development, Purdue University’s Gifted Education Research and Resource Institute (GER2I), University of California, Berkeley - Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP) and GenWise, who recognize ATS scores in their program application process.

    The test can be taken by children in grades 5-8 who have qualified for this through their performance in the grade- level ASSET test they might have taken earlier.

    Ei ASSET Talent Search test dates:
    India: 21st, 27th and 28th November 2021
    Rest of the World: 20th November 2021

    To know more or to enrol, please visit: www.assettalentsearch.com 

    If students have not already taken the grade-level ASSET test, they can take the Ei Supertest between Dec 15-20, 2021. The top 15% of students in Ei Supertest will be invited to take the next round of ATS in February 2022.

  3. All Girls Math Nurture Camp 2021 is a rigorous 7-day online training program in mathematics for middle school girls (12 to 15 years of age) selected through an entrance test. The top students from this camp will also be selected for future mentoring programs with RAM Foundation. The course starting Dec 26, 2021 is free and the fee for the entrance test is a nominal Rs. 150. For more details, click here. The entrance test is on 28th Nov, 2021 (10:00 am to 12:00 pm IST) and the last date for applications is Nov 18, 2021.