Five Dimensions of Talent

“Important as it is for all students to know about the history and literature of their land, or about the major biological and physical principles that govern the world, it is at least as important for students to identify their strengths and to pursue areas in which they are comfortable and can expect to achieve a great deal.” (Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons, By Howard Gardner)

Scientists have spent years studying the phenomenon of outstanding ability or talent, trying to identify a set of factors that influence the development of talent. Many theories and models of outstanding talent have been created and the very fact that there are several different theories suggests that the phenomenon of talent is not one that can be easily and precisely described. However, one can find some common features in the existing theories and approaches to talent. The most frequently-mentioned factors affecting the development of talent are: creativity, special abilities, high motivation, commitment to work, adequate personality structure (including, in particular, the high level of ambition and self-esteem, a supportive environment, a high level of general intelligence, and ... pure luck.

Let's try to "translate" these factors into some tangible indicators that can be measured. General intelligence and creativity are self-explanatory - we simply examine the general level of intelligence of children. The same is true for special talents. Next, we have high motivation and commitment to work. In the case of children, however, it is better to talk about interests, preferences, and intentions. Motivation and commitment to work do not have a chance to occur if the child is not interested in a particular activity.

And how can the structure of personality best be addressed? On this point, we will examine the nature of children and, depending on their temperament, suggest parents develop in them a high level of ambition while maintaining high self-esteem.

That leaves us the factors of a favorable environment and pure luck or chance. As far as luck or chance, we do not have much influence, but we can help the formation of a favorable environment, providing parents, grandparents and caregivers information about how to support children in their development.

In this way, we obtained five key dimensions of talent: intelligence, innate abilities, interests, temperament, and the environment. We will explore the first four dimensions through parents or guardians, using specially designed tasks in the form of play. Based on the results of these evaluations, we will present an approximate diagnosis of the child's ability or talent, or at least specify the direction of talent. Together with the description of talents, we will provide the parents or guardians tips, suggestions, and exercises to encourage and foster the development of discovered talents, capabilities, and preferences of the child.