Zia Hassan

Gifted And Talented

When I was in elementary school, I was labelled “gifted & talented.” What this essentially meant is that I had shown some level of acquiescence to the policies and procedures set forth by my school. I achieved decent grades and was seen as a high achieving student. I eventually ended up winning some kind of academic award signed by the president (Bill Clinton at the time) and at the awards ceremony all of the parents took pictures as the 6 of us held our awards.

But many educators have realized the fallacy here, which is that all students are gifted, and therefore have the potential to be talented. Said another way, we all have gifts, or natural inclinations that make us valuable to the world. And we all have challenges that live right on the other side of those gifts. It’s on the adults in our life to recognize these double edged swords and teach us to use them appropriately.

Someone who talks a lot in class is also a great verbalist. What if we let them create YouTube videos instead of writing a paper silently to express the same point?

Someone who is physically aggressive is also confident. What if we channeled their aggression into some cause that was important to them? And what if they started a non-profit one day as a result?

The point is that everyone has a gift, but that gift is a seed. And we as parents, teachers, and educators can water that seed and can facilitate its growth, which then leads to talent.

And one day when people tell us that we have talent, we can correct them and say that we acquired talent as a result of someone noticing our gift and encouraging us to cultivate it.