piirto pyramidWhat makes a TAG student succeed?

What aspects contribute to talent development and success in life?


Talent is not defined by a test score or a grade on a report card. Talent is not developed by one great teacher or one supportive parent.

Talent is influenced and supported at many levels by several different aspects of life. These aspects include:

1. The Genetic Aspect

People are born with certain dispositions, characteristics and personality traits. Twin studies show this. There are things that come naturally to who you are. These innate dispositions area basis or foundation for any potential success and talent development.

2. The Emotional Aspect: Personality Attributes

Working our way up towards talent development… who you are and what personality traits you have can lead to your talent development. Certain personality attributes exist in almost all highly successful and talented individuals across different domains. Studies show the following personalities traits are common among highly-talented individuals: creativity, imagination, insight, intuition, openness, overexcitabilities, passion, perceptiveness, perfectionism, persistence, resilience, risk-taking, self-discipline, self-efficacy, tolerance for ambiguity, and will.

3. The Cognitive Aspect: Intelligence

This is the IQ score. This is the 97% that the Oregon Department of Education recognizes in reading, math or intelligence. This is over-emphasized. Talent may be developed and an individual may become highly successful in life without this aspect, although it certainly does help.

4. The Talent Aspect

            “The talent itself — inborn, innate, mysterious, is absolutely necessary.” This is what becomes apparent in early childhood as an amazing ability to do something. It is the child that can throw a ball with unusual speed and accuracy, the astonishingly early reader, the students who can do advanced math in their heads.

5. The Vocational Aspect: Feeling a thorn or a calling

            Talent by itself does not mean success or talent development. A person needs the passion to follow their dreams and pursue a vocation that uses their talents. A person needs commitment to reach. A talent can incubate inside a person until their vocational aspect brings it out and begins to develop it.

6. The Environmental Aspect: 5 influences

            People are effected by their environment. This is true for everyone. There are five environmental factors that influence talent development. The first three have a larger impact than the smaller, last two.

            a. Home and Family – Talent seems to be nurtured in families. A family can nurture talent in children. However, if there is little family support, other environmental suns can nurture the talent.

            b. Community and Culture – This is necessary. The gifts and talents must be valued by the society at that time. There must be a need or desire in the greater society that values the talents and gifts offered by an individual in order for success to occur.

            c. School – Some specialty schools exist to further grown talent in individuals, especially as people get older (ex: art schools). Schools are one environmental aspect that can have a huge impact on building up or hindering talent development. Schools have an obligation to help students who may have been born with talent but who may have   other weak environmental influences (less support in family perhaps).

Smaller environmental influences, but still part of the aspect:

            d. Gender –This is an environmental influence based on perceptions of gender influences and skills in different talents. Some may be nurture more than others based on gender, or valued more or less based on gender.

            e. Chance – This can have a large influence. For example, the chance of where one is born can influence resources and support of talent.

*Through discussions with parents and students, we often add race and age to these smaller environmental influences.


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