Sunday, September 9, 2012

Talent: Learned or Innate?

If you haven't read The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle, you're missing out on some critical information when it comes to developing talent and mastering skills.  The sub-title of the book reads "Greatness Isn't Born.  It's Grown."  The book is filled with real-life examples and data that support the author's findings that talent is more about "deep practice" than a natural ability.

Of course, I don't want to give everything away, but I do want to list some of my favorite quotes from the book as their relevance speaks volumes to those of us who teach and learn:
  • "Experiences where you're forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them...end up making you swift and graceful without your realizing it."
  • "One real encounter, even for a few seconds, is far more useful than several hundred observations."
    • (This is one reason why I believe teacher education needs more hands-on experience in the beginning, rather than postponing experience for the student teaching semester in the final year)
  • "(2) Myelin is the insulation that wraps these nerve fibers and increases signal strength, speed, and accuracy. (3) The more we fire a particular circuit, the more myelin optimizes that circuit, and the stronger, faster, and more fluent our movements and thoughts become."
  • "...every expert in every field is the result of around ten thousand hours of committed practice."
  • It is estimated that "Mozart, by his sixth birthday, had studied 3,500 hours of music with his instructor-father..."
  • " 'Great teachers focus on what the student is saying or doing...and are able, by being so focused and by their deep knowledge of the subject matter, to see and recognize the inarticulate stumbling, fumbling effort of the student who's reaching toward mastery, and then connect to them with a targeted message.' " (Ron Gallimore, UCLA professor emeritus)
  • " attention to what your children are fascinated by, and praise them for their effort."
See for more information about the book.

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