A talent is more than a natural ability or an inborn thing. As much as playing soccer, singing, or math skills come naturally to some kids, talent has to be developed more often than not. Unfortunately, many parents and their kids don’t understand this simple fact. Many see the perfection that is portrayed by professional soccer players or singers on TV and forget the long months of practice that those professionals put in just to perfect their art. As a teacher, you have a role to play in reminding your students that they must put in hours of hard work and practice if they are to discover and grow their talents. Let’s take a deeper look at 5 proven ways to uncover and develop your students’ talents in the classroom.
1. Provide opportunities
You must give a talent enough room to develop and flourish. And because a kid might not be getting enough openings to develop his talents at home, you could have a bigger responsibility in your hands than you imagine.
Note that if a talent is suppressed throughout a kid’s formative years, chances of it developing to its full potential dwindle exponentially. In that case, you need to be very observant of the things your students love to do within the classroom and then help each kid pursue his/her interests by teaching him new skills, giving him exposure to topics relevant to his talents, and offering him a chance to take part in talent-building activities.
If a kid has a hidden talent in playing a given instrument, for example, encourage her to join the school music club where her talent can emerge and blossom. If a kid is great at telling stories, help her hone her skills in debate and journalism by enrolling her in the school debate club.
2. Help them find role models
Start by being a good role model and a reliable source of inspiration. Follow that up by helping your students find the right role models. If the kid can dance, find a celebrated dancer who has excelled in the field not only due to her dancing skills but also because of her high moral standing. Encourage the kid to mimic the role model’s skills, but be careful not to expect perfection. Being his/her cheerleader will propel her to a higher level of skill.
3. Organize talent programs
These programs are good at recognizing the signs of talented children. Accept that each one of your students is gifted in a unique way, even if some of them don’t seem to be talented in any way. Make it mandatory for all learners to join at least one program per semester
4. Open her doors for background enrichment
Your job is to broaden and enrich the kid’s understanding of the skills he has and the ones he aspires to attain. You will inspire his drive-by helping him familiarize with the achievements of other people who have/had the same abilities as he does. Let her experience the achievements and techniques of experts firsthand and whenever possible, give him a chance to witness them in action. Arrange a theater trip for the kids who love acting and then when you return, ask them to mimic the actors they interacted with. If a kid loves swimming, provide her with fun facts and insights that will open her doors for background enrichment.
5. Foster a healthy teacher-student relationship
As long as you have to implement rules and maintain top levels of discipline, you should be careful not to come out as an authoritarian. Try to build a healthy relationship with each student. Show every student love and support even in the midst of a rollercoaster of mistakes and setbacks. If you have children in the classroom who might have speech problems, make sure to help them with speech therapy. This can be done by coordinating efforts with their speech therapist. Work closely with them to help them find their talent so that they do not feel left out because of their problem. This approach bolsters a safe space for learning and makes it easier for kids to approach you with thought-provoking inquiries. That healthy relationship will set the stage for continued growth.
As we conclude, it is important to appreciate that each kid has unique skills and talents that you will only discover when you walk beside the kid. The most fulfilling part of being an educator is that every child that passes through your hands is a chance for you to make the world a better place. That is why you must put in tons of effort in developing each child’s natural aptitudes.