Recently, I was privileged to hear Dr. Françoys Gagné give a presentation on his Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent 2.0 (DMGT) in Second Life [see here]. Although I had read many papers by Professor Gagné, nothing could replace listening to him explain it in person (virtually) and answer questions from the audience.
With all the recent discussion of talent development in the U.S., the timing of this presentation could not have been better. I was immediately struck by the different approach taken by Gagné and understood why those in other countries did not understand the resistance to talent development in the U.S. by many leading gifted education professionals.
Gifted children … our children … are more than a product to be exploited. They have feelings and needs beyond their academic abilities. As a parent, this is often seen as more important than raising the next Nobel Laureate … although a Nobel Prize in the family would be nice.
The DMGT addresses both giftedness and talent as a whole package. Fancy that! It’s always nice to see academics get it right. It is not an either/or proposition. Giftedness is the possession of natural abilities – a promise of achievement when coupled with effort. Will all children who are identified as gifted achieve? No. Is it the end of the world? No. Could a child’s achievement change the course of history? Sure. As parents, it is our role to learn about and understand giftedness so you can support and nurture your child. It is in the end, however, your child’s decision whether or not to make the effort.
Professor Gagné developed a chart [shown above] to show the process that transforms giftedness into talent via catalysts ~ environmental, intrapersonal and developmental. His model includes the top 10% of learners among age peers – he casts a wider net than many of his colleagues. This is reflected in his definition of giftedness, “Giftedness is the possession of outstanding aptitudes (natural/untrained abilities) in at least one ability domain, to a degree that places an individual among the top 10% of age peers.”
This model acknowledges the existence of ‘giftedness’ and ‘talent’ as aptitudes and competencies while defining three shared characteristics. As both are human abilities, they target those who are different from the norm, and that difference exists due to outstanding behaviors.
The DMGT covers many bases included in other models. It represents a child-friendly approach to understanding giftedness. The columns on the model are detailed and straight-forward. Gifted Education is a field of many different approaches and it is hoped that the reader will be helped to better understand them with information presented in this blog.
Being able to hear Gagné explain his model was priceless. If you would like to join me at the next Virtual Conference in Second Life, please take a moment to visit this website to find out how. Hope to see you there!