Gifts are something that you were born with. For example, knowing something about your existence that is explainable in human words. For example the gift of perception. You know when something just is not right, something is out of whack. It is not based on any skill or ability. It is innate. It was gifted to you with a big red bow and stuffed under the tree in a box with your name on it long before you were even formed in the womb. It was predestined to be part of who you are. These gifts lead us down roads we did not expect and we find ourselves manifesting them in ways that pull us out of our comfort zone, but are effective at it nonetheless.
Talents are something that you develop, that were part of your DNA structure, but you have to develop them yourself as you cultivate them with hard grit, determination or dedication to something. These talents often interweave in your life to create your life plan like in what sports you like, if you play the piano, the jobs you take and the profession you eventually choose. These become your strengths-what you are good at.
They are often used interchangeably but they are not the same thing however, both need to be grown and strengthened in you. You continue to build on these gifts and talents as your life goes on.
True genius DOES NOT mean prodigy.
Angela Maiers explains it like this. Genius is taking your passions and your compassion and putting them together to find your true purpose and destiny in this world. Here is Ms. Maiers on EduAllStars Episode 9 with Chris Kesler and Todd Nesloney.
Qualities Of A True Genius:
A true genius goes deep into exploring all the dead ends that people give you and say that you can't go beyond.
A true genius faces failure with a steadfast determination to rise above.
A true genius has an inexplicable drive and passion that is self driven.
How Can Teachers Cultivate True Genius?
As teachers we must do a better job of cultivating this genius in our students. The question is how?
I believe that it starts with whole brain teaching and nurturing the confidence of the student.
Here is my earlier post on whole brain teaching and my Haiku Deck for my Defense. http://seedsforlearning.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-review-of-brain-based-core-principles.html
Bethel University M.Ed Defense
I also believe that it comes from having a strong philosophy and personal mission statement of education that is solidly founded in student first decision making. Here is mine.
Philosophy of Education:
YOU MATTER! You have a genius in you that is unique and special to you! I celebrate that! I will teach in a way that promotes growth through play and learning.
I as a professional educator recognize that each child is an one-in-a-million, never-seen-before individual, that all children are creative and that all children can succeed.
Therefore, I will respect the individual needs of children for whom I have the sacred honor of working with which includes but is not limited to the following: fostering a caring and creative environment as well as emphasizing the social, emotional, physical, intellectual development of each child.
I believe that each child has a genius and a passion special to them. I also believe that passion with compassion creates world changers.
I believe that great things can accomplished through cooperation between school, community, parents, and students.
I believe you matter!
Is it going to be hard to do these two simple steps of whole brain teaching and a student first philosophy? Yes. It is. However, just because it is hard, does not mean it will not be worth it.
**I dedicate this post to a true genius, Mr. Robin Williams 1951-2014. A true genius who knew how to use his gift to make people laugh and brought smiles to children and troops. A man who had the innate ability of comedy and timing, but who also worked hard to develop his talents in the field. He was a student of comedy and his love for learning kept him fresh. Depression is a demon and comes to steal, to rob and to destroy, and that is why it is so vital to tell people with our words and back it with our actions that people matter.