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Do all children have a talent?

In this entertaining and interesting TED talk, Ken Robinson states how he believes that all children have a talent. But how can this be said for sure? Do we have evidence of this? How can we claim that traits work like in the "Sims" games when one has a certain number of points to put into categories? For example, creating a character who is incredibly sporty may have to sacrifice points from the arty category and vice versa.

I would like to believe this yes and through my own eyes I have seen that some, maybe even going as far as to say "many", children have a talent. But how can we say that every child has a talent without any evidence? It's like when people say "there is a love for everybody out there". I would really like to believe that but these people don't give any reason to.

This thought is not a particularly nice one but one I feel must be discussed - please prove me wrong

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    Nov 21 2013: I think there are somethings in life for which we should not ask for evidence but believe those. Especially if it is for the benefit of the society or a cause. If we do not believe in it then we will not be able to help those Childs exploring their talents and become better.
    • Nov 21 2013: I like this idea a lot. It reminds me of this TED talk that you might enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB2OegI6wvI . Although her idea may seem controversial at first, it is logical and very similar to the point that you are expressing. However, this is believing that everyone has a talent so that we don't take the chance of talentless as an excuse for not achieving. We should never believe a statement without evidence.
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    Nov 21 2013: The idea that there is an equality at birth, or that nature gives a fair share to everybody is wishful thinking.

    On the other hand, any child can get interested in quite some aspects and become skilled or talented at it. I think that Ken is leaning more to that as well.
    During education and development, we might see what the interests of a child are. Ignoring it is probably less beneficial than encouraging it.

    And of course, the talent can range from sewing to dancing, abstract thinking, writing, sports,... and some talents are considered better or more useful... So steering this (evoking interest in science or programming or healthcare) has some clear benefits without necessarily pushing children into submission.

    And of course we have the severely disabled. They are limited in the number or kind of talents.
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    Nov 21 2013: I think it depends on what definition people give to "talent", different people have different expectations on children.
    • Nov 21 2013: Like what example?
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        Nov 22 2013: I think every person is unique in their way. This uniqueness could be interpreted into some talent sometimes instead of the traditional concept of talent. Let me give you a little extreme example of a disabled child in China with his name "Zhouzhou". Here's the link for your reference.
        http://news.sohu.com/20121017/n355062967.shtml
        His uniqueness lies in his passion in being a conductor. It's said his IQ is as high as half of a normal child but he has performed 2000times in all kinds of concerts all over the world for 13years. I think if people regarded him as an intellectually challenged child and didn't expect and encourage him to develop his passion in conducting, nobody would think he could change his passion into his talent. He's uniqueness is because he is an unusual conductor. Otherwise he shouldn't be so successful. I think this kind of talent is just like in the eye of the beholder.

        So I think in our life if not only children but all of us believe we are unique and talented in our way, we could embrace more hope and have a more positive view on our destiny. And if we treat others like the same way, we will find more beauty and amazing power in our life,too. But I have to say there are still a lot of talents objective enough to be seen, so if you don't like to do something you don't like, admitting you don't have the business doing it could give you more chances to be successful in other ways.
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      Nov 21 2013: Only that expectations have nothing to do with talent.
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        Nov 22 2013: Sometimes parents' expectation can dig out and stimulate their children's talent, I think.
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          Nov 22 2013: This would be supportive parents, yet also then expectations have - or better should have - nothing to do with it.

          Expectations are based on someone else's projections, whereas talent comes exclusively from within an individual itself. Expectations can even become dangerous for talents, yet true support can help it grow.
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    Nov 21 2013: You may be interested in Drew Dudley's TED talk "Everyday Leadership." As I remember it, he makes a case, with examples, of the kind of contributions we can all make, often without recognizing them.

    I think the ability to do the sorts of things Dudley puts forward applies to children as well as adults and may fall within Robinson's definition of talent..If you consider further the people you have encountered in your life, the many thousands of people of all ages you have encountered, there is probably none that strikes you as having no talent. It is such anecdotal observation rather than research that I believe provides the basis of Robinson's belief.

    I think Robinson is not talking about people who cannot function because of extreme health challenge. Further, when he says everyone has a talent, I don't think he means every person has an exceptional talent. I think he means there are things, different for different children, that they can learn to identify as promising ways they can make a contribution to their own fulfillment or to others.

    As an aside, I think there is a difference between a talk which is a scholarly presentation sharing findings from rigorous research and a talk which is a statement of belief or a sharing of anecdotes. The Robinson talk is not a piece of scholarship but rather a persuasive speech representing a point of view.
    • Nov 21 2013: An anecdotal method makes a good TED talk, an interesting story to think about. However, a simple collection of anecdotes cannot be used to make such a large statement. How can the case of a few apply to the entire living population?
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        Nov 21 2013: The talk has a different purpose than a scholarly presentation. I interpret it more poetically. I agree with those who have said that it is appropriate for a teacher to treat every child as if there were within him or her an array of talents, both apparent and as yet undiscovered. I can see no downside to this approach.
  • Nov 27 2013: Ken Robinson should have volunteered at an institution that handles severely mentally disabled children, breaks your heart. Some are one step above a vegetable. They will never speak and some do not even react much.

    If we are talking about "normal" children. I would guess we should discuss degree of talent. If we allow that some will have talent just above average, than I guess everyone does something a little above average.
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    Nov 23 2013: Dear Ben,
    First of all, it is the perspective of vision.
    One facts is enough for the person who want to believe & even a book of facts falls short to the person who don't wants too.

    So before going through any comment try to clear you mind with your own contradiction.

    My first facts, "Child are gifted with talents" it is assumed to be as an axiom, still you questioned this assumed axiom for the supporting fact,
    What it Shows????
    You have the talent Logical analysis, That's my point of view, yours can be different.

    And one thing am sure You'll agree with is "THE POINT OF VIEW"
    Mines is different than yours.
    Understanding this difference in point of view is another talent.

    No the question arises, What actually TALENT MEANS TO YOU???
    If the talents i showed you now are true in your eyes then you'll be finding a specific talent in every person around you.
    Give it a shot, try to analyse people around you and you yourself prove yourself wrong. :)

    Talent is everywhere, some people speaks way too politely, even if they hate you, thats a talent
    some carry dress way too perfectly hats a talent,
    Some impress people way to quickly
    some are always calm
    some are hyperactive
    talent is every where, you just need to have eyes to see them.
    You'll get you solution by yourself then. :)
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    Nov 23 2013: I can't give you an evidence. I only can say that I believe firmly that everybody has a talent, more or less, but they have. Even in the case of a person with the brain partially damaged, I think that person will try to learn or to get the maximum benefit of the knowledge he/she could achieve. It's possible I'll be optimist (hopeless optimist) but I believe in the power of the human being.
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    Nov 23 2013: Maybe your understanding, your expectation of talent is superelevated?
  • Nov 21 2013: I should be more detailed in my opinion. I flatly reject the silly notion that every child has "a talent" in the sense you refer to. The TED talk in question is just goofy. The very concept is so thoroughly ethnocentric as to be laughable. Picking out specific skills as "the talent" of a child presumes that there is something universal and eternal about what merely happens to be the stuff we do in the present day or have done for a mere thousand years or so. In other words, the TED talk's hypothesis is ludicrously specific. Children do not have "a talent" because "a talent" in this sense does not exist.
    What children have is "talent"--that is, untapped aptitude that can go in an amazing variety of directions that might or might not correspond to "a talent", or even worse "creativity" in the artsy-fartsy nose-in-the-air sense. There are constraints, of course, but they are not nearly as limited as "a talent". The real tragedy is not that "creativity" is damaged by public education. The tragedy is that we use public education to foster the idea that there are the "creative" and all the rest of us. Yes, people will be better at some things than others, but--hell.

    Okay, I'll lay it out like this: The most creative people I have ever personally met have been rednecks. They don't have much education. They don't have much money. They don't have much of anything our society is supposed to think makes someone an "important" or "creative" person. With all those lacks, they not only make ends meet but enjoy their lives. Mock any "redneck device" all you like, but it's intensely creative--people taking what they have around them and making it do what they want it to do, regardless of what society says the item "is". That sort of thing is not found in public schools, where we are taught to learn the "right" way to use things.

    Creativity is doing something wrong in a way that makes life better.
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      Nov 23 2013: 'Yes, people will be better at some things than others, but--hell.'

      Exactly, and the only thing the term 'talent' does is to substitute the religiously biased fantasy you used in this, your sentence. Not more and not less.

      Your criticism I can partly understand, yet it seems you are killing the messenger for what its master did.

      Talent in itself is describing and value-free. That it was and still is misused to grade people is a different topic all together and certainly not a talent in itself.

      I would rather have a talented surgeon working on my brain than one without. Although there isn't much to rescue anyway, yet still ... :o)
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      Nov 23 2013: On a lighter note can't assumed this comment as DETAILED,

      BUT!!!

      Could go with BLUNT. :D

      and i totally disagree with your version of Creativity.
      How the hell does creativity comes in doing wrong.

      Hmm i can go with the facts that several time your creativity is being wronged or denied or rejected by parents, friend, teacher, society. as they can not understand your creativity. its their loss.
  • Nov 21 2013: No. Absolutely not. I would say that no child at all has "a talent", some sort of magical oogabooga thingie they're super-special good at. Children have potential, but potential can go in a lot of directions or be frittered away on pop culture obsessions.
    • Nov 21 2013: This I disagree with. All brains are different. I agree that a lot of it is dependant on potential and potential can be directed but the genes of a child create the foundations. The effects of neuroplasticity should not be ignored but neither should genetics
      • Nov 21 2013: What you say in no way contradicts what I say, except for the words "I disagree". I didn't state that the "potential" had by each individual child is identical to that had by each other individual child. My profession happens to be in genomics and epigenomics, particularly environmental influence on epigenomics that leads to important changes in neurological and cognitive function.
  • Nov 21 2013: A baby case is a bad thing If you have ever been ad litem for a child who had generalized brain damage at birth You will have a hard time arguing for all children having a talent.
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    Nov 21 2013: Yes Ben....I perceive all children to have talent. What kind of "evidence" are you seeking? The fact that you are asking the question suggests that some child/children have motivated you to ask the question.....what more "evidence" do you need?
    • Nov 21 2013: I don't quite understand this comment but from the use of speech marks around the word "evidence", I presume you take this offensively. If there were some underlying biological theory that stated for example. that when one part of the brain is very well developed, it must sacrifice in another area of the brain. What do you mean that I was motivated by children?
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        Nov 21 2013: No....no.....no Ben.....I did not in any way take it offensively! You state..."Ken Robinson states how he believes that all children have a talent. But how can this be said for sure? Do we have evidence of this?"

        For me, simply watching and interacting with children is evidence that they all have talents and skills. I am honestly asking....what evidence do you need? It appears that you are seeking some biological theory as evidence. I do not have a biological theory to suggest.....I only have my experiences with children, which convinces me that all, or most children have talents and skills. In fact, I think that many times, we adults can learn from them:>)