Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner


Originally posted on April 28, 2015

I just met a neighbor whose grandson is prodigiously talented at picking up music and playing it on his clarinet—which he just learned a few months ago. Another friend of ours used to be a ballet and modern dancer who just picked up steps when they were shown to her. Right brain stuff. Didn’t know how she did it, but it was a great talent. My wife chatted up a neighbor and remembered details that I never registered. She’s good at this, brilliant. I write easily. Doesn’t everyone? (The right answer is “No, you fool! Hardly anybody.”) I continue to become more aware that many people have talents that I don’t; they’re naturally much, much better than me; and they do it with hardly noticing it.

Our school system doesn’t systematically probe for talent, or ask parents what they observe. Some people have a knack with animals, others have a green thumb. We should be alert to these possibilities, and tentatively assume that many if not all people have one or several possibly hidden talents.

Educationally, we should build on what kids can do, and do naturally and well, especially if they rather enjoy doing those things. Some—but not so much—work may be done on remediating that which they’re not so good at, but this remediation should be done with a light hand.

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