How to Recognize Talent in Mathematics and Its Development
Development of talent
Talent may just happen, but it involves three levels of development.
- First is the enjoyment level. A person enjoys participation in an activity that will lead to the talent. It can be pure personal enjoyment or it can be an enjoyment derived from a value or external support.
- The second level is deliberate practice. A person will set goals to practice and attempt to deliberately get better at the activity or particular elements of the activity. This practice can be solitary or involve or include other participants as competitors, collaborators, supporters, observers, or coaches.
- The third level is a commitment to become really good, professional, or to achieve a fairly sophisticated goal. Whether you use Malcolm Gladwell’s 10 000 hours from Outliers as the time required for becoming an expert or you believe talent can decrease or lack of talent increase those hours of comitment and practice, I believe everyone will agree a lot of practice is essential for those with talent, or those to develop talent to become an expert.
Characteristics of mathematical talent
- Spontaneously formulates problems
- Handles data in a flexible manner
- Organizes data in a systematic manner
- Can generate a variety of ways to manipulate data or ideas
- Has a fluency of ideas
- Creates original interpretations
- Has versatility to transfer ideas within mathematics and connect them to everyday life and the world
- Uses mathematics and mathematical ideas to view and explain their observations and interactions with the world
- Has the ability to generalize
- Often prefer oral communication to written
- Sometimes finds it difficult to explain their thinking
- Sometimes finds it enjoyable to teach and sometimes difficult to teach
- Less patient with routine and repedative performance of algorithmic procedures
- Prefer complex problems to simple
- Use estimation and approximation routinely
- Tend to move to abstract thinking quickly
- Uses reversability when solving problems
- Able to use models, diagrams, illustrations, and other graphic material for mathematical purposes
- Values metacognition, self talk, or discussion with peers during problem solving
- Persists when doing mathematics
- Enjoy doing mathematics
- Has a desire to find the most elegant solution to problems
- Left - handed, Allergic, near-sighted
- Learn rapidly, retain what they learn