Is it possible to be naturally gifted and talented in a subject or area...?

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Poll: Is it possible to be naturally gifted and talented in a subject or area...?
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crecookiesx
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I've heard of these "gifted and talented" programs but I've been told that a naturally gifted student doesn't exist and received harsh backlash when I became supportive of the notion that there are rote learners and naturally gifted pupils who are easily differentiated by their interviews at oversubscribed institutions.

Especially since the institutions I'm talking about, Oxbridge, doesn't even appreciate the rote learners and I'll quote, one current professor said

"We ask them questions which are not standard or they are not rote questions. They can't be taught for and we see how they cope with the questions. The thinking questions, not the boring a-level type rubbish rote questions... We see some [candidates] who do fabulous in the boring rote a-level questions but can't think at all. Therefore they'd be hopeless for Cambridge." - Imre Leader

I'd just like to know your thoughts. I'm still developing an opinion on the matter and based on my school experience, I know there are some people that just instantly get it, they don't revise and they do extremely well (not B's, I mean 95%+ A*) therefore I have come to support the idea that there are naturally gifted students.

My support of that there are naturally gifted students doesn't necessarily have to be viewed as a detract from those who work hard to get to where they are. I think it's a benefit. You've worked hard and you should be extremely proud of your success. I'm proud of you, but in terms of whether people have natural advantages, I'd have to say so considering that science has proven that geniuses have a different to average brainpower or whatever.

Please let me know what you honestly think and your honest experiences.

Is it possible to be naturally gifted and talented in a subject or area...?
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random_matt
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It's called an aptitude.
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Student-95
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Of course. Ever heard of IQ? Some people are naturally smarter the same way some people are naturally stronger or faster.
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crecookiesx
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#4
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For those who don't believe in natural ability or aptitude giving you an advantage then how do you explain up and coming Michael Ng?

He's currently 17, studying Mathematics at Trinity College Cambridge and he raps in his spare time.

1. He self-taught himself how to play the piano
2. He has played Mozart and Beethoven pieces since he was 8 years old.
3. He went on Britains Got Talent and was a semi-finalist as a classical artist
4. He raps on Cambridge Universities youtube channel
5. He competed in International Mathematic Olympiad at age 15 (2016)

6. I'd really like to know what school teaches this/ how he wasn't already gifted from the start?

He's fabolous. Everyone remember the name Michael Ng!

Here's him at 10 years old
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KieranAdam
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Hi there,

Yep, they do exist. In all walks of life you'll find people who are just naturally gifted at what they do. If this wasn't the case, then every footballer would be like Lionel Messi, or every businessman would be like Bill Gates. Everyone has greater talent in a certain field then another, so for me it couldn't be any different in academics. However, with that being said, we have to be careful not to put these people on a pedestal, saying that they are 'better' than other people. The harsh truth is that there are many great academics who end up achieving very little success in the world, because the world isn't the same as the classroom. of course, some will succeed and some will not, but for me it doesn't really matter anyway, because the guy who will work harder for what he wants will be more likely to get it than the person who relies on purely talent. Talent can get you so far, so its important to identify your and then channel it with self-discipline and effort to make it stronger. That's what separates many people from others, just don't start thinking that these people are better than you. They aren't, they're just good at academics. I hope this helps.

Regards

(Original post by MLTN)
I've heard of these "gifted and talented" programs but I've been told that a naturally gifted student doesn't exist and received harsh backlash when I became supportive of the notion that there are rote learners and naturally gifted pupils who are easily differentiated by their interviews at oversubscribed institutions.

Especially since the institutions I'm talking about, Oxbridge, doesn't even appreciate the rote learners and I'll quote, one current professor said

"We ask them questions which are not standard or they are not rote questions. They can't be taught for and we see how they cope with the questions. The thinking questions, not the boring a-level type rubbish rote questions... We see some [candidates] who do fabulous in the boring rote a-level questions but can't think at all. Therefore they'd be hopeless for Cambridge." - Imre Leader

I'd just like to know your thoughts. I'm still developing an opinion on the matter and based on my school experience, I know there are some people that just instantly get it, they don't revise and they do extremely well (not B's, I mean 95%+ A*) therefore I have come to support the idea that there are naturally gifted students.

My support of that there are naturally gifted students doesn't necessarily have to be viewed as a detract from those who work hard to get to where they are. I think it's a benefit. You've worked hard and you should be extremely proud of your success. I'm proud of you, but in terms of whether people have natural advantages, I'd have to say so considering that science has proven that geniuses have a different to average brainpower or whatever.

Please let me know what you honestly think and your honest experiences.

Is it possible to be naturally gifted and talented in a subject or area...?
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artful_lounger
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No, there is no such thing as "inherent" talent in a subject. Some people may have a greater enjoyment of a subject, for a variety of reasons, and spend more time on it, or they may have a more privileged background allowing them to get an earlier start and more support in it - but I see little evidence of any "intrinsic aptitude" for a subject.

However rote learning doesn't really achieve anything - you simply memorise the thing, and you don't necessarily then understand it. I passed (as in, scraped) my Linear Algebra II (retake) exam by memorising the core definitions and proofs; I did not understand a single thing from that lecture course at the time, and would have been unable to subsequently take further modules that was based on this material. Thus I gained no actual understanding by rote memorising the content - it was merely a tool to scrape a pass in the exam.

In university, at the undergraduate level, very often such approaches will only amount to a bare minimal pass, if even that. At masters level you would probably struggle to even pass the core taught elements, and of course you would be completely unable to do any meaningful research in the research elements; needless to say, a PhD would be out of the question. However in school you can often get reasonable, or even good, grades by using this method - however this doesn't hold up over time and Oxbridge don't want to take on people who at best will be scraping a pass in their courses (and have the time and resources to set up an admissions process to differentiate between those who rely on rote learning, or more generally "learning to the exam" and those who are able to critically evaluate the material and apply it in more complex, unfamiliar, and/or abstract problems) so they will necessarily be looking to differentiate between such applicants.

However is is likely that such higher order abstract reasoning ability is based on some evolutionary adaptation (hence the difference in why great apes taught sign language do not ask questions, while humans do; they do not comprehend the concept of knowledge they do not know/possess - also the lack of cumulative culture). That said, I can't see any realm in which the individual differences between humans (who are at the same evolutionary level) will be sizeable enough to make a measurable difference in a "ceteris paribus" setting. I find it much more realistic that the differences are entirely down to resources afforded to some students rather than others, as well as social and culture approaches to education and learning in their "community" (i.e. family, friends, general people in the area(s) they grew up).

As a side note regarding the last comment, IQ has been debunked as a useful or even meaningful metric dozens of times, and is rank with cultural biases that prevent essentially anyone who is not a western educated, white man, from a stable socioeconomic background (i.e. middle class or "higher") from doing as well as that class. This does not suggest anyone who doesn't fall into that category is intrinsically inferior, rather that the original designers were limited by their own unconscious biases and thus designed a flawed metric.
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Nihilisticb*tch
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(Original post by Student-95)
Of course. Ever heard of IQ? Some people are naturally smarter the same way some people are naturally stronger or faster.
I dont really agree with the IQ scale (as i think its virtually impossible to measure natural ability) but i do think that it exists
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Nihilisticb*tch
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Yes i think you definitely can be naturally gifted in an area. I know people who work way harder than me but end up with worse grades and i know people who do virtually no work and get better grades than me. Some people find things easier to understand and have naturally good memories so they dont have to work as hard. I only do GCSE at the minute but i already know a person who is considered smart but in reality they dont understand half of the syllabus on certain subjects and literally just memorise the revision guide and end up with good grades. Its important to have natural ability because you cant rote learn every real life situation
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viddy9
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(Original post by crecookiesx)
Is it possible to be naturally gifted and talented in a subject or area...?
Of course. And, quite often, those who are gifted in one domain tend to excel in other domains too. People who do well on tests of verbal reasoning ability tend to do well on tests of quantitative and spatial reasoning ability too, for example. Psychologists have labelled this finding the general factor of intelligence (g), often referred to as the g factor. The existence of the g factor is one of the most replicated findings in all of psychology. General intelligence is, in turn, best measured by IQ tests.

(Original post by artful_lounger)
No, there is no such thing as "inherent" talent in a subject. Some people may have a greater enjoyment of a subject, for a variety of reasons, and spend more time on it, or they may have a more privileged background allowing them to get an earlier start and more support in it - but I see little evidence of any "intrinsic aptitude" for a subject.
Really? So, if somebody had lived the exact life, from birth, as Terence Tao, they would have been just as likely to have an IQ of 180, win the Fields Medal in mathematics, and participate in the International Mathematical Olympiad at the age of 10?

How about Ramanujan, perhaps the most gifted mathematician of the 20th Century, who grew up in poverty in India?
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KieranAdam
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(Original post by KieranAdam)
Hi there,

Yep, they do exist. In all walks of life you'll find people who are just naturally gifted at what they do. If this wasn't the case, then every footballer would be like Lionel Messi, or every businessman would be like Bill Gates. Everyone has greater talent in a certain field then another, so for me it couldn't be any different in academics. However, with that being said, we have to be careful not to put these people on a pedestal, saying that they are 'better' than other people. The harsh truth is that there are many great academics who end up achieving very little success in the world, because the world isn't the same as the classroom. of course, some will succeed and some will not, but for me it doesn't really matter anyway, because the guy who will work harder for what he wants will be more likely to get it than the person who relies on purely talent. Talent can get you so far, so its important to identify your and then channel it with self-discipline and effort to make it stronger. That's what separates many people from others, just don't start thinking that these people are better than you. They aren't, they're just good at academics. I hope this helps.

Regards
Hi there,

Apologies for the late reply, I've been quite busy the past few weeks.

I absolutely believe there are naturally talented people who can just walk academics, and I know people who were like this when I was at school and beyond. However, to me it doesn't really matter who's more talented than me in the grand scheme of my life. When you boil it down, there is always someone smarter, better looking and better than you at certain things. That's pretty much a given. However, with that being said, the real question then becomes 'What do you do with that you have?' Because yes, it would be nice to be one of those people, but looking at how good their doing doesn't really affect me and my life, so why focus on them. The only other answer that would contradict my point is that you use these people as inspirations, as role models to improve yourself and perform better. there's nothing wrong with that. But don't fall into the trap 'well this guy is more talented than me, I guess I should stop trying.......' Because many people get too concerned with comparing themselves with others, it is a stupid game to get involved with. So look more at yourself than other people, do your best and seek to improve yourself. Besides, if we looked at ourselves more than others then we'd be more aware of our own talents.

Hope that was what you were looking for.

Regards
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