Re: Practice Makes Perfect

From: Chalmers Jennifer (
Date: Tue May 28 1996 - 11:09:56 BST

 ' Fellow students' PLEASE NOTE! this question has been omitted
 from the exam paper

Is Giftedness inborn or is it a product of learning?

The term giftedness can be applied to those individuals who reach
high levels of attainment in the absence of any deliberate effort to
acquire it. As this only applies to the minority of individuals the
general belief is that it is some pre-formed ability which enables
the individual to excel in his particular field of expertise. This
traditional view is not consistent with research findings. There is
no firm evidence that giftedness is a biological phenomena.
Substantial evidence supports the claim that deliberate practice is
more likely a determining factor of ability rather than some
biological attribute. There is a strong correlation between levels
of achievement and hours of practice and these apply to all skills
such as sport, chess and music. It is suggested that merely telling a
child that it possess a special gift may facilitate achievement
through motivation, strong parental interest and opportunity to learn
even if the gift is factually incorrect.
It is possible that some individuals practice more than others
because they possess some kind of innate potential that encourages
them to do so. Therefore rather than possessing an innate gift
individuals have a number of contributing factors such as motivation,
competitiveness and self confidence which together with opportunity
to practice enables them to acquire skills which facilitate learning.
This theory is consistent with explanations for exceptional abilities
performed by autistic savants whose abilities are accompanied by
obsessive interest and very high degrees of practice.

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