Talent or Effort?
My son's principal recently shared a photo he took. In that photo, my son was being taught to play the violin.
|A fifth grade strings class|
There is a reason why there is a call for parents to focus more on effort and not on innate skills. Take Finland, for instance, the country with a very progressive educational system. Research shows that " the parents with a talent-based explanation or a combination (both talent and effort) explanation for success had a significantly higher opinion of their child's mathematical competence across the child's compulsory school years than did those parents who had an effort-based explanation for success." Another work shows "The intercorrelations of the parents’ assessments of their child’s competencies and motivation among the phases of the study turned out to be statistically significant.The assessments conducted as early as the child’s preschool tended to predict the respective assessments conducted at the very end of the child’s 9-year-long schooling better than by chance." These two pieces of evidence do suggest that parents consider talent as more important than effort. And as principal Butler cautions, "This can be hurtful to kids". After all, it can be strongly self-fulfilling.
But what really spells success, talent or effort? Of course, effort counts a lot. In mathematics, I did spend a lot of time and effort on it when I was young. I did not spend as much time on playing a musical instrument. In fact, I did not spend any time at all on playing music. However, talent does count and there is evidence from research:
From the above paper, the following figure shows that talent (represented on the x axis by working memory capacity) provides an independent contribution on performance: