DEVELOPING TALENT IN YOUNG PEOPLE by Benjamin S.--Ed. Bloom

DEVELOPING TALENT IN YOUNG PEOPLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Prof. Bloom (U. of Chicago, Northwestern) directed a four-year study of the development of talent in children--based on retrospective interviews with ""world-class"" achievers (under age 40) in specific fields, supplemented by talks with the achievers' families and teachers. The results, presented in this long, formal report, are thoroughly unsurprising: ""Exceptional levels of talent development require certain types of environmental support, special experiences, excellent teaching, and appropriate motivational encouragement at each stage of development."" In all of the fields covered (concert pianists, Olympic swimmers, top tennis players, prize-winning sculptors, first-class math/neurology researchers), a general pattern of development could be more or less observed: from playful early years (""romance"") to technically-oriented middle years (""precision"") to personal expression/identity in later years (""generalization""). Especially in the case of the early-intense athletes and pianists, the families were child-centered and achievement-centered; the sculptors and scientists tended to find their focus of expertise later. And, despite plenty of quotes, statistics, and tables (e.g., ""Average Number of Hours per Week Playing Tennis during the Early Years""), the more detailed findings here remain equally bland and predictable--while the criteria for sample-choice are not always completely convincing. (By choosing only sculptors who have won fellowships, for example, the researchers probably distort the findings re artistic talent-development and parental emphasis on conventional achievement: aren't there many creatively successful artists who don't pursue fellowships?) Considerable data, little illumination.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1984
ISBN: 034531509X
Publisher: Ballantine