Rena F. Subotnik PhD is Director of the Center for Psychology in Schools and Education at the American Psychological Association.The Center promotes high quality application of psychology to programs and policies for schools and education.One of the Center’s missions is to generate public awareness, advocacy, clinical applications, and cutting-edge research ideas that enhance the achievement and performance of children and adolescents with gifts and talents in all domains. Her work has been published by Scientific American, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Annual Review of Psychology, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, High Ability Studies, and Gifted Child Quarterly.
Looking to the Future of Talent Development as an Engine for Social Responsibility
The goal of talent development is to craft environments that foster abilities into creative contributions. Optimally, creative ideas or solutions are not only unusual and appropriate to the problem, but are also transformational. Transformational ideas or solutions stimulate changes in others’ response or how others think about a problem. If a creative idea is original enough and offers a solution, how does one go about getting important stakeholders to transform their thinking? What consequences will the idea have for different audiences? A socially responsible solution to a problem will try to anticipate as many consequences as possible that affect people and the environment explicitly, fairly, and conscientiously.
Schools can take the lead in organizing this kind of talent support. However, even in the case of academic talents, outside of school clubs, programs, competitions, and mentorships are additional contributors to talent enhancement. These institutions can expose participants to interested peers, real world problems and solutions, and audiences beyond the family and community. This talk will provide examples of techniques that teachers, mentors, parents, and coaches can consider using. The examples are gleaned from the psychology of influence, psychology of high performance, and mentoring that are developmentally appropriate and tempered by considering consequences across stakeholders and over time.