Nurturing talents; why it should be done at an early stage

Every student and young person is bestowed with a talent, and depending on the environment in which they are brought up, there is at least one skill that they can be good at. However, education experts believe that when such talents are not discovered early in life, they are most likely to go to waste.

According to them, discovering talent in young people at an early stage can help them achieve their dreams, both in and out of school.

Why it’s important

Valens Mushinzimana, a teacher at Lycee de Kigali, says it can be difficult for learners, especially at an early age to figure out what they are good at if they do not receive multidisciplinary support from parents and teachers.

He says that when talents are discovered early, they can be of benefit to the students at the moment as well as when they leave school.

“Some talents can even be a stepping stone for young people because in today’s society, what most companies need is an extra skill that one has in addition to what they have academically,” he says.

He notes that when a student is talented in something, it’s easier for such individuals to adapt to the new skills in the labour market.

Mushinzimana explains that this is so because depending on what they are good at, it can boost them to thrive in the current technology-driven world.

He says, however, that these can only be achieved if educators and parents discover and help learners grow their talents earlier in life.

“When students are helped to discover what they are good at, the benefits don’t only go to the students but also, help enhance the quality of education by increasing their motivation in learning, thus bringing better results,” he says.

Discovering hidden talents

John Nzayisenga, a parent and director at Good Harvest School, believes that as teachers, it is their role to make sure that learners succeed in life both at school and even later in life.

He adds that this can be achieved through helping them (learners) discover and develop whatever they are good at.

One of the things that should be done, he says, is by observing and following them up in order to know their strengths and weaknesses.

“We are in a better position as teachers, to discover any talent in a student more than any other person in their life. This makes it easier for every instructor to provide ample time for each student to develop their gifted skills,” he says.

Another interesting way teachers can discover something interesting and unique in their learners, he says, is by learning and observing their hobbies.

“When a learner is talented in something, they tend to love doing such things with passion and less difficulty,” he observes.

He, however, mentions that as a student grows, most times they tend to do away or lose interest in their hobbies. This, he explains, is because of the different opinions and views that their parents or even fellow students may have.

For this reason, Nzayisenga thinks that after realising a hobby in a student, teachers should work closely with the parents or guardians, to ensure that learners get all the support that is required, and encourage them to continue doing what they like even in the future.

On the other hand, Fabienne Uwamahoro, a teacher at Little Angels, Kicukiro, says that organising competitions both internally and outside school is also important as far as discovering young peoples’ talents is concerned.

“These competitions should be of different activities, including extracurricular activities. They should encourage each and every student to participate in, so that they find out what is good for every student,” he says.

Nurturing talents

Emile Musabyimana, a Kigali based mentor, says that after discovering the talent in a student, it’s the role of both parents and teachers to ensure that they follow up on the learners, so that they help them shape their talents.

He says, that for instance, while at home parents should give their children time to participate or engage in activities that they like. He notes that parents should be willing to go an extra mile to provide financial help where necessary.

On the side of the teachers, he believes that they should always organise and invite mentors in different areas to talk to youngsters on how they can achieve their dreams by doing what they like.

He notes that they should as well be encouraged to form clubs such as debating clubs that they can actively participate in.

Another strategy that Uwamahoro suggests that can be useful as far as nurturing talents is concerned, is encouraging students always.

“Let them try out different things and failing should be part of it. When they fail at it and the teacher has already discovered the talent, being there and encouraging the student is vital,” she says.

She adds that, by doing so, it’s hard for learners to lose hope and that this will encourage them to keep on thriving for the best. This skill, she says, can be applied in the future where one is able to develop the heart of determination in whatever they try to undertake.

On the other hand, Mushinzimana says that parents or teachers should try as much as possible to avoid comparisons with other students, who are good at other skills.

“Trying to compare learners or even children at home is the last thing parents and teachers should do. Also students should be taught how to respect each and everyone despite their status,” he says.

He notes that doing so can demotivate a learner in doing their best, and make them develop low self esteem because they think they can’t do as well as their counterparts.

Instead, he says that each learner is different and that they can’t be good at everything, but at least with help, they can do something better.

“Recognising and applauding them for their efforts is important. This is just one way of encouraging and helping students to develop and nurture whatever that is hidden and vital,” he says.

Their views

Fabienne Uwamahoro, teacher

Parents should know that academics are important but it’s not the only thing children should focus on. Allowing and assisting them explore in other areas is equally important. When parents look at it in this perspective, it helps learners to prosper in all areas.

Julius Zigama, visual artist

Taking lessons in different fields such as art for young children is also of help, because it contributes to education. It unlocks their potential to think, create and unlock individual power of mind.

Elizabeth Uwera, parent

Parent, teacher involvement in a student’s academic life is important because it brings about clear communication on the whereabouts of the child. This makes it easier to handle any issue a student may be having.

Jesse Shyaka, student

Following up on the students’ hobbies and talents by teachers can help nurture young peoples’ talents. Students should be open as well, to their parents on what they want to pursue in the future.