Imparting students with basic academic skills has been a fundamental aspect in education. But discovering and nurturing special talents in children has proven to be just as relevant in their academic journey.
This is why educators suggest the need for teachers and parents alike to put as much efforts in identifying hidden talents in young ones just as they invest in helping them excel in academics.
Simon Ssematengo, a chemistry and mathematics teacher at Mother Mary Complex School in Kigali says there are learners who are weak academically or in certain subjects, but have hidden talents.
Parents should provide encouragement and support to enable children master what they are good at.
He says these kinds of learners in most cases are disregarded in schools and even at home because they are poor performers academically.
What’s the way forward?
Mathias Nkeeto, a mathematics teacher at Green Hills Academy says it’s important to put into consideration that just like teaching class subjects, basic skills also matter.
He says that the fundamental duties of teachers and parents can be abundantly satisfying if done creatively and successfully.
However, he notes that finding and nurturing special talents in children and youth, and seeing those students and their talents blossom, are among the great joys of teaching.
In fact, parents and teachers task should be to do both—to teach basic skills well and as early as possible, and to identify and nurture students’ strengths or hidden talents, he adds.
Ssematengo says as teachers, they normally happen to teach these kinds of learners and that in most cases they find that even if they fail academically, they later become great people in life.
“Its high time parents start supporting their children in what they are good at instead of focusing on areas that their children are weak,” he says.
He is against the idea of parents regarding their children as failures in life simply because they are not performing well according to their expectations as parents.
“It’s important to understand that whichever subject learners study in class, is just to give them the skills. Outside in real-world such skills wouldn’t be applicable, therefore, belittling such kids just because they don’t do well in class is not ideal,” he says.
Instead, Ssematengo says parents and even teachers should focus on other things they can do better at, as there is no system on this planet that will never measure the intelligence of any child.
Nkeeto says during this time where parents are spending most of their time at home with children, they should take this opportunity to help them develop their skills.
By doing this, he says a child will have a better environment to explore and nurture their talents, which is essential.
Nkeeto says it all starts by a parent praising their children’s achievements in little things they do, especially when they notice a unique skill in them.
This, he says it could be reading, drawing, singing, dancing, artwork among other talents.
He says this helps a lot especially when it comes to acting as a guiding force to their academic growth.
“They should work towards exploring their children’s hidden talents and nurture them,” he says.
Meanwhile, Jackyline Iribagiza, a counsellor and matron at St Marty’s secondary school in Remera says the proper role of parents is to provide encouragement, support, and access to activities that enable the child to master exactly what they are good at.
Without this, she says such children with unique talents can still fail to make it in life because they were not given a conducive environment that would have helped in nurturing their talents.
“A parent is their child’s first teacher and should remain their best teacher throughout life,” she says.
The counsellor goes on to add that since parents are their children’s first teachers, they have a key role in shaping up their character in all directions.
Nkeeto adds that a balance of education at home and school moulds a student’s actual learning.
And that a balance means looking at all areas including focusing on hidden skills a child possesses.
Meanwhile, he says that parental encouragement plays a crucial role in the making of successful students and that their role is not limited to academic support alone but involvement in discovering other talents as well.Follow Lydia_AtienoM