Talent Versus Skill

Posted on: 17/03/2023


Talent is God gifted ability, whereas skill is an ability in which you put your time and efforts to develop.

It is with this interesting definition of ‘talent’ that I reflect on this week at St. Helen’s College. Many of you with pupils in the Upper School will be aware that the children have been participating in the inaugural House Talent Competition. We have been thoroughly impressed and entertained by all of the pupils who have entered an act to represent their Houses: Caledonia, Cambria, Hibernia or Windsor.

The entries were very varied and as I moved between each house assembly I was fortunate enough to enjoy many superb performances. From Grade 6 pianists to our Grade 1 violinists, singers galore, magic acts, ventriloquism, gymnasts, a church bell ringer, comedy acts, poetry, naming world flags,pieces of artwork…I could continue!  What is apparent is that there is such a passion for the children to share their interests, hobbies, skills and talents. 

This leads me on to tomorrow when we will host the school’s first Exhibition Day since pre-covid days. We are very excited to showcase our pupils’ work tomorrow and look forward to you all touring the school with your children, reflecting on their accomplishments and looking forward to what lies ahead as you visit the other classrooms and school sites.   

Your children have worked so hard all year to develop their skills and talents, not only across the curriculum but in the enriched co-curriculum which we offer. We pride ourselves in both nurturing talent and supporting the development of skill.  

The debate surrounding talent versus skill and which might be most important will undoubtedly continue and much has already been written on this topic. However, I believe that there are some key differences between talent and skill:

  1. The term talent refers to an inborn, special ability of a person to do something. A skill is an expertise which is acquired by the person by learning.

  2. Talent is God gifted ability, whereas skill is an ability in which you put your time and efforts to develop.

  3. Talent is often possessed by a limited number of people. On the other hand, any person can learn a particular skill, if (s)he has the capacity, capability, and willingness.

  4. Talent can be hidden which is why it needs recognition. As opposed to Skill, it requires development, which can only be possible through practice.

  5. Coaching may prove helpful in getting the best out of someone i.e. talent. Conversely, training is necessary for acquiring a skill, to put your best into something useful.

You may have your own views and opinions on this and I am linking to an article for those of you who wish to read more on the talent v. skill debate:
Talent Vs Skill:Which Matters More in the Pursuit of Mastery?

You have invested for your child to attend St. Helen’s College and I do hope that one day when they have left school they will look back and remember their school days as the happiest and most memorable days of their lives. The children will not remember ‘how’ they made progress but it is with such a sense of pride and privilege that we are able to support your children to nurture and strengthen their ‘talents’ and assist them in developing their ‘skills’ to enable them to thrive and flourish. Let us celebrate their journey and support them with the high and lows!

I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow to celebrate our wonderful community!

Ms Drummond