Multimodal,  Professional Development,  Student Academic Success

SASC and the 5 M’s of Talent

I have come to the conclusion, as crazy as it sounds, that there is no such thing as innate talent.

Dr. Rishi Sriram

In this episode of LearnSmart, Dr. Rishi Sriram discusses his framework of the 5 M’s of talent: mindset, myelin, mastery, motivation, and mentorship. He notes that Carol Dweck’s concept of mindset does not explore the neuroscience of learning, and as he researched, he reconsidered our concept of intelligence and how to develop it. The focal point is in his assertion that while we think we are admiring intelligence, we are really admiring talent, and that talent is not innate because it’s an outcome of the 5 M’s.

In these five areas, we excel at promoting growth mindset and practices that strengthen myelin and mastery. Our philosophies come through our teaching and our professional relationships, our learning materials and signage, and our attention to professional development. Motivation is another area where I think we do our best to inspire students and encourage them to stay motivated. Because mentorship is typically used in the context of a longer-term relationship, I would estimate that it may happen in pockets more than departmentally.

As we consider mentorship and ways to expand on our mentorship roles, I’d guess we do best with mentoring tutors, but my scope is limited. I know I work hardest at being a mentor for my student workers. I encourage them to build skills while creating projects that interest them, and I work with them to connect these skills to support their future plans. Although I have a long way to go to be an outstanding mentor, I try to improve each semester by either learning or experimenting with our current processes. I also make an effort to pair new workers with more experienced students, encouraging them to mentor each other.

In terms of peer mentorship, I try to help new instructors especially, but this is an area where I think at SASC we have both strength and weakness. I think a lot about the role of peer feedback when it comes to ePortfolio-related work. As a composition instructor and English teacher, I have always seen guided and robust peer review as having value for both reviewer and reviewed as it pushes participants into meta-awareness. It requires not only suggestions but a rationale for them. I see peer mentorship as the same. As Dr. Sriram notes, many people are motivated by working with others for a goal, such as in his example of sports teams vs. classroom learning. I think we could help mentor each other. We all have our areas of expertise and some shared areas of expertise. If we partnered to work on specific areas of expertise, it may be interesting and motivating for us all.

From the Learn Smarter Podcast: Episode 130
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