Teaching intelligence

The fundamental question is if one can teach intelligence. If we view intelligence as using some basic cognitive abilities for efficient information processing, it is probably impossible.

Other definitions of intelligence include problem-solving and decision-making, planning, strategic exploration, testing hypothesis and correcting them.

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Problem Solving

theconversation.com

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Conflicting definitions of intelligence

For decades, scientists have investigated intelligent and less intelligent behaviour. Many definitions of intelligence, sometimes even contradicting each other, have emerged as a result.

Despite the differing views among scientists, we do know that intelligence affects life outcomes. In education, several programmes have aimed at increasing intelligence among students with disappointing results.

  • Teaching students strategies to increase self-monitoring and evaluation when problem-solving.
  • Using teaching methods that help with a deeper understanding of the structure that underpins new problems.

The methods boil down to providing students with as many active problem-solving learning opportunities as possible.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has given high priority to a broadened understanding of intelligence and found that problem-solving skills broader than the traditional conception of intelligence are markedly different from the traditional proficiency in maths, science and reading.

Looking at the broader implications of this on the existing education systems, teaching and instruction should focus more on cognitive flexibility, problem-solving and aspects of intelligence that are amenable to change.

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"A high IQ is like height in a basketball player," says David Perkins, who studies thinking and reasoning skills at Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "It is very important, all other things being equal. But all other things aren't equal. There's a lot more to being a good basketball player than being tall, and there's a lot more to being a good thinker than having a high IQ."

Some of the greatest achievements have relied on creativity, imagination, curiosity, and empathy, not just IQ. 

Cognitive flexibility

IQ is often cited as a measurement for success in fields of science, innovation, and technology.

However, some of the greatest achievements in history have relied on creativity, imagination, curiosity and empathy. These traits are part of "cognitive flexibility" - the ability to think of new ideas, make novel connections between existing ideas and make new inventions.

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