It’s either I am truly old school or I must have lived in a different planet for many, many years – to be so surprised that intelligence is much more than the academic proficiency that I grew to believe in. Those readings have touched one sensitive chord after another, as I felt like I have just stepped into a new dimension of learning altogether.
I have to admit that intelligence to mean academic proficiency or high IQ was a characteristic that people my age coveted so much, because it translated to fame, fortune and even a secure and loving relationship. To NOT be intelligent meant an ugliness that was deeper than being physically deprived.
For me, intelligence, as I have just recently reviewed on, is a fusion of past and current information, skills, competencies, experiences and behaviors that have been processed and are therefore what our minds use to function productively. And because it’s an on-going abstract, intelligence improves, or deteriorates, over time, depending on the future interfaces that we have in our lives. This was a focal point of Psychologist WJ Schneider when he said “there is no better predictor of future learning than past learning.” 1
I feel it is also a function of age that we tend to value MORE cystrallized intelligence when we are younger; and placed more premium on theory over practice. I remember in my days of managing workforces and was in-charge of hiring new people, I was unfairly attracted to applicants who could get high marks on the exams and answered interview questions with perfect grammar and eloquence. Of course, eventually, management practices have evolved into searching for people with fluid intelligence and those who were good at problem-solving and critical analysis.
However, I can also now appreciate why these intelligence tests have been used in detecting learning disabilities, as an objective measure of not just academic but behavioral dimensions. Whether we like it or not, there is almost always a genetic link in learning disabilities and this internal factor is indeed a reality that family and society have to accept. I recall my developmental pediatrician referred to this reality as “permanent wiring” of the genes of two high achievers that led to the autism of my son Jason. At that time, it certainly felt like neural intelligence was the only thing my child will be getting for his life.
I was wrong.
It is comforting to note that there are far more external interventions which can applied and developed, out of which learning can still progress and intelligence can be taught. In regular school, my son learned a lot through experience and interaction with people. While he may not ever catch on any form of reflective intelligence, I truly appreciate that he can now exist quite independently and is able to make simple decisions.
Finally, I am amazed that more adults are now being made aware of multiple intelligences , happy that I am not the only one looking to discover more about myself unto old age. But I realize I also need to learn more about what kind of a learner I am before being able to decipher different forms of intelligence I possess. Some of the learning styles tests I took indeed validated each other.
The USCN 2 learning styles scales showed that I was predominantly “global and less sequential; that I need to see a big picture then study details to get the idea (deductive learning). In the same vein, VARK 3 and Learning styles inventory proved how much I rely on visuals and written methods to learn and be able to process any new learning.
I think the more relevant questions to ask at this point are: Given these learning styles, what kind of a teacher will I be? Can I still modify my learning style, to become a versatile teacher of the future?
- SB Kaufman, Feb 2014. What do IQ tests test? An interview with Psychologist WJ Schneider.