Sometimes I Do Coherent Things

For now, dear readers, I’m writing and studying for the final exams that are headed my way. So instead of creative writing, you get to hear my thoughts on intelligence, creativity, and what it really means to be intelligent.

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So. What Is Intellingence, Really?

Take into account three factors of modern-day views on intelligence: you have IQ or SAT (or insert-your-standardized-test-here) scores. You have creativity. You have book smarts or “intelligence.” I was prompted with a few questions. First, what’s the most important? Second, how does America view these three factors? Third, should children be focused toward their individual progress and characteristics, or should we incorporate standardized testing to evaluate intelligence?

So here are my responses.

I believe intelligence has shifted meaning entirely since its conception as a term. Intelligent people can type 80 words per minute, or can read a trilogy in hours, or they can know innately how to create a three-dimensional portrayal of a scorpion. It varies greatly what intelligence is really defined as, and I believe this is a great bound that our nation has made in childhood and young adult development. I believe intelligence is the most important in regards to children. But my definition of this intelligence is an all-encompassing combination of creativity, wisdom, book-smarts, street-smarts, and social interaction. If all of these can be well-rounded in a child when he or she is developing, (s)he’ll be at a great advantage to go far.

If a child doesn’t have that creative side, there are many disadvantages that will be present. First, the ability to think outside the box – so highly valued in this society, regardless of what one’s trying to accomplish – is hampered or destroyed. If a problem arises, problem solving skills are needed to address possible outcomes, which will determine how an individual or company proceeds. Without book-intelligence, social interaction is hampered, advancement in school and by extension higher education and professional training will all be constrained.

For all we have serious problems to work through, I believe The United States has made remarkable progress in the area of embracing each child’s unique set of skills and addressing their potential roles in their culture and society when they come of that age. Of course, this being said, we have bounds and leaps to go. Of course. As far as other cultures are concerned, such as places without a dire need of higher education and degrees with which to obtain careers, book-smarts are not as highly valued. More to touch on this later – I haven’t researched all I want to, in order to claim anything intelligent (hehe) about it.

I believe a balance is needed between embodying the unique qualities of each child and training them in standardized manner. What is at the root of this, I believe, is that we don’t have people working in “the system” who want to take time to care for the individual child, so you have a child who nobody pays heed to, who perhaps didn’t do well on a standardized exam, but nobody knows that this child is actually incredibly skilled in, say, virtuosic piano playing, but nobody has given the child the time of day or a chance to show off their skills. It’s not the child’s prerogative to go find what it is they’re supposed to do with their lives. We as the generation before have an incredible responsibility to nurture the upcoming leaders and builders and thinkers and doers into taking up challenges with the confidence we’ve instilled in them, and take on the world head-on.

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