Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Smarter or Dumber: How We Evaluate Our Intelligence

great piece from TIM ELMORE here...love the questions and the comparisons...

Six Questions to Ask Ourselves as We Build Intelligent Graduates:

1. How can we teach them to be focused without being obsessed?
“A dull person has just as quick a peak reaction time as a brilliant person,” James Flynn said in an interview with LiveScience. “The difference is that someone with a low IQ typically can’t stay focused and so their reaction times won’t be consistent throughout an experiment; their scores vary more widely than those of high-IQ people.”
2. Can we foster free thought yet ensure change leads to moral progress?
Progress means change but not all change means progress. We must instill a moral compass inside students to guide, guard and gauge their choices. C. S. Lewis said, “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road. In that case, the man who turns back the soonest is the one who is most progressive.”
3. Can we help them balance two opposite ideas and see them objectively?
F. Scott Fitzgerald noted, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” This is what enables students to be civilized and wise as they make decisions for themselves, their families and their communities. This is the essence of true critical thinking: The ability to weigh and evaluate all data.
4. Can we be disciplined to listen before we speak and reject the impulse to only think about what we’ll say next?
This one’s tough. Especially since we live in a day of impulsive social media messaging, little critical thought and our innate human need to be heard. We are not a patient population, and I am usually guilty of pondering what I will say in reaction to the person I am speaking with, rather than really listening to their ideas.
5. What must we do to produce graduates who are life-long learners?
Far too often, people finish school and never read another book in their lifetime. They stop seeking, discovering and learning, at least on purpose. Ours is a day of rapid change; we cannot afford to remain “stuck” in thought patterns that may be irrelevant in the future. We must build curious grads who know how to research, identify what’s important and make changes to faulty perspectives.
6. How can we equip students to be both timely and timeless?
Too often, we can assume that a value or virtue from the past is automatically antiquated. I don’t buy that—honesty will always be valuable; discipline will always be valuable. The question is: can we prepare students for jobs that may not exist today, but thoroughly equip them to carry these timeless values with them into the future?
Let’s work to ensure our intelligence translates into wisdom. This means we hear and digest information and learn to “eat the fish and spit out the bones.” Aristotle said it first, “It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.”


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