- or can we only attempt to educate him?
If so, where does (his/her/our) intelligence originate?
In other words do schools or teachers "make kids smart?"
Other questions: Did any school or teacher make You smart???
If not, how did you get to be so smart?
How did your intelligence come to be?
What is it specifically that creates differences in individual intelligences?
The answer is this: The differences in individual capacities to be interested.
Hewell Howser was probably pretty intelligent.
Einstein too. Scientists in general are quite intelligent based on their interest in life and how it functions.
I wonder what is behind Interest?
(? Please excuse the crickets. I guess no one is interested.)
I don't think anyone can create native intelligence, BUT (and it is a big but) we can nurture the love for learning that resides within many children, and therefore, enhance their intelligence.
Very recent research-based scholarship demonstrates that about 60% of our intelligence is inherited. This leaves, however, some 40% of intelligence that is a function of other factors including the pre-natal fetal environment and post-natal environments---particularly environments that offer children (from a very early age) multiple opportunities for learning.
So, we can enhance intelligence by offering a wide range of opportunities for learning. I agree. Children learn because, as I have mentioned before, fish have fins and humans have brains. My understanding is that the brain is a tool which the child uses for its own motivations. I believe intrinsic motivation must be considered when constructing learning environments.
Do you think forcing children to learn particular things as is done today in public schools, with teaching to the test and grade pressures, is conducive for a child's education?
It is good for dumbing them down and making them lazy, however.
There is another way. We must allow for curiosity, interest, the joy of learning and the fostering of step by step progression of their abilities and talents. We can allow them to flourish in a learning environment which inspires and encourages. Freedom is an important component to such an environment.
Boundaries are vital, however.
Without boundaries there can be no freedom.
The setting and enforcement of appropriate boundaries in a classroom can actually p r o m o t e freedom for students.
Thank You so much for your very valuable insights, mbuggieh.
What is behind curiosity? Can operating iPads, smart phones, watching dvd's etc. contribute to a child's intelligence? Do they satisfy interest and curiosity?
I would say of course, but they have to be monitored. Very young children are getting addicted to them. We must be very careful about introducing technology during the first six years of life when the psyche is developing.
Having started school in the late 1950s I can attest to the fact that teaching kids things they're not interested in is nothing new; nothing related to today's public schools. I attended public and parochial schools and there was not only a lot of forced learning, but tremendous pressure to take tests and doing well on tests.
We baby boomers are the generation of standardized testing for everything from our progress academically to our progress in physical education.
That said, I think kids are not good determiners of what they should or should not learn. There are basic things that need to be learned---even if we have to force kids to learn them, but these things should be coupled with educational opportunities that let kids explore things that interest them.
As for intrinsic motivation: I've spent 37 years teaching---much of it at the college level. Some kids are self-motivating, but most are not. The problems are---and they are perennial problems: How do we motivate kids to learn who are just not interested in learning? How do we motivate kids who do not value learning and do not value knowledge?
The old saying answers it best: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
I have no answers to these questions.
If they have never been allowed to... how can they? No one understands how to set the boundaries that would allow students the freedom to tune inward at an early age. Schools pretty much put kids to sleep.
- kids have a natural interest in what they need to know. It is naure at work. They naturally thrive on reading, writing and math. There really is a way to keep the child in touch with his own joy of learning. Every child. It starts with adults knowing the true nature of the child. It takes common sense, empathy, and observation to comprehend their needs, motivations, and innate interests. And it must start early on. Pre-schools, not colleges, now have the power to make or break the future of our nation.
The Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori and The Discovery of the Child
are highly recommended!
I strongly disagree that schools, almost by design, put kids to sleep.
I have 2 grandchildren in public schools (New York and Pennsylvania) and I am amazed EVERY day by the sustained efforts of the schools to engage students and to create authentic and meaningful learning. The lessons are dynamic; the assigned work creative and personalized; the opportunities for co-curricular content plentiful; the engagement of the teachers and support staff phenomenal.
And my grandchildren do NOT attend affluent suburban schools. They attend very small rural schools.
Honestly, the attitude that "schools pretty much put kids to sleep" and the attitude that schools are a waste of time and teachers all losers is telegraphed to students by parents and society. In turn, students disrespect school and teachers. Students assume that school is a waste of time. Students come to school with these negative presumptions---and guess what--- they won't and can't learn.
The ticket may be that you have small rural schools. I am in a big city and I see alot of trends here that are not so great. I am so happy to hear your grand children are having great educational experiences. Yay!
I hear you. I do think that urban and suburban education are increasingly troubled, but the problem is not just the schools (teachers, administration, curricula, resources), but urban and suburban parents and urban and suburban community values as well.
There is something about urban and suburban culture that is anti-intellectual; anti-school; anti-learning.
Something that misdirects kids away from learning and from what interests their minds to acquisition and accumulation of things as status symbols and as markers of value.
Something is misdirecting kinds from the internal to the external and the results are not good. And there are no boundaries, no limits---and as you note, no real freedom.
I am glad you hear me. I am just tryin' to be helpful. Montessori was ahead of her time. My true intention is to share her wisdom. She is actually quite misunderstood and kept on the shelf. Yet her words, in the books she wrote, hold the key to transforming society. The Montessori Method is another good one by her. Thank you so much for chiming in.
I think your observations are right on, Professor!
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