What is intelligence anyway?

graduate-150375_640Thinking back over all my years of being a student, I realize that I have been very fortunate in the way that the educational system is more or less built for people like me. My mom has told me that I taught myself to read before I started school at seven years old and ever since, learning has been part of who I am. In school I was always good at most things I did, with the exception of science (which bored me a little at the time) and textile crafts which was for some reason impossible to develop skills for. I never thought much about learning, because it always came so easy to me, and as a rule I think most people who have met me during my education have assumed that I am a capable learner. Mostly I think this is because I did not just learn the current topic, but also learned what was expected of me as a student. As an adult, I’ve often referred to myself as a ”professional” student, simply because I know what I need to do and how to do that most efficiently.

If you consider the seven different types of intelligences that Howard Gardner discusses in his bookFrames of Mind: The theory of multiple intelligences (1983) traditional school allows the students to use four of them regularly; linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical and bodily kinaesthetic. If the students are also allowed to do orienteering then that would also allow them to use their spatial intelligence. But schools have not really focused on interpersonal  or interpersonal intelligences (social skills and self-awareness) at all up until now and it’s an important change that needs to happen because network- and community capabilities is a skill which is becoming increasingly more important to have. In the past, students have been part of groups for different tasks, but ultimately, the teacher always assesses their individual work and skill, which is not about their interpersonal intelligence. In my opinion, it’s important that teachers learn about these different intelligences and that we move towards an educational system where students are able to use all their intelligence and where those intelligences are consider equally valuable.

The goal is to have a system where everyone can excel. Maybe not in every single subject. But every student everywhere should be guaranteed their opportunity to shine.


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