This chapter, the notion of defining intelligence, is a rigorous process. There were so many ideas to reflect upon but I have chosen just a few to bring up for discussion......
There were several ideas discussed in this chapter that made me link my experiences as a mother and my own children and the way they learn and the way I teach in my classroom. First, the idea that learning in context is the key to intelligent learning. There are so many experiences that my children learn from at home that allow them to function independently when they are not with me. It also allows us to communicate effectively because we share similar experiences. However as a teacher, I have to get to know my students, and learn about their experiences before I can help them to make inferences, and connect prior knowledge to classroom experiences in order for them to make connections in the learning. A good example is a lesson I was doing in social studies. We were discussing cities, I was asking the children to describe a city and in turn I would illustrate their description on the board. I laughed to myself after we had "built our city" because by the end I realized it was Atlantic City. Many of the children in my class that year had parents who worked in the casinos. The reason I laughed is because in my mind I think of Philadelphia because that is the city I have spent the most time in.
Going back to learning in context, I equip my own children with knowledge and a set of tools they will need in order to function when I am not with them...many of our students come to school without a set of tools. Many are unfortunately are not even independent in daily living skills. My goal in the classroom is to support them so that they become independent thinkers and to give them classroom resources that they can use when they "get stuck". I hope that they use their classroom experiences and are able to go home and make connections.
The book brings up programs the government has put in place to support early childhood learning with the goal of making them competitive learners in a global society. I strongly support these intitiatives and understand the need for accountability in our schools. However the question has been raised about confusing intelligence and achievement. As a teacher I am often in a quandry about testing. I see so much progress in the classroom and so much effort being made to make sure our students receive the interventions they need to be successful in the classroom that I am often upset when we are told that our students are not proficient. It would be beneficial to have a national system of tracking individual student progress. A system that would give each student a number and that number would move with the student as the child moves, changes schools ect. I know it is way too costly but so many other factors need to be taken into account when looking at student test scores. And although at this time the students are being short changed because we are testing their achievements and not their intelligence, it would be very costly to change the process.
Finally it is noteworthy to remember, working within the child's zone of development, scaffolding, using encouragement, teaching them to be persistent, fostering their ability to extend time on task, modeling perseverance, and complimenting effort can all help develop a child's creativity and independence.