Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Who Are the Bright Children? Cultural Contexts

Today I found this new Sternberg article, in Educational Researcher, Who Are the Bright Children?: The Cultural Context of Being and Acting Intelligent (click here).

Excerpt:"How do you identify a schoolchild who is bright or who acts the way a bright child is expected to act? In North America, we might look at conventional ability or achievement test scores, or grades in school..."

(In Chinese culture, the) Confucian perspective emphasizes the characteristic of benevolence and of doing what is right. As in the Western notion, an intelligent person spends a great deal of effort in learning, enjoys learning, and persists in lifelong learning with a great deal of enthusiasm. The Taoist tradition, in contrast, emphasizes the importance of humility, freedom from conventional standards of judgment, and full knowledge of oneself as well as of external conditions. Although these virtues may sound like matters of character to us in the West, in traditional Taoist thinking, character and intelligence were closer in conception than they are for many of us today...

Similarly, a study of Kenyan conceptions of intelligence (Grigorenko et al., 2001) found four distinct terms constituting conceptions of intelligence among rural Kenyans: rieko (knowledge and skills), luoro (respect), winjo (comprehension of how to handle real-life problems), and paro (initiative). Only the first directly referred to knowledge-based skills (including but not limited to the academic)."

The article made me think. What are the different assumptions we bring to what we define as bright or gifted? Could our narrowed vision be constraining the choices of our kids? And finally, how can we broaden our educational vision so that success in real life and success in school are not such different beasts?

Eide Neurolearning Blog: Who is Smart?
Eide Neurolearning Blog: The Problem with Bell Curve Thinking

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