I’m always amazed at how quickly time flies. I can’t believe it’s so long since I put finger to keyboard … but hopefully, it’s been worth the wait. So wax up your hackles and here we go …
I’m currently looking at the question of ‘What is intelligence?’ and have found some interesting discoveries, perhaps the most significant being the impact of our emotions; or lack of them. We struggle or we thrive in an education system that rewards the high-flyers; an education system which also pretty much ignores those who try hard but don’t always ‘succeed’. Oh sure! Individual schools may vary in their approach but the UK Government in its blinkered arrogance continues to groom academics who will fit nicely into the nineteenth or early twentieth century.
Let’s face it, if we look at education, who are the successes? Those who become university lecturers … and perhaps those who have a nice job in the city and a six figure income.
But what if the foundation of our assessment of ‘success’ was severely flawed? What if we have chosen the wrond scales to measure ability? What if, in our clambering for figures, numbers, statistics and proof of our performance we are continuing to tread on those who don’t fit our criteria, BUT are incredibly intelligent?
No! I’m not talking in riddles, rhetoric or nonsense.
Education is supposed to provide the skills for life including, but not exclusively for employment. But much of the foundations are crumbling because the current perception of intelligence is wrong: Intelligence is NOT about being able to complete IQ tests. It is NOT about being logical and deductive. Intelligence is about engaging our whole brain successfully.
We perpetuate an education system that is analogous to a 100 metre sprinter who trains only their left leg for a key race. A rediculous thought isn’t it? Yet we put up with the falacy that if we train only one side of our brain we are intelligent!! How can that be?
What would happen if you took a bunch of top mathematicians and asked them a series of questions on the arts, on emotional balance, on colour and hue. Would they score highly? I don’t think so. Would we then turn around and say, ‘You’re not very bright are you’? I don’t think so.
And yet … every day, millions of children in our schools tolerate the same misjudgement. Why? Because they are artists; or dancers; or sculptors; or painters. They don’t fit the logico-deductive mould but they are very intelligent. And what’s more, they can usually engage with their emotions pretty well too, certainly better than those who cream off many of the academic (i.e., Maths and sciences) awards at the annual presentations.
With our obsession for numeracy and provision for an economic climate based on these skills we have strangled the creativity out of most children by the time they are 11 years old. By the time they leave scchool or university, we have academic successes but who are a mystery to their own emotions, and their own emotions are a mystery to them. They know not how to engage them or use them. In the current, rapidly changing economy, the creativity we have successfully stifled is no ,longer an option; it is pre-requisite to survival, especially for businesses (I would argue, for everyone). But we have successfully and systemmatically produced a creative vacuum.
The old economy is disappearing; the new economies arising; and still we fuel the void. The result is people who know longer understand the basis dynamics of interaction; at home; at school; at work; with peers or friends. The result is people who resort to temper and violence to resolve issues because they have no understanding or ability to connect with themselves. The result is people who have lost their true identity … and we all pay the price.
Can it be reversed?
We need systems and people to help us re-engage our passions and the natural creativity we have had squeezed out of us since the age of 4 or 5.
We need people who can draw along side us to help us realise that we are all creative; we just need to discover how and where.
Then we need a dose of emotional realisation to combine with our left-brain, rational thinking and we have a recipe for success.
The bomb is ticking … will we be able to diffuse it in time?