Intelligence? A Ten Commandments’ Tale

history was perhaps my strongest school subject. i relied upon my memory to succeed. in high school, i boldly enrolled in the advanced placement high school history class. the class was to be taught at college level and would make one eligible to receive.

after a few days in class, i dropped out. the material was not hard. rather, i obsessed over trying to memorize the entire text book. in retrospect, i was overwhelmed because i did not understand the rules of academics.

in about the third year of college, i finally began to appreciate the relationship between class material and testing. teacher or instructors, at the beginning of the class, will tell you what you need to study. for instance, they may tell you that testing is 75 percent from the lectures and 25 percent from the texts. thus, you know what you need to study. likewise, they may tell you the form of the testing, i.e. true/false, multiple choice, short answer or essay. with that, you know how you will have to perform on testing.

my academic improvement radically changed after observing a good friend’s sister’s study habits. she was a straight “a” student. i watched what she did and copied it. i understood the process of how to learn.

at the same time of this revelation, my field of study also helped to improve my habits. i studied cognitive science; the study of the human mind as an information processing unit.

in my fourth and fifth year of undergraduate studies, the techniques began to pay off. i started getting the top scores in competitive classes which had over 300 people in it. this success carried over to law school where in 4 classes i attained the highest grade. three of these classes had over 100 students. my law school gpa was better than my high school or undergraduate.

the reason was my intelligence improved. while i did not get any smarter, i got better at recalling and performing that material that i learned. per the oxford dictionary, intelligence is “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.”

intelligence is an individual trait. individuals have the ability to improve their capacity to acquire knowledge and skills and they have the capacity to improve their ability to apply the knowledge and skills.

as such, individuals can employ techniques to improve their efficiency of recalling information. individuals can practice the application of this knowledge. for instance, knowing material by simple memorization is not a recommended technique. in other words, staring at materials will not bear success. rather, creating multiple sensorial pathway ways to the knowledge will increase the likelihood it will be recalled when needed. thus, speaking, hearing, seeing and writing the materials create different pathways to recall the information. the more pathways, the greater chance of recall. likewise, practicing the materials, i.e. doing sample questions or practicing essays, is a way of developing the ability to perform the material.

a recent interview with mr. ibram x. kendi, the author of “how to be an anti-racist” offered his insight into intelligence. in a dailymail article, “the 40-year-old lecturer often speaks in his work about doubting his own intellect, an issue he lays at the door of standardized testing in schools. ‘i didn’t fully overcome those doubts until i started rethinking what it means to be intelligent.  ‘we have been taught that the more intelligent you are, the better test scores you’ll get. but the more i understood intelligence, the more i realized that intelligence should be defined as a great capacity to know.’

mr. kendi’s definition of intelligence is terrifying. intelligence is not of knowing. intelligence is a process. it is a process that each individual does. it is a process that each individual can improve upon. thus, intelligence, on one level, can be assessed as to whether the individual is committed themselves towards improving their ability. people have choices. some people choose to impair their abilities. smoking drugs, playing video games, watching tik tok videos, and partying do not translate into measures which improve on one’s intelligence.

an individual’s intelligence can be judged in two ways. first, their individual intelligence. are they making their best efforts? and second, they can be judge in comparison with others. are they smarter than others?

as a former teacher, as much as i love bright kids, my fondness is towards those who give their best efforts. those who choose to be the best pupil that they can be. thus, it is the capacity to be willing to make the effort to both learn how to learn and to practice and apply the techniques which makes great students. intelligence should be judge upon that as opposed to the ability to know.

be well!!

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PS: for those interested, please email me if would like some techniques on how to learn how to learn. i am more than happy to share.

Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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