Chapter 5

Systems Boost Our Understanding of What is Needed for Learning Success

Key Understanding: We can take advantage of the great richness of learning potential in each student if we can manage our educational resources so learning and motivational principles are effectively and appropriately applied to each student and continuously match each student's learning needs with the best possible learning options. This cannot be successfully accomplished with our current primitive, unmanaged method of schooling which relies almost totally on each teacher's energy and resources. There is more to learning than content and presentations. The purpose of education should go beyond the mastery of content. It should include developing each student's learning and success capabilities..

Systems Thinking Reveals and Expands Opportunities

Wonderful worlds of unlimited potential become available when we use systems thinking. It is something so simple, yet so very profound. In a productive system, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts because each component in the system multiplies the power of all the other components and brings into play powerful principles that can transform the whole into something totally different and far more powerful than a mere collection of its parts.  An airplane wheel cannot make an airplane fly, nor can a wing, nor can any other single component. They must work within a system of other components. Walk into an auto parts store and you will see hundreds of automobile components, but they only have value when they are placed in an appropriate system. Disassemble a computer, and it becomes just a pile of parts rather than a marvel of technology that has revolutionized our way of life.

The Importance of Clarifying a Prime Directive and Mission

When thinking of systems, it is important to think of clients and their mission or purposes. Hold a wooden pencil in your hand. It is composed of several components that work together to create an extremely useful tool for communication. The wood, lead, erasure holder, and erasure together become a system. The purpose of the system is to be part of a larger or macro-system (which would include one or more people, pencil sharpener, paper, a system of symbols, etc.) that empowers a person to use symbols to communicate with self or others. Let’s assume we focused on improving the pencil.

We would need to be careful because improving one part of the pencil may actually harm the system. For example, we could decide to use harder, more durable, wood. But this would make the pencil much harder to sharpen. An even greater danger exists if we concentrate too much on the pencil and how to improve its components, rather than the mission and purposes of using pencils in the first place. Too much attention given to improving the pencil  may unnecessarily hinder us from seeing other, perhaps more fruitful, possibilities of achieving the mission of communicating with self and others. With the mission of communication the focus, during this last century, we have used systems thinking and an ever-growing knowledge of principles to increase our ability to communicate by developing mechanical pencils, typewriters, computer word processors, e-mail, on-line chat rooms, speech recognition programs that do the typing for you, telephones, radios, television, personal data assistants, two-way wireless radios, satellites, and the list continues to grow.  Good thing we didn't just concentrate on pencils! The major lessons for education include two don’ts and two do’s:


1.  Rely on piece-meal efforts to reform education

2.  Be limited to improving any one current tool or method


1.  Focus on the mission and purposes of the learner

2.  Explore the possibilities that can come into existence by systems thinking and the application of an ever-growing knowledge of learning and management principles


Focus on the Success of Learners

Up until the early 1960’s, it was commonly believed that intelligence and learning ability were fixed at birth. Success in school was a matter of achieving up to one’s level of inborn ability. This led to the terms under-achievers and over-achievers. Group intelligence tests were routinely given to all students. Scores were made available to teachers who then treated their students according to those scores. Students achieving below their supposed IQ were prodded to work harder while students achieving above their supposed IQ were considered over-achievers who were probably working too hard. One of the authors of this book had several experiences observing teachers actually adjusting the grades they were going to give certain students after seeing their IQ scores. That is one reason why group intelligence tests and their automatic inclusion in student records was discontinued.

Because it was thought that intelligence was fixed and distributed along a normal curve, it was also considered logical that grades should also be distributed along a normal curve also. Roughly 5 to 10% of the students were expected to fail with an F, 15 to 20% barely pass with a minimum of subject understanding and receive a D, 50 to 60% do average work with semi-mastery and receive a C, 15 to 20% do above average with greater mastery earning a B, and only 5 to 10% actually master the subject and receive an A.   The A students, along with some B students, were then encouraged to pursue higher learning opportunities and given access to programs leading to college.

J. McV. Hunt, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, who wrote a paradigm-changing book in 1961 called Intelligence and Experience, dramatically challenged the idea of a fixed IQ.  Hunt powerfully reviewed extensive research demonstrating that to a significant extent, the growth of intelligence could be influenced either positively or negatively. He then issued the following exciting challenge:

it might be feasible to discover ways to govern the encounters that children have with their environments, especially during the early years of their development, to achieve a substantially faster rate of intellectual development and a substantially higher adult level of intellectual capacity. Moreover, inasmuch as the optimum rate of intellectual development would mean also self-directing interest and curiosity and genuine pleasure in intellectual activity, promoting intellectual development properly need imply nothing like the grim urgency which has been associated with “pushing” children. Furthermore, these procedures, insofar as they tended to maximize each child’s potential for intellectual development, would not decrease individual differences in intellectual capacity as assessed by tests but would increase them. (Hunt, J.McV., Intelligence and Experience, p 363)

Note the words govern the encounters that children have with their environment. This greatly broadens our view of what needs to be considered when planning for optimum student development and achievement.  We need to focus on the learner and his or her optimal interactions with the environment in school and out. Instead of only looking at that which occur in normal classrooms as they now exist, we need to carefully explore what types of interactions a learner should have at school and also outside the classroom.

Previously, a child’s achievement could be considered solely a function of his or her inborn ability. Given a relatively adequate school experience, the speed of the assembly line would simply sort out the students who should go on to further education from those who should and would fall off the assembly line (drop out) or get so hopelessly behind that they would look for future occupational opportunities only where little education was needed.


Because the focus was on the teaching process rather than the learning process and the view that students were or should be relatively passive receivers of instruction, good teaching was generally limited to:


·   Preparation – including teacher (or textbook) determination of objectives.

·   Motivation – devising artificial ways to get students motivated to participate in the learning activity or listen attentively to the teacher’s presentation (i.e., grades & recognition).

·  Presentation – in which the teacher does most of the meaningful work.

·  Evaluation – determining the degree to which children achieved the objectives & giving appropriate grades.

These are important factors to consider as far as teacher presentations and teacher-directed lesson plans are concerned, and should be included in designing effective education systems, but if used to the exclusion of major principles of the learning process and the needs of individual students, they can actually do very little to help students succeed, and may actually hinder the success of many students.

A more fruitful approach to boosting student achievement is to focus on the learner and the learning process. 

Hunt claimed that if we could govern a child’s learning encounters effectively, we could potentially move the whole IQ curve up 10 to 30 points. Think what that would mean to every student's success! Ten additional points would mean an average two-year increase in achievement by the end of high school. Only an average of about 10 points separates a non-high school graduate from a high school graduate. There is an average of only an additional 10 points separating the average high school graduate from the average college graduate.  According to the United States Census Report in 1990, the average income of high school graduates was twice that of non-graduates. College graduates were earning about twice the average of high school graduates. So economically, a ten-point rise in intelligence could mean a dramatic increase in a person’s potential educational level and doubling his or her expected lifetime income! An enriched education in itself would help assure an increase in quality of life as a person incorporated more knowledge learned in his or her life and the contributions the culture has made available. That’s a challenge worth pursuing!

J. McV Hunt's challenge of pulling the IQ curve over

IQ and educational attainment

Educational attainment and Income

For more understanding of this important concept, read the Introductory Chapter to IQ Boosters: A Complete Program to Increase the IQ of Everyone in Your Family Through Time Management, Habits, Activities, and Games, by Brent R. Evans

All of this can be understood more clearly if we look at the research and writings of Jean Piaget and other cognitive psychologists who have studied the construction of intelligence as an active process in which a person interacts purposely with his or her environment and in so doing literally builds his or her learning and coping abilities. According to Piaget, and now most cognitive psychologists, each person is an active learner with a central intelligence ability (mind) who purposely interacts with a responsive environment in order to more fully understand the world he or she is living in and to increase his or her ability to advantageously control consequences.  For example, it has been found that even 5- to 12-week old infants will adapt their speed of sucking on a pacifier (connected to a pressure switch controlling a video presentation) in order to bring a movie into focus. (How People Learn, p 71) In this regard, it is significant that the main conclusion of the largest education study ever undertaken in the United States, The Coleman Report in 1966, concluded that the most important learner characteristic related to achievement was the belief that what he or she did made a difference. Other studies, such as the Fels Research Institute Study, found that passive learners tended to score lower on intelligence tests as they grew older while active learners tended to score higher. The more we examine the process of human learning, the more devastating the current practice of assembly line instruction becomes evident.

Positive interaction with the environment can be viewed as generating self-propelled learning cycles that include purposeful initiatives that result in usable feedback. Jean Piaget used the terms assimilation (adding to and enriching what is already known) and accommodation (changing concepts or action systems) to refer to these cycles. A learning cycle involves ObservationInterpretationPlanningActing.

The learner observes his or her situation, interprets its meaning, plans a reaction or initiative accordingly, acts on the plan, and then cycles through the process again.  As the learner engages in these learning cycles, he or she develops what might be called knowledge intelligence. To become a part of one’s usable knowledge or knowledge intelligence, it is not enough to be exposed to facts and unrelated information. What is observed or encountered must result in a meaningful connection to what has been learned before.  

To become knowledge, new insights are internalized by establishing links with already existing knowledge, and these links can range from firmly characterized relationships to vague associations. Prior knowledge is used to make sense of received information, and once accepted for inclusion, internalizes the new insights by linking with prior knowledge. Hence, the new knowledge is as much a function of prior knowledge as it is of received inputs. A discontinuity is thus created between the inputs and the resulting new knowledge. The resulting knowledge and understanding is formed by combinations of mental objects and links between them and allows us to sense, reason, plan, judge, and act. – (Karl M. Wiig in Chapter 1: Knowledge Management: An Emerging Discipline Rooted in a Long History, p3 in Knowledge Horizons: The Present and the Promise of Knowledge Management by Charles Despres and Danielle Chauvel)

The continuing interactions and the building of personal knowledge and action capabilities involve incremental learning over a period of time, but at certain points, a learner's central intelligence ability reorganizes the knowledge base to a higher level of proficiency. In Piaget’s terms, we see a child develop from sensory-motor modes of thought to pre-operational, to concrete, to formal, etc. We see the same phenomenon in industry and other areas of our productive society. For example, developments in medicine and health care develop incrementally over a period of time, but at certain points revolutionary reorganizations of thought and actions occur. This is sometimes referred to in learning theory as double-loop learning. The first loop is incremental, but occasionally a second loop challenges some of the assumptions of how the knowledge base is organized and a new paradigm or mental model comes into being.

In studying how to promote optimum intelligence and increase learning power, it is important that these learning cycles are encouraged and nurtured. To do so, we need to

  1. Establish a knowledge curriculum within which a learner can successfully interact.

  2. Be continually aware of and respect each student’s current mastery of knowledge within the curriculum, as well as his or her personal goals and aspirations, and preferred styles of learning.

  3. Match each child's learning needs and aspirations with the best learning options possible.

We can find powerful opportunities to increase intelligence and the learning power of all students by using systems thinking to view intelligence in four ways:

·  Neural or Physical Brain Intelligence: the human nervous system including the brain and its “wiring” with neurons

·  Basic or Academic Intelligence: the learning and thinking skills tested by standardized intelligence tests such as the Stanford-Binet and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children)

·  Success Intelligence (Success Equation): the strategies and action systems that boost a person’s learning and achievement capabilities, including Basic or Academic IQ, Goal-directed IQ (achievement motivation and time/resource management), Character or Emotional IQ, Strategy IQ (the use of strategies, tools, and support systems). These areas of intelligence when combined as a whole system create a maximum of success and learning power.

·  Active Learning and Knowledge Intelligence: which includes what Howard Gardner refers to as multiple intelligences which when given adequate educational opportunities will result in a person pursuing and mastering an area of knowledge corresponding to his or her interests and personal capabilities.


Neural or Physical Brain View of Intelligence

Good nutrition, especially during pregnancy and the first months of childhood, can effect the physical development of the brain and nervous system. But at all ages, we learn and perform better when we eat properly and exercise regularly. Consider about eight points of IQ being directly related to good nutrition and health.

Enriched experiences make a positive difference in a child’s developing brain and to some extent throughout life. Physical changes take place as a child interacts with his or her environment and engages in learning opportunities. The cortex of the brain is 80% uncommitted at birth. One of the purposes of childhood is to customize our brains to most effectively deal with our needs and successfully cope with the problems we are likely to encounter in life within the specific environment in which we find ourselves. In other words, to a large extent we develop the intelligence we will need to live life successfully. This continues throughout our lives. Each of us has about the same number of brain neurons, but it is by building connections among them that we increase our real capacity. The number of connections we can make is virtually unlimited, and therefore the potential capacity of our brain becomes for all practical purposes, limited only by our actions and opportunities. Consistent effort in meeting challenges or pursuing goals continues to add neuron connections as the brain wires and rewires itself to become more and more capable of dealing with them. All learning involves new neuron connections. For example, as you study algebra, your brain becomes physically more capable of learning, understanding, and using algebra.

Basic or Academic Intelligence

Standardized intelligence tests such as the Stanford-Binet and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) attempt to determine a child’s basic learning and thinking ability in comparison to other children his or her age while trying as much as possible to not include school learning or achievement. The tests can’t exclude achievement altogether or they wouldn’t have anything to test, but they try to do so as much as possible. The WISC tries to do something more. It endeavors to also evaluate the various processes or skills of intelligence. This has been found to be particularly important in determining learning disabilities. A child significantly weak in one or more of the skills tested is assumed be hampered in his or her learning efforts. Just as it is important to have a physical checkup to determine a person’s health and find out if any weak areas need to be corrected, compensated for, or at least monitored, so it is with basic intelligence skills. There is a strong tendency for people to limit and avoid interactions in any personal area perceived to be weak. For example, a person with a perceived weakness in short-term auditory memory may try to avoid situations requiring that skill. Not exercising that skill may result in an even greater deficiency as time goes on.

The following are 13 key basic IQ skill or process areas including 12 from the WISC and 1 that has been added because of its importance.  The title and description for each is from IQ Boosters by Brent Evans listed in the bibliography. The related WISC sub-test name is in parenthesis.

 1.   Verbal Information & Alertness (Information): Your ability to recognize, understand, and recall verbal information is the foundation of your thinking ability. An added advantage is that the more you know, the easier it is to learn and understand still more. This is evaluated by having the test-taker answer questions such as: Who was the third president of the United States?

 2. Ability to Organize & Generalize (Similarities): Your ability to categorize, organize, generalize, and use what you already know and apply it to new situations and problems. This is measured by having the test-taker answer questions given orally. Examples: In what way is a table and a chair the same? How are they different?

 3.  Mental Math Skills (Arithmetic): The ability to do math computation in your head, giving you freedom to think mathematically at all times, not just when you have a pencil in your hand. This is measured by having the test-taker listen to and solve arithmetic word problems without the use of a pencil. Most of the problems are drawn from familiar life situations, and require relatively simple computation and reasoning. Success is based on: the ability to focus and maintain attention, effective use of short-term memory, freedom from undue anxiety about math, and good, basic math skills.

 4. Vocabulary (Vocabulary): This concerns our ability to understand the meanings of words and give clear definitions of them. This is an important part of intelligence because words help us receive and understand information as well as do our thinking. The test-taker is given a series of words that he or she is to define. Vocabulary correlates higher with full scale IQ than any other subtest on the WISC. It is such an important part of intelligence; some IQ tests contain only vocabulary questions. By the time a child goes to school, he or she has usually learned several thousand words, or about 90% of the words adults normally use in ordinary conversation. To grow much more, a person needs an enriched verbal environment, have a continuous interest in reading, and engage in purposeful vocabulary development.

 5. Practical Living Skills & Good Judgment (Comprehension): Practical knowledge, an understanding of the reasons for things in daily life, a moral sense, and the ability to appropriately respond to real-life situations and problems. This is evaluated by answering questions, such as: Why is honesty important? Why do governments have constitutions? Why do we keep milk in the refrigerator?

 6. Listening and Remembering Skills (Digit Span): Your ability to listen and remember what you hear. Also referred to as short-term auditory memory. This is measured by having the test-taker repeat a series of random digits given orally at one-second intervals. After checking to see how many digits can be remembered and repeated forwards, the test-taker is given an additional series of digits, which are to be repeated backwards.

 7. Visual Information and Alertness (Picture Completion): Your visual knowledge and alertness to detail. The test-taker is asked to identify relevant parts missing in a series of pictures.

 8.  Understanding Cause & Effect in Social Situations (Picture Arrangement): Your ability to understand cause and effect in social situations. The test-taker is to correctly sequence a series of pictures presented in mixed order reflecting real-life situations.

 9. Designing and Constructing with a Model (Block Design): Your ability to think spatially when you have a model or clear outcome to which you can refer. Includes ability to visually analyze an object or problem, break it into individual parts or steps, and reproduce or solve it. This is measured by having the test-taker reproduce designs using special playing blocks that are red on two sides, white on two sides, and half red and half white (diagonally) on the other two sides.

10. Designing and Constructing without a Model (Object Assembly): Your ability to think spatially and create things of worth without a model from which to refer. The test-taker is given ambiguous puzzle pieces and asked to put them together to make a meaningful whole. The test also measures the ability to handle frustration and still keep going.

11. Seeing and Remembering Skills (Coding): Seeing and remembering includes the ability to quickly scan visual information, and then accurately reproduce or use it with limited looks back at the model. Perceptual and visual-motor speed, confidence, and motivation are also involved. This is measured by showing the test-taker a unique design for each of the digits 0 through 9. Two minutes are given to draw as quickly as possible the correct design for a series of digits that follow in random order.

12. Visual-Motor Skills (Mazes): This includes visual-motor coordination, spatial thinking, and the ability to plan ahead visually. The test-taker is asked to use a pencil to complete a series of mazes that increase in complexity.

13. Creativity: This involves your ability to break a mental set and look at things in new ways. It includes the ability to go back and forth between creative or divergent thinking and logical or convergent thinking until achieving the results you want.

All of these skills or processes need to work together as a comprehensive learning system. Teachers and the designers of learning activities and programs need to make sure that any learner deficiencies that might exist in any of these skills is compensated for. Even beyond that, learning activities should be designed to help promote these essential skills in all students and help given to apply them in achieving the objectives of a learning activity. All of these essential skills can be strengthened and further developed in all children. The IQ Boosters book mentioned above contains hundreds of habits, activities, and games to do just that.  

Success Intelligence View (The Success Equation)

Basic or Academic IQ as tested by the Stanford-Binet and WISC correlates with school achievement at about 0.5 and therefore accounts for about 25% of the learning power that results in achievement. Success Intelligence includes three other action systems and strategy components that account for the remaining 75%. 

Goal-Directed Intelligence:
Achievement Motivation & Time/Resource Management (25%)

Goal-directed Intelligence involves knowing what you want and having the abilities and attitudes necessary to direct your energy, passion, time, abilities, and resources to effectively pursue valued goals. Achievement motivation and time/resource management accounts for about 25% of your power to succeed. That means it's contribution to success and achievement is equal to that of Basic or Academic IQ.

Numerous studies illustrate how important Goal-directed Intelligence is. For example, a study in 1953 found that only 3% of the students graduating from Yale that year had written goals and specific plans for reaching them. Twenty years later, it was found that the 3% who had written goals were earning more money as a group than the entire other 97%! Part of the reason why Goal-directed Intelligence is so important is that it makes Basic or Academic Intelligence, Character Intelligence, and Strategy Intelligence function much more purposefully and effectively. It is like the importance of a driver of a powerful, well-designed automobile. One who can direct the automobile to reach the places desired. What is the value of Basic or Academic Intelligence, Character Intelligence, or Strategy Intelligence if it is not directed toward a particular achievement? As we will see later, even the foundational processes of learning and remembering depend on goal-directed activities to function effectively.

A few of the basic abilities and attitudes involved in Goal-directed Intelligence are:

Identifying a personal vision of a life desired and believed possible to achieve. These visions may change as new opportunities and problems arise and as the person matures and gains new knowledge and awareness. Often, a core set of elements remain throughout the person's lifetime, but orchestrated in different ways.

Determining clear goals and values related to the desired personal vision of life, along with clearly identified steps or objectives to achieve them.

Projecting in time. Example: I need this by a certain date, therefore I need to accomplish these specific steps according to this timeline. Motivation involves connecting motives (goals) to be achieved in the future with actions to be accomplished between then and now. The ability to project in time is essential for this to happen.

Awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses as they relate to valued goals.

Ability to make maximum use of strengths and to compensate for any weaknesses by the use of strategies, tools, or partnering with others.

Monitoring progress toward goals, learning from successes and failures, and making adjustments as needed.

Continuously building one's own production ability so as to reach other goals in the future.

Some of the diversions or  disabilities that interfere with goal-directed intelligence are:

Expectation of mediocrity. One of the most documented research finding is that achievement in school often relates to the achievement of the parents. Many students do not strive for high achievement because of their limited beliefs in what they consider possible for them.

Lack of vision. No compelling goals that stretch abilities and generate achievement.

Discouragement and perceived helplessness. As mentioned previously, the nationwide Coleman Study in 1996 concluded that the most important student trait in predicting success and achievement at school was the student's belief that what he or she did made a difference. Extended experience with inappropriate learning objectives and challenges is a prime cause of  learned helplessness.

Lack of Self-Discipline. Unless you can control your own behavior, you cannot carry out the personal actions needed for success.

Fear of Failure. Often students fear to put full effort into learning for fear of failure. In our society, being considered lazy is preferable to being considered as having low intelligence.

Emotional detours and maze running. The emotional health of learners has a direct relationship to their ability to focus their attention and energies toward valued goals. For example, children who are worried about the stability of their families or who have acquired emotional disturbances will be putting most of their energies in dealing with those problems, leaving precious little to pursue learning and achievement.

Lack of knowing how to set goals and create action plans. A person may have dissatisfaction and vague desires, but not know how to clarify them into workable goals and plans.

Unclear learning or challenge edge. Not knowing what he or she knows now and what then would be the next learning or challenge objective. The person may try to take too large of a jump which results in failure or wander in learning material already mastered resulting in boredom. Increased motivation occurs when the next learning step is exactly right.

Lack of know-how. Often some skills or knowledge provides entrance into other skills or knowledge. Being able to read, for example, opens vast worlds of new knowledge. Knowing the basics of how to use the internet may open the way to world's of information and communication. It is important in goal-directed intelligence that lack of know how does not block the pursuit of valued goals.

Lack of resources. It is important that learners have the resources they need to actively pursue their goals. These resources may not be available in their homes. It is therefore vital that they are available in the schools and other community institutions.

Character or Emotional Intelligence:
Character Traits and Success Habits (25%)

Character originally meant a distinguishing mark. As letters of the alphabet and other marks that stood for things were invented, they were referred to as characters. But the word character can also refer to qualities within us: our character. As we develop each desired character trait, such as honesty and courage, we are developing our character. Just as letters of the alphabet when combined become the basis of a beautiful and powerful language, so each character trait combines with others to produce a beautiful and powerful person. Much of a person's success in achieving important goals in life is directly connected to character traits. It is at least equal in power to any other area of intelligence, and it magnifies whatever other abilities one might have. Whether we are talking about academic success in school, occupational success out of school, family success, or success in life in any area, character traits play a major role. It is interesting and magnificent that the 52 character traits introduced below have been talked and written about by great people all over the world and throughout thousands of years of history. They have certainly stood the test of time. To feel the importance of each of them and how they work together for the good and successful life, pick any five and random and consider what effects their lack would have on a person.

  1. Adaptability: This is the power to effectively meet changes in your life and come up with new ideas or methods to solve difficult problems or to reach exciting goals. Adaptable comes from ad (to) and aptus (fit), meaning to fit yourself in.

  2. Alertness: This is the ability to pay careful attention to what is happening and how it might increase understanding or assist in reaching important goals or solving difficult problems. It is important to be able to focus your attention.

  3. Appreciation: Awareness of and sensitivity to goodness, beauty, and the contributions other people make to your well-being and happiness. It is most readily developed by expressing gratitude.

  4. Aspiration: Having worthy purposes, dreams, hopes, and ambitions. It involves visualizing what you want, making a commitment for its attainment, planning, and continually striving for it. Life has a special zest to it when we have a strong desire to achieve something great, noble, or lofty.

  5. Caring: Sincere concern for the well-being of others as exhibited by a desire to share and give in deed, thought, and spirit.

  6. Cheerfulness: An attitude of approaching life in a joyful way. Although life has its serious moments, and sometimes tragedies, it can also be fun. There is a special excitement to living when we welcome each day with cheerful anticipation of good outcomes.

  7. Communication Skills: Ability to share information, ideas, and feelings in productive and satisfying ways. We spend about seventy percent of our waking hours in some form of communication, such as talking, showing, listening, reading, writing, etc.

  8. Competitiveness: Love of challenges, victories, and the attainment of or striving for high standards and important goals.

  9. Confidence: Inner assurance that with effort things will turn out well and success will be the eventual outcome. A confident person evaluates the situation he or she is in, prepares for what needs to be done, and then puts forth the needed effort with a firm determination to succeed.

  10. Contentment: Feeling of quiet, deep satisfaction. You have goals and positive expectations for the future, but at the same time you fully enjoy your current life, situation, and possessions.

  11. Curiosity: Eager desire to learn and understand new things, and to enjoy using and building your mental abilities.

  12. Decisiveness: Courage to do what is right with due consideration of the risks, sufferings, and ambiguities that might exist. To do so means control of your fears, and the avoidance of undue delay and procrastination.

  13. Enthusiasm: Power of positive excitement. It is joy put to work. It creates the extra energy you need to accomplish great things and attracts others to your cause through its magnetism. Resources become available that would otherwise be hidden or out of reach.

  14. Excellence: Striving for perfection and quality, a commitment to see tasks completed, and a willingness to put long, systematic effort into reaching high standards. Mistakes and errors are corrected.

  15.  Fairness: Concern for the rights of all people, not just yourself. It is a valuing of community in which everyone has equal rights under just laws and ways of doing things.

  16.  Family: Involves developing lasting love, trust, and support among each other. It should be a process of depending on each other, sharing burdens, and cheering each other on to victories. Each family role and relationship has its own unique qualities that can add to a full, rewarding life for every member whether it be husband, wife, parents, or children. Brothers and sisters have immense potential for the rich love that comes from common experiences. Grandparents, grandchildren, and the whole spectrum of extended family relationships offer a wealth of possibilities to enrich life.

  17.  Forgiveness: Giving up angry or hurt feelings, or wanting to punish someone or yourself for doing you injury.

  18. Fortitude: Courage or strength of character to face problems, pain, danger, or adversity with a positive attitude.

  19. Friendworthy: Having a generous and friendly way of treating other people. It also involves motivation to establish meaningful, growth-promoting, and satisfying relationships.

  20. Honesty: Straightforwardness in thought, speech, and conduct with no attempt to deceive. Its companions are truthfulness, sincerity, and integrity.

  21. Humility: Openness and willingness to learn and grow. It is the capacity to be teachable, and is composed of valuing self and others. A humble person openly recognizes his or her own weaknesses and faults, and is therefore in the best position to avoid stumbling over them.

  22. Imagination: Involves creating pictures or ideas in your mind of how things could be. It is a prelude to making what does not exist now into reality.

  23. Initiative: Ability and motivation to get things started without needing to be told or reminded. It involves a strong internal desire to be successful, and the courage to take action even if conditions are not perfect. 

  24. Leadership: Ability to show others the way, and to motivate them to go in that direction. It involves being able to communicate a vision, and generating the best in others to work to achieve it. It is the art of getting others to do something you want done because they want to do it.

  25. Loving: Strong personal attachment, devotion, and tender feelings toward one or more other people. Great pleasure is experienced in looking out for the welfare of the other person and contributing to that person's full growth and happiness.

  26. Loyalty: Faithfulness and firm allegiance to one or more people, to one's country or institution, or to some ideal or cause. It is a commitment that is not subject to wavering because of temporary pressures, enticements, or situations. A loyal person can be trusted.

  27. Management: Involves the efficient use and coordination of resources toward identified and valued goals. It is the creation of power from the organized effort and direction of people, time, materials, and finances.

  28. Obedience: Willingness and ability to follow appropriate orders, rules, laws, and principles for the good of self and others.

  29. Orderliness: Habit of keeping everything in the right place and in good working condition so life can be easier, more productive, and happier. When you look for something, you can find it easily.

  30. Peacemaker: An intense desire to live in harmony and productivity with others. Conflicts are not ignored, but priorities are clear, and there is an honest attempt to resolve disagreements in a win/win manner.

  31. Perseverance: Steady quality of sticking to priority tasks and goals in spite of difficulty, lack of apparent progress, or opposition. A person with perseverance does not stop too soon, and thus love his or her best chances for success.

  32. Positive Attitude: A positive person continually fills his or her mind with lovely, wholesome, and uplifting thoughts and therefore finds confidence, peace, joy, and fulfillment. Problems are considered opportunities to solve, and opportunities generate excitement and anticipation of adventure and success.

  33. Preparation: Doing what is necessary to be ready for success and take advantage of opportunities.

  34. Prudence: Showing good judgment and attention to warnings. Undue risks are avoided by careful planning, including foreseeing the possible negative consequences of actions and words.

  35. Punctuality: Getting things accomplished on time. This can mean keeping appointments and arriving at places on time, but it also means getting work accomplished on time. It involves careful planning, awareness of time, the proper pacing of activities, overcoming obstacles, and avoiding procrastination or putting things off.

  36. Relaxation: Ability to loosen up and rest from work and problems so as to live a better and more productive life without the drain of too much or too prolonged stress, tension, or worry. It gives you the opportunity to enjoy the lighter things of life and see things in wider perspective. It also fills you with fresh energy to work again and again at full capacity.

  37. Resilience: Ability and strength to bounce back from defeat and make renewed attempts at success. Defeat is considered temporary and a means of learning what is needed to make an even greater push to victory.

  38. Responsibility: Trust and commitment to duty. It involves reliable and faithful performance and the keeping of agreements. A responsible person can be counted on and trusted to do what is needed.

  39. Self-Awareness: Accurate inner knowledge of who you are. It involves an appreciation for your own feelings and characteristics, allowing a spontaneous and genuine approach to life.

  40. Self-Control: Means to be in charge of yourself. You have feelings, needs, and desires, but you manage your actions so as to maximize your well being with due consideration for the welfare of others. Sometimes you refrain from actions or modify how you do things. It is like the controls of an airplane. You have a priority destination in mind, and you want to reach there safely.

  41. Self-Esteem: Having a high regard for your own worth and dignity. It does not involve feeling you are better than others. In fact, high self-esteem is almost always connected with equal regard and care for others.

  42. Self-Reliance: Taking responsibility for your own success, using your own judgment, efforts, and abilities. You are determined to get done what needs to get done, regardless of what others do.

  43. Sexual Identification & Appreciation: Being comfortable with your own masculinity or femininity and placing worth on the best of womanhood and manhood.

  44. Social Skills: Getting along with others in productive and satisfying ways.

  45. Spiritual Awareness & Strength: Finding and achieving meaning, vision, and value in life.

  46. Teamwork: Ability to cooperate and combine your efforts with others to more effectively reach shared and valued goals. The power to achieve is greater because each person's unique strengths and resources can be maximized and any weaknesses minimized by combining efforts.

  47. Temperance: Maintaining a proper balance of actions, thoughts, and feelings that result in maximum physical, spiritual, and emotional well being. This includes appropriate moderation in the indulgence of appetites and passions.

  48. Thriftiness: Carefully managing time, money, and resources so the greatest benefit is obtained to self and others with the least waste.

  49. Time Awareness and Effective Use: Using time to the best advantage to get the most out of life. This includes prioritizing our needs and wants so as to have more of what we value the most.

  50. Values: Treasuring positive principles of life conducive to happiness and growth for self and others.

  51. Wisdom:  Good judgment and choice-making that comes from knowledge and experience in life. Key ingredients are perspective and practicality.

  52. Work Habits: Willingness to put forth disciplined and energetic effort to achieve success.  An understanding that it is through work that dreams are fulfilled and needs are met.

Strategy Directed Intelligence:
Learning/Thinking Strategies & the Use of Tools and Support Systems (25%)

Making learning easier and faster by using powerful strategies, having the right tools, and benefiting from a support system that provides what you need to succeed. You could swim across a lake, but knowing the right techniques could make it much easier. In fact, easier yet would be to have a sailboat, especially if someone would teach you how to set the sails.

Learning/Thinking Strategies and Support Systems account for an average of 25% of a person's power to learn and succeed.  Most people forget most of what they learn. What if you could retain almost everything you decide is important?

Examples of important learning strategies:

1. Build a Skill Foundation: The strength of a foundation determines what can be built on it. This is true of houses and skyscrapers, and it is true of learning. Ever noticed how difficult it is to find your way in a new city? Even directions others give you are difficult to understand. However, once you secure a few landmarks, the situation changes. Now you can be told (and understand) that such and such place is close to one of your known landmarks. The whole picture starts to fill in. And the more you learn, the easier it is to learn more. It's important to master the basic skills and ideas (the landmarks) in each subject area you study.  Not just sort of know what nouns are when studying parts of speech.  Not just sort of know addition or multiplication facts, but really know them! It makes learning in that content area easier and faster. Get into the habit of spending whatever time and practice is needed to fully master the basic skills and concepts of whatever you are studying!

2. Rehearse: When told an important telephone number, a person may repeat it over and over so it won't be forgotten.  This is called rehearsing.  People often do this when trying to memorize the name of someone they have just met.  The best rehearsal technique is to connect new information with previous information. Related information is easier to remember.  It's like tying things together in packages that are easier to carry.

3. Simplify: Go one step at a time when something is difficult.  At first glance, many problems look too hard, but they become simple when they're cut down to size.  Start by doing the first thing the problem asks, then the second, and so on. There's no need to tackle a difficult problem all at once. If the problem is in written form, take notes on each part. Separate the needed information from the jungle of words surrounding it.  Draw pictures if it helps. Here is a problem from a 5th grade math book:

The class used 1/2 of the bulletin board for a science display.  Sue's papers took 1/3 of the display space.  What fraction of the whole board did Sue's papers cover?

Certainly lots of words.  An effective strategy is to simplify and draw pictures so the problem becomes clear and concrete.

4. Know When You Know: Effective learning requires that people know when they know something and when they don't.  A person needs to know when to ask questions, get help, or study further. Why waste time studying something that is already known? What's worse is spending a lot of time doing something the wrong way without realizing it.  It would be like practicing basketball shots without a basket to aim for. There would be no feedback on whether there is improvement or not. Get into the habit of checking with yourself whether you know something or not.  For instance, do you already know how to spell all the words on your spelling list?  If not, which ones do you need to study further?  Do you know your addition facts?  If not, which ones do you still need to learn? Be sure to frequently pre-test and re-test yourself, to follow your progress and direct your efforts. With experience, you will determine more quickly when you know something and when you don't, and exactly which things you need to focus on. As you do this, you will learn new things more quickly and effectively.

5. Pinpoint and Dramatize:  Target specifically what you need to learn and and then highlight or dramatize it. For example, here is an effective way to study spelling. Spell a word the way you think it is spelled.  If it's correct, go on to the next word. If it's wrong, check how it should be spelled and write the word again. Start the word in cursive, but this time, print in large letters the part you still need to learn. When studying math facts, take a math fact test and, on another sheet of paper, rewrite the problems that you missed but dramatize the answers.  Perhaps you might even make a crazy story out of the problem and using the numbers as the names of characters or objects, such as: 8 and 6 chased 14 all the way home.

6. Use Memory Tricks: There are virtually an unlimited number of tricks that are available or can be created to help a person remember better. A string around the finger is a trick, and for some people it works.  Other people may use the front door to help them remember something. When they see the front door, they are likely to remember something they're supposed to do before they leave (like get their lunch money). Want to remember the names of the three greatest philosophers of Ancient Greece?  Use the word SAP - Socrates - Aristotle - Plato - to help you remember. Want to remember which months have 31 days? Make a fist and, as you recite the months, touch one knuckle, then the space between knuckles, then a knuckle, and so on.  When you reach the 4th knuckle, go directly back to the first knuckle and continue. Each of the knuckle months have 31 days.

7. Use Visual Note-taking: Visual memory is usually a person's strongest memory system. This is why people generally recognize a person's face easier than that person's name.  It is also easier to remember things that are grouped together. An easy way of taking notes for later review is by drawing a visual mind map. Place an oval in the middle of your paper and print the main subject inside it. Then draw lines out from it for the information you need to remember. Continue to branch the lines as needed to place related information together.  Use as few words as possible. Visual notes make reviewing fast and effective!  Another way to help make remembering easier is by drawing pictures. Draw a picture of how one idea or fact relates to other ideas.

8. Use Systematic Review: By not reviewing, the information learned one day is often forgotten the next day. It's like having a hole through which everything drops out.  The only way to plug the hole is to frequently review what is learned until it becomes part of one's permanent memory system. This doesn't mean more time studying because by learning in a way that a person won't forget, it will no longer be necessary to learn the same thing over and over again! Make a habit of distributing the time that you study. Budget your time so that you spend a small amount of time each day on a subject rather than using all your study time at once.

9. Identify How You Learn Best: A person can learn in several different ways.  Three primary ways are to listen and learn, see and learn, or act on something and learn from its results.  Some people learn best when listening, others by seeing, and still others by doing.  Identify how you learn best and start to utilize that way more. Most people, however, find that they can learn most effectively when they use all three ways of learning. Hearing alone is usually not as good as hearing and seeing together. And by adding action to it, a person will gain more power still!

10. Shoot for a Goal: Imagine a football game without goal lines!  Or a basketball game without baskets!  Or a race without a finish line!  Dull! Make learning exciting by always shooting for a goal. The goal should be reachable, but challenging.  Can you now do 35 multiplication problems correctly in 5 minutes?  Try for 40 next time.  Did you get 80% of your spelling words correct on your last test?  Try for 85% or 90% -- whatever would be challenging and fun for you to try next.

11. Use Picture Associations: We can dramatically boost our ability to remember things if we can associate them with vivid pictures. This is one of the most effective tricks people with outstanding memories use. For example, we can learn and retain the meanings of words much more easily if we draw pictures to represent them.

12. Use Word Power: Talking through difficult learning problems is like shifting into overdrive.  It can increase learning by 20%. Try it and see.  Select a difficult learning problem (math, history question, workbook page, etc.) and attempt to work it without talking to yourself.  Now select a similar problem and talk about it as you do it.  Can you feel the extra power?  Words help a person concentrate. Language is logical, so it increases one's ability to think logically through problems. Because language is logical, it will spotlight any gaps in a person's information or reasoning.  These are the areas a person can then ask questions about and reason through.

All four components of Success Intelligence are highly interactive and interdependent.

None are effective alone, and an improvement in one can positively effect all the other areas of intelligence. We need to look at all four components of Success Intelligence working together as a whole system. Everything we have discussed so far in regard to how systems boost success apply. If you are reading this on-line at the web site, click on the titles below for further information on that component of Success Intelligence. If you are reading the book in print, see the resource chapters at the end.

Basic or Academic IQ (25%) x Goal-directed IQ (Achievement Motivation & Time Management) (25%) x Character IQ (Character Traits & Success Habits (25%) x Strategies IQ (Learning/Thinking Strategies & the Use of Tools and Support Systems) (25%) = Achievement and Success

Notice the multiplication signs. That means the various components of  Success Intelligence are part of a system and the strength of one affects the performance of all the others. The whole becomes much greater than the sum of its parts.

To illustrate, let’s rate each component on a scale of 0 to 10, with 5 being average and 10 being the highest. If any component is 0 or even 1, then success will be severely limited or even non-existent. Assume in a particular case that all components are below average: 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 = resulting in an 81 power rating. Then assume that we could raise one of the components by 2 points, perhaps Goal-directed IQ: 3 x 5 x 3 x 3 = resulting in a much better 135 power rating. If we then raise Character IQ by 3 points: 3 x 5 x 6 x 3 = resulting in an even better  270 power rating. Here is what would happen if we additionally raised our Basic or Academic IQ rating by 1 and the Strategies IQ by 2 points: 4 x 5 x 6 x 5 = resulting in a power rating of 600! Remember, that all the components of  Success Intelligence can be developed and strengthened both inside school and out. Learning activities should be designed to help promote all of them and should be an important concern of educators and parents alike. Imagine the possibilities of increasing school achievement and life success when we do so!

You might want to evaluate your own success power rating. After doing so, decide on a plan to raise one or more components of your success equation. To do so, you need information, resources, and support. So does every student today. Unfortunately, such help is not available in today's primitive structure of schooling. Not to leave you dangling, however, you can get a start at

It is important at this point to discuss some basics of how our sensing and memory systems work together. We will then be in a better position to understand more about success intelligence and in turn be ready to discuss the fourth view of intelligence as multiple intelligences leading to knowledge intelligence.

Active Learning, Multiple Intelligences, and the Knowledge Intelligence View

Beginning from birth and extending throughout life, people interact with the environment and in so doing build what might be called knowledge intelligence, which in its widest sense includes everything a person knows, feels, and/or can do. This includes everything we have covered so far in Basic Intelligence Skills and Success Intelligence, but we are now going to explain the active learning and memory systems involved in acquiring or constructing knowledge, how the concept of multiple intelligences fits in, and the importance of providing for opportunities to develop knowledge intelligence in the area of one’s preference and aptitude.

Sensory Register System (Filter for interaction potential)

As we interact with the environment, we are exposed every moment to a tremendous amount of stimuli, but only a small portion of it ever gets through to our conscious mind. Everything we are capable of seeing, hearing, or otherwise sensing is checked out and stored for a split second in our sensory register system. During that split second, we determine, usually unconsciously, what is relevant and needs to be reacted to and what isn’t. Whatever is determined to be irrelevant is dismissed as if it never occurred. This can include information that hasn’t changed and therefore does not need a new reaction. For example, the amount of air in a room is important to our well-being and is constantly monitored using our sensory register system, but only becomes relevant if it changes and requires us to take an action of some kind. Much of what is relevant can be processed unconsciously and acted upon with little or no conscious attention. For example, while driving a car we engage in many corrective actions in response to stimuli and information that often do not require our conscious attention. Next time you are driving, notice the steering wheel and the many adjustments you make without conscious effort. Even keeping our balance while standing involves numerous corrective actions usually without our awareness. This is due to our having previously practiced the relevant skills consciously until they became habits that can be automatically initiated in response to a whole variety of circumstances. Before those actions are learned sufficiently and become habitual, we have to consciously think about and direct the many actions involved in driving a car or standing without falling. We do not really become skillful at anything until the supportive skills and actions become automatic and habitual.

That is why such things as models, imitation, motivation, intention, prior knowledge, expectations, goals, and challenges are important. If learning to read, for example, is not considered relevant, then stimuli related to reading will be ignored. Even the setting can be important. If learning math is perceived as totally a school classroom activity, then the wealth of math examples and stimuli outside the classroom will be ignored as if they didn’t exist. We can learn to use our sensory registers more effectively by setting up key types of things to which we want to be alert, and have at least a basic understanding of the subject of interest. If we want our sensory register system to help us learn about the dynamics of weather, then knowing certain basics such as the names of different kinds of clouds will facilitate that happening. Having clear goals and knowing what is important to notice is an almost effortless way for us to greatly enrich our learning potential.

At times, something we determine is relevant needs our conscious attention, and by directing our attention to it we use our conscious or short-term memory system to process it.

Short Term Memory (Conscious Working Space)

One of the major characteristics of short-term memory, our conscious working space, is that it is very short and very limited. It is like a small working shelf upon which we are able to place only a small number of items, but with this shelf the moment we direct our attention elsewhere, everything is immediately shoved off. It is important in developing our success power to come to terms with the reality of our limited conscious processing power and our scarcity (therefore the great value) of attention. As Jerome Bruner explains:

Perhaps the most pervasive feature of human intellect is its limited capacity at any moment for dealing with information. There is a rule that states that we have about seven slots, plus or minus two, through which the external world can find translation into experience. We easily become overwhelmed by complexity or clutter. Cognitive mastery in a world that generates stimuli far faster than we can sort them depends upon strategies for reducing the complexity and the clutter. But reduction must be selective, attuned to the things that “matter.” (The Relevance of Education, p4)

It is important for educators to understand this limitation as they plan how to teach their students. Too often, teachers can overload a student’s ability to process what is being presented. It is even more important for learners to realize this limitation and use strategies to best cope with it. All of us have this limitation. We can only think about 7 plus or minus 2 bits of information at any one time. That is why telephone numbers are seven digits long.  Try this experiment. Have someone say a random list of digits to you at one-second intervals. By the way, this is one of the basic intelligence skills tests covered by both the Stanford-Binet and the Wechsler Intelligence Scales. Now, try it with someone else. Present the following digits at one-second intervals: 3 – 9 – 7 – 1 – 4 – 3 – 8 – 0 – 2 – 8 – 6 – 5 – 2 – 8 – 4. That was fifteen digits, and you probably observed the person you were testing starting to become nervous and shaky near the time the seventh or eighth digit was given. Another interesting phenomenon occurs when a person’s short-term memory becomes overloaded. He or she not only can’t remember the additional digits, but also probably loses them all. It is like a person trying to balance a stack of pies. As each additional pie is placed on the stack, the person gets more nervous and has a harder and harder time balancing the stack, until finally the whole stack falls.

There are tricks and strategies a person can use to increase his or her ability to recall a random list of digits.  The simplest would be to use a pencil and paper and write the information so it can be referred to as needed. On a standardized intelligence test, this is not allowed, but certainly in real life this can dramatically improve our ability to recall information. There are also memory tricks or aids. On the digit span test, this usually involves chunking or grouping several digits together to make a chunk. If the fifteen digits could be made into five chunks, then they would be much easier to remember. It also helps to connect these chunks with some meaning or even a story line. For example, when I was 39 and my father was 71 we received 43,802 telegrams saying we won $865,284. Of course, you need to work on this type of strategy until you become so good at it that you don’t have to use any of your precious working space thinking about the strategy itself. Nervousness can also limit your working space capacity. A person can use up several of the 7 + or – 2 bits of information space by thoughts of worry, leaving even less space to process anything else.

The concept of chunking is the basic process we use to construct higher and higher levels of understanding and the development of skills. In learning to drive a car we are quite nervous at the beginning because we have to think about too many things at one time. But as we learn basic driving skills, we chunk them together as a system, and so don’t have to think of the sub-skills separately. We can think of starting the car as one skill instead of the many sub-skills it actually involves. In learning telegraphy, we first have to think of the dots and dashes that make up the letters. The letter A is dot – dash, B is dash – dot – dot. We become quickly overloaded. But after learning the patterns for each letter to the point of complete mastery, we don’t need to think of the dots and dashes anymore, but only the letters themselves. We have chunked to a higher level. We can then chunk letters into words, words into phrases, phrases into sentences, sentences into ideas. At some point, we become able to translate Morse code at an amazing speed. To someone who hasn’t gone through this chunking process, it might seem almost super-human, but it is actually a natural process of how we progress from one level of understanding or skill to another.

Even Albert Einstein had to deal with the problem of a limited short-term memory. It is reported that he would occasionally place his papers and notes on a long table and run back and forth trying to increase his short-term memory capabilities. He was a prodigious note taker and had a pad of paper always conveniently available to catch any thoughts that might arise. His growth of understanding grew by using the chunking process over a period of time to continually add to his understanding in his chosen fields of study. Quite interestingly, he claimed that most of his breakthrough discoveries did not occur while consciously working on them. He made it a habit to purposely use his unconscious long-term memory system and stream of thought, which have virtually unlimited powers, to work for him in the areas of his interest and would alert him at any time of day or night to possible breakthroughs. He could then process those breakthroughs with his conscious working system.

It is important to realize that our conscious attention and short-term memory is limited and will be filled at random by whatever attracts our attention unless we purposely decide to use it for what is really important to us.  Many people will have months or years go by without working on or dealing with important areas of their lives simply because they didn’t consciously think about them. Their conscious working space was always occupied by the unimportant. Without effectively using our limited conscious workspace to plan and implement how to reach our goals and solve our problems, we also leave our sensory register and long-term memory systems without direction and therefore with weakened or no power to help us learn, grow, and be successful.

Long Term Memory System

In contrast to the limited capacity of our conscious short-term memory, our long-term memory system has virtually unlimited storage capacity. If you stacked a sheet of paper on your desk for every potential cell connection in your brain, how high would it go? To the moon? The sun? The edge of the solar system? The edge of the galaxy? It would go way beyond that, way beyond even neighboring galaxies.

What’s more, our long-term memory capacity grows with use. Like a magical suitcase, the more you put into it the more you can put into it. A medical doctor, because of all that he or she has previously learned, has even greater capacity to learn and store even more information related to his or her medical specialty. This is demonstrated by the concept of information nets. Remember, information we encounter only becomes knowledge if it can be connected and found useful with previous knowledge. For example, if you had never visited a particular city before and knew none of the streets or landmarks, everything seems confusing and difficult to learn. New information has nothing to which to connect. Someone mentions a street, but where is that street in relation to anything else? Now, consider a worse situation. Let’s assume you didn’t even have the concept of streets, landmarks, and spatial directions. You would even have less capability learning how to get around in that city. But once we get our bearings, and we master certain basic concepts and the locations of some of the major streets and landmarks, additional information becomes much easier to learn and remember and possibly even automatic in our day to day living. Information nets increase the productivity and quantity of potential learning interactions. The long term memory system operates on the principle: The more you learn, the more you can learn.

The long-term memory system can process unlimited information simultaneously. This is easily seen with examples of models and imitation. You find yourself laughing in exactly the same manner as someone else. You didn’t take laughing instruction, nor did you seemingly exert any energy in learning this complex behavior. It just happened. Learning through imitation is a great way to learn, but it requires suitable models. Much of what is learned through imitation in childhood is mastered and extended by play. If you are observant of children in play, you will often notice them trying out various roles, ways of doing things, and reactions to what they have observed in their environment.

This fantastic ability to process unlimited information simultaneously has at times been noticed in all of us. We suddenly have a breakthrough in which we have reorganized what we knew and came up with new insights with all their many ramifications already in place. Dreams can also demonstrate this amazing ability. Can you imagine what would be involved if we tried to compose and direct one of our dreams using our conscious mind? Intricate plot development, unique characters, costumes, and set designs come into being instantly as we relax asleep in bed.

There are numerous stories in history of amazing breakthroughs and mental accomplishments using the power of the long-term memory system and streams of thought. These breakthroughs often occurred while the person was engaged in something quite different from what the breakthrough was about. Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine, had worked long and hard on his invention, but his key breakthrough happened while asleep. In his dream, cannibals had captured him and were dancing and jumping around him menacingly waving their spears up and down. But not just ordinary spears; these spears each had a hole in the tip. Howe awoke with the answer to the sewing machine. Place a hole in the tip of the sewing needle! Archimedes, the Greek mathematician and inventor who lived over two thousand years ago, made one of his great scientific discoveries as he was sitting in his bath. He got so excited about it that he jumped up and ran naked through the streets yelling, Eureka (I Got It!). The great composer, Frederick Handel, had the entire music of The Messiah appear in his mind in an instant and then spent the next 23 days and nights with almost no food or rest to get it written down.

Our long-term memory system’s power to help us succeed is determined by the organized knowledge that we acquire and retain. It becomes our knowledge intelligence. The interest in studying knowledge intelligence was brought to the forefront when researchers began studying how some chess masters could while blindfolded play dozens of chess games simultaneously. They could also look at a chessboard for a few seconds and remember the position of the pieces way beyond what the average person could do.

Was this a matter of basic intelligence? When given standardized intelligence tests, these chess masters on the average showed good intelligence, but not exceptionally high. What, then, could explain their remarkable powers? Pursuing the study further, it was found that chess masters were only able to remember the position of chess pieces on a board at a remarkable level when those pieces were placed in relation to chess strategies. When the pieces were placed at random, chess masters could do little better than anyone else. The conclusion was their remarkable feats were the result of  knowledge intelligence at work.

This was dramatized in a major study published in 1985 led by Benjamin S. Bloom in which a team of research workers at the University of Chicago … examined the processes by which individuals who have reached the highest levels of accomplishment in selected fields have been helped to develop their capabilities so fully.  The study included pianists, sculptors, research mathematicians, research neurologists, Olympic swimmers, and tennis champions. The conclusions have important implications for the reform of education and our understanding of knowledge intelligence:

The study has provided strong evidence that no matter what the initial characteristics (or gifts) of the individuals, unless there is a long and intensive process of encouragement, nurturance, education, and training, the individuals will not attain extreme levels of capability in these particular fields. This research has raised questions about earlier views of special gifts and innate aptitudes as necessary prerequisites of talent development. (Developing Talent in Young People, p 3)

Similar results were found in a study of the child-rearing practices of 60 mothers of exceptionally high-achieving children and adults in Entertainment/performing arts, Business/politics, Science/scholarship, and Arts/letters. The findings were published in 1980 in a book titled The Roots of Success by Cynthia S. Pincus, Leslie Elliott and Trudy Schlachter. It reported the need for a threefold parent commitment:

·  Expect greatness to unfold as your child grows up.

·  Be intensely involved in your child’s development of abilities and talents, especially in the early years.

·  Show early recognition and enthusiastic support for your child’s emerging special gifts, talents, and interests.

This also fits in with what Dr. Maxwell Maltz, who wrote Psycho Cybernetics, recommended parents communicate to their children:

·  You have tremendous hidden abilities just waiting to be developed.

·   It is up to you to develop them.

·  The more abilities and talents you develop, the happier you will be.

These findings have breathtaking implications for education. First, our potential to learn and achieve is much higher than we had previously supposed. As Jerome Bruner explains,

The range of man’s intellect, given its power to be increased from the outside in, can never be estimated without considering the means a culture provides for empowering mind. Man’s intellect then is not simply his own, but is communal in the sense that its unlocking or empowering depends upon the success of the culture in developing means to that end. (Bruner, The Relevance of Education, p 7)

Second, the motivation of the learner, given a supportive and responsive environment, is self-rewarding and powerful.

Save in the artificial setting of the school, dominated as it is by telling and a lack of guiding feedback, there is an extraordinary property of self-reward about the act of learning during growth. The satisfaction of curiosity seems to be self-rewarding among all primates. So, too, the development of competence. More uniquely human, finally, is that mysterious process whereby human beings pattern themselves on another and gain satisfaction by maintaining the supposed standard of their model. The three self-rewarding processes provide a motor for growth that is stalled only by repeated failure or by an inability to determine how one is progressing at a task. This does not mean, of course, that what a child learns is what is most empowering of his capacities but, rather, what happens to be available. It is here that the innovation of school and teacher can be critically important. (Bruner, The Relevance of Education, p 14)


Multiple Intelligences and the Development of Specialized Knowledge Intelligence

A basic premise of powerful systems is that they are composed of specialized subsystems, each contributing synergistically to the transformation of the whole to become much more than the sum of its parts. In our productive society there is a need for a wide variety of special talents, skills, and knowledge. We have but to look around and see carpenters, electricians, plumbers, dentists, doctors, lawyers, cab and bus drivers, engineers, programmers, actors and actresses, geologists, politicians, police, teachers, etc. Each occupation involves knowledge intelligence, which in many cases in this Knowledge Age requires years of development. It is therefore vital for the well-being of everyone in our complex society that learners from a young age be given rich opportunities to explore, learn and interact with the specialized knowledge to which they have particular interests and talents. 

This is where the concept of multiple intelligences comes in. It is rather simple, and somewhat obvious. People have different interests and aptitudes. There are certain basic IQ skills that are important to everyone. We have discussed that above. Beyond those basic skills, people have strengths and weaknesses in what Howard Gardner describes as multiple intelligences. The following is a list of the various intelligences identified so far and the occupations that people strong in those intelligences may be inclined to pursue:

  1. Verbal-Linguistic: involving words and language. (teacher, religious leader, politician, writer)

  2. Logical-Mathematical: involving numbers, mathematical thinking, using the scientific method, deductive and inductive reasoning. (accountant, statistician, economist, engineer, scientist, computer programmer)

  3. Spatial: involving thinking in pictures and images, noticing visual details, drawing, and sketching. (artist, photographer, architect, decorator, tour guide, scout, mechanical engineer, draftsman)

  4. Bodily-Kinesthetic: involving touch, movement, physical self, sports, craftsmen, artisans, actors, mechanics, surgeons)

  5. Musical: involving tone, beat, tempo, melody, pitch, sound, music appreciation, composing, performing. (composer, musician, conductor, critic)

  6. Interpersonal: involving body language, moods, voice, feelings, noticing and responding to other people's feelings, desires, intentions, and personalities. (social director, administrator, manager, negotiator, teacher, salesperson, consultant, therapist, psychologist)

  7. Intrapersonal: involving awareness of one's own strengths, weaknesses, goals, and desires. (counselor, theologian, social worker, self-employed business person, planner, artist, writer)

  8. Naturalist: involving awareness and appreciation of natural objects, plants, animals, ecological issues. (zoologist, botonist, biologist, ecologist, veterinarian, gardener, ranger, farmer, horticulturist, landscape designer, florist, nature photographer/artist)

An empowering education system needs to provide learning opportunities in a wide variety of specialized areas from as young an age as possible. We live in a meritocracy in which we reward those who have acquired knowledge intelligence in the areas needed by our society. If we are to be fully free as a people with equal opportunities to pursue our individual dreams and enjoy the great benefits of living in our nation, then each person needs adequate access to the means by which that knowledge intelligence can be achieved. That is the challenge we will discuss in the next chapter.