Step 1B: Reflection on Intelligence


Take a moment to reflect on your answer to the poll in the comment section below. Explain how you think about learning new things and the idea of intelligence. Then, read through a sampling of responses from your colleagues to get an idea of how others think about learning and intelligence.

1,212 thoughts on “Step 1B: Reflection on Intelligence

  1. J.T. says:

    I agree with many of my colleagues. The brain has the ability to grow and intelligence is not fixed. We are learners. Every day is the opportunity to learn something new. With a growth mindset, we are open to new learnings, including learning from our mistakes.


  2. Francisco Robles says:

    I believe that our human brain has the potential to grow and learn new things even as we get older, we just need to be motivated to achieve it.


  3. Debby says:

    For me learning new things is a form of intelligence, I know that research shows that our intelligence can include factors like; genetic, environmental, or innate. Intelligence is only limited when you think you know it all already. Some of us are eager to learn and some of us are complacent in just knowing what we know, all are a form of intelligence, in my opinion.


  4. Stacie Kortkamp says:

    I strongly believe in the idea of a growth mindset. If you believe you can learn something, then you can. If you don’t believe it, then you will never learn it. We need to help students make the shift from a fixed mindset to having a more growth oriented mindset.


  5. HP_Stevens says:

    I think there’s a difference between knowledge and intelligence. I liken it to the difference between skill and talent. Skill can be developed. For example, if I spend many hours practicing on a piano, I can learn how to play some version of my favorite song. No amount of practice in the world, however, will get me to the level of someone who is able to listen to the song once and then play it at will either exactly as heard or with flourishes that enhance it. People with talent can do that. It can’t be learned and it can’t be developed; it’s either there or it isn’t. The same with running a 100-yard dash in record-setting time, writing an Oscar-winning screenplay, or throwing a football under pressure with pinpoint accuracy. Talent can be enhanced by skill, and certainly vice-versa, but they’re not interchangeable. In the same way, I think people can learn by studying and practicing, but their intelligence is inherent. I know that’s not a popular perspective right now, but it’s what I believe.


  6. S.C. HPHS says:

    Intelligence has several components, (none of which are completely measurable in all individuals). One component is being curious enough to learn new things, and another one is having the patience to keep at them until one has mastered it, or at least reached a level of competency. Once that individual is competent in this newly learned thing, he or she would need to produce something out of it, because what would intelligence be if it were kept inside our heads? And the product can be something as trivial as getting an A on a math test, or something grand such as finding the cure for cancer.

    With that being said, the type of intelligence ranges within the individual, and every individual has a capacity at which they can obtain information and turn it into something productive. For example, an individual may be emotionally intelligent, having phenomenal interpersonal or intrapersonal skills, but may not be as refined in academics. An example of limitations include individuals with special needs who are impacted physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. In the most severe cases of individuals with special needs, it can be difficult to assess what they know and how well they know it. In a sense, intelligence is very relative, and unique to every individual. Overall, intelligence is something that, when nurtured, can grow.


  7. jose cervantes says:

    I believe that every human being (no matter who she or he is) has the intelligence to learn. Students may feel unconformable when learning new things. This may be due to the fact that they could be going out of their comfort zone, or because they may learn best in a different manner. Regardless of this every student has the potential to learn. As a teacher, it bothers me to hear when some of my students claim that they are not “smart” enough or “good” enough. Every student is intelligent enough to learn. When learning new things, it is the teacher’s job to make these things engaging so that students may want to learn them. Otherwise, students will continue to struggle when learning new things. They will also fear trying out new things when learning.


  8. Cristal Diaz says:

    I believe that you are capable of learning anything if you read about it and practice the skill. We are able to absorb so much and if we have an open mind, it will be much more easier to learn.


  9. Matthew Holtzman says:

    Life is very dynamic and not a static event. I believe everyone can learn new concepts when they have the desire to. So when the desire is strong and the motivation is right intelligence can easily be expanded.


  10. Suzanne Silverstein says:

    If we are born with innate abilities and those abilities are not nurtured, will the individual grow to full potential? Conversely, if we are born with average abilities, can we work to improve and make the most of those abilities? The fact that we continue to learn new things far past our prime supports the idea that intelligence is not static. I believe hard work can help you improve in certain areas, but you cannot study yourself into giftedness.


  11. Humberto Chaidez says:

    It makes me sad that 80 educators “agreed” to this poll. We must be willing to have those difficult conversations with our co-workers about their deficit mindset on our students. Unfortunately, sometimes we the teachers are also an obstacle to our students success. Educating is hard, it is not an easy profession and until our society recognizes that… maybe some teachers just have to leave this profession.


  12. Ani Perez says:

    I believe that anyone is capable of expanding their mind and learning new things. It is difficult to say that intelligence can only be measured in one way, IQ testing. Our minds are always changing. I have seen students and people in my life overcome brain damage and learn new things or have learning disabilities but be able to learn just as well as someone who is perfectly healthy. Anyone who is given the right opportunities and tries hard can learn new things and expand their intelligence.


  13. Alvita Sarkisyan says:

    I believe that if put in a right environment, given the right support and experiences, everyone would be able to learn and be successful. I believe that nurture outweighs nature more.


  14. LD says:

    Scientists are studying the human brain, and have noted more activity and ability to grow new brain cells in young children. I think that it is critical to be sure that students are well prepared with basic skills before moving ahead to more difficult content. Intelligence is usually defined as something one is born with at a certain level. However, I know that people can learn, or relearn things at all ages: hobbies, sports, rehabilitation from an illness or injury, etc. Motivation, perseverance, and encouragement can have a significant impact on the process.


  15. Sara Roof (Millikan MS) says:

    I feel that you can expand your knowledge and learn new things at any point in life, no matter your age or ability. Through persistence and effort, you can increase your knowledge base and learn new skills, information, etc. I realize there are many students and adults (myself included) who may have limitations and/or weaknesses in some areas and strengths in others. What’s important is that we maximize on our strengths to help us work through and overcome our weaknesses and limitations. The brain is a muscle that we can “make stronger” through pushing ourselves through difficulties and struggles, thus becoming more intelligent.


  16. Jennifer King says:

    I voted somewhat agree because I do believe that intelligence can be improved and heightened with hard work, effort and motivation. I have definitely seen students with learning disabilities that learn to overcome them with hard work and rise to the top of their classmates in academic success. However, I also believe that we are all born with brains that are wired and work differently. This is what makes us all unique and good at and interested in different things. While I do believe a growth mindset is crucial for learners (that means all of us) because it builds perserverence and skills, making for successful and happy students I question whether non-stop work and perseverance can grow an average IQ individual to a genius level IQ.


  17. Herminia Rivero-Henwood says:

    Intelligence is the human prowess marked by cognitive feats, high level of motivation and self awareness. I believe in multiple intelligence — one person may be intellectually high in Math, analytical thinking and another in Arts, Music, etc. I believe that intelligence can be learned.
    INtelligence can be interpreted differently by individuals depending on their culture too.


  18. Anwar Farooq says:

    After attending the last session, I now believe that intelligence could be improved, just like any thing about ourselves. The abilities of the mind are definitely not static.


  19. James Knutson says:

    The idea that you are stuck in your level of intelligence can end up being a self fulfilling prophecy. I know many students that are able to push past their preconceived abilities in math and show us they are great at the work and able to continue to grow their minds.


  20. L Olvera says:

    While there are IQ tests, I’m not sure how they really work in measuring intelligence. Even the definition of intelligence can be debated, so to say that intelligence can increase, I supposed it can.


  21. AAT says:

    The brain, similar to any muscle in the body needs to be challenged, trained, and taken care of. If new knowledge isn’t acquired, the brain will not create those connections necessary to associate one thing to another. The knowledge that one already has, may be outdated or the logic may be flawed. Whatever the case, the human brain is capable of doing great things, but if we do not challenge it, we will never know how much we can achieve.


  22. Olga Longi says:

    I believe that we are born with an IQ. Learning new things will make us more knowledgeable and better critical thinkers, but the one with the highest IQ will be the smartest even though it might not be the most knowledgeable one. Sometimes knowledge will win over IQ.


  23. Saray Aguirre says:

    I believe that if a person is given the right support and is motivated they can learn any new skill. We are born knowing nothing and as we are expose to life we learn new things. I think the brain has the ability and the capacity if we are willing.


  24. RDD says:

    I believe everyone has the ability to grow in the area of intelligence. Our brain is not fully developed when we are born so therefor we have the ability to grow and learn and thus increase our intelligence.


  25. The idea of intelligence being static seems false on its face. I suppose there are some things we’re gifted with, and some we’re not, but we can improve every part of ourselves through learning and practice, so it only follows that we can improve our intelligence.


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