Intelligence Defining, Identifying and Cultivating Childhood Intelligence Essay

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Defining, Identifying and Cultivating Childhood Intelligence

Intelligence is a complex and nuanced subject. Once evaluated under fairly rigid terms using standardized intelligence quotient (IQ) testing, intelligence is now understood in a far more varied and flexible way, with concepts such as emotional intelligence, technical intelligence and artistic intelligence undermining a singular perspective on that which defines the concept. As this subject has widened in its scope, so too have discussions about identifying, cultivating and optimizing intelligence in our children. The discussion here considers some of the implications of the childhood intelligence discussion with specific reference to some of the factors that may or may not impact its development. The aim of this discussion is to produce a meaningful definition for our evolving concept of intelligence.

Of specific importance is a combination of our basic constructs about intelligence with emergent ideas on the subject. Here, the text by Smith et al. (2010) lends some insight. Smith offers a discussion on intelligence as a feature which both becomes increasingly apparent and which is susceptible to nurturing as early infant development proceeds. Generally referring to the abilities of the child to learn, reason, problem-solve and socialize, intelligence in its most basic form concerns developing patters of intellectual and academic capability.

However, the text by Smith et al. indicates, there is a great deal more emphasis today on expanding our concept of intelligence to include broader forms of developmental engagement. Indeed, with the inclusion of emotional intelligence in modern psychological and sociological examinations of intelligence, the discussion on intelligence seems to share greater relevance with the sequence implicated by the so-called stages of development. This is important because, as Smith et al. critique, "western society has overemphasized intelligence and academic achievement at the expense of emotional skills such as empathy." (Smith et al., p. 211)

By promoting a narrow frame of that which is defined as intelligence, prior scientific research has left something to be desired. In particular, this understanding of intelligence often does little to identify or facilitate positive intellectual traits in individuals who might otherwise demonstrate a slower developmental path. The inverse may also be true, that negative developmental qualities in some individuals may be overlooked due to otherwise positive intelligence development. This is why, according to the consideration by Smith et al., "recent work on the development of emotional intelligence has led to some intervention programs that aim to increase childrens' prosocial behavior, reduce aggression and enhance their capacity to relate well to one another." (Smith et al., p. 224)

In addition to expanding our understanding of intelligence, there have also been…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited:

Der, G. (2006). Effect of breast feeding on intelligence in children: prospective study, sibling pairs analysis, and meta-analysis. BMJ, 333, p. 945.

Dewar, G. (2012). Intelligence in Children: Can We Make Our Kids Smarter? Parenting Science.

Smith, P.K.; Cowie, H. & Blades, M. (2010). Understanding Children's Development. John Wiley & Sons, 5th Edition.

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