What is intelligence?
Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers, highlights the work of Robert Sternberg who proposes that intelligence should be rethought of as an ability to perform and is influenced by context; as opposed to solely the mental processes inside a person's head i.e. the IQ test. Sternberg believes that there are 3 intelligences in human cognition; analytical, creative and practical.
Analytical Intelligence - Sternberg believes analytical intelligence is based on performance and metacomponents. Performance component are the basic operations involved in any cognitive act.
Creative Intelligence - This involves insights, synthesis and the ability to react to novel situations and stimuli.
Practical Intelligence -Adapting to an environment or changing the environment in order to have goals met. (This has been adapted from Wilderdom.com)
How do we structure our environment to support this?
An example of this within PE could be the skill and drill approach where a skill is taught in isolation; students are expected to imitate and repeat the skill in isolation, performing in near total absence of creative or critical thinking. When in a game, do you perform a skill in an isolated setting?
This can compared to a game centred teaching approach where students participate in small sided, modified and structured games (such as TGfU or Game Sense models). This allows for increased student involvement; whilst creating an environment that enables the student to develop a particular skill within the context of a game. This takes the students ability beyond performing a skill in isolation to having to deal with novel situations created by other players (creative intelligence), whilst having the ability to shape one's own environment or playing space (practical intelligence) by the decision made or executed skill.
In Outliers Malcolm Gladwell tries to take our understanding of success beyond a simplistic view of the stand alone genius or the innately talented musician or athlete; to a more holistic view of history, community and opportunity. To do this Gladwell uses many different stories of successful (and not so successful) people, analysing what factors enabled them to achieve such great heights, it’s a fascinating and thought provoking read; if somewhat simplistic in his recommendations at times.