Evaluating the intelligence rates in young children is crucial to the understanding of their needs, the assessment of the problems that children at the specified age may have, and locating any possible issues in their development (Jasinski, 2012). Therefore, applying an appropriate tool for measuring children’s intelligence is crucial to the outcomes of the evaluation and the choice of the further strategies to be adopted in the course of helping them learn, acquire the necessary skills, and communicate successfully, thus, integrating into the society efficiently. For these purposes, the adoption of Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence has to be considered as the first-choice option. Although Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence is a comparatively new method of intelligence evaluation and may have certain flaws, it still should be deemed as valid due to its ability to incorporate a variety of aspects, which the child’s mental capacities are evaluated from.
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The tool is traditionally defined as the one that presupposes “the central role of metacognition” (Mandelman, Tan, Kornilov, Sternberg, & Grigorenko, 2010, p. 77) towards intelligence assessment and allows for an evaluation of the aspects of a child’s intellectual skills by identifying the learner’s metacognitive abilities. The theory in question is related closely to the Information Processing Theory, which helps students “acquire increasingly complex knowledge and skills” (Santrock, 2015, p. 23); however, unlike the latter, the theoretical framework in question sets premises for a broader evaluation that goes beyond the analysis of young learners’ basic skills and helps view the learning process with social factors in mind.
Because of the difference in the personal characteristics of learners, different types of intelligence can be identified when analyzing the unique abilities of learners. Particularly, types such as analytical intelligence, creative intelligence, and practical intelligence (Santrock, 2015) deserve to be mentioned. As far as my personality is concerned, I believe that practical intelligence is the dominant one since I am good at applying theory to actual tasks and solving problems based on the theory that I learned previously. It would be wrong to assume that I am deprived of the rest of the types of intelligence completely. For instance, I am capable of approaching a specific task from a creative perspective, thus, locating a nontrivial solution to a standard problem. Likewise, there are certain bits of analytical intelligence in me, as I am able to draw comparisons and provide a detailed analysis of specific objects, phenomena, people, etc.
However, based on the quality of the results that I provide when carrying out the tasks related to the use of each of the intelligence types listed above, I tend to perform the functions associated with the use of practical intelligence with the highest rate of success. Hence, it is legitimate to assume that I should focus on developing analytical knowledge like the one that is related directly to the practical one (Santrock, 2015), at the same time working on the skill to approach complex problems from non-typical perspectives, therefore, prompting the evolution of creative intelligence. The process of acquiring the above-mentioned skills by working on the ones that I already possess aligns with the fundamental tenets of Steinberg’s theory, which suggests that multiple intelligence development is a possibility. However, to attain the specified goal, I will have to engage in a metacognition process that will create premises for understanding how the process of information acquisition, processing, and its further application to a practical task occurs in my mind.
Claiming that Sternberg’s Triarchic Theory of Intelligence is the only proper way of assessing young learners’ intelligence rate, however, would be quite a stretch; not only is the specified approach comparatively new but also rather vast. Therefore, should the need to locate the learner’s intelligence from a specific perspective occur, the specified path may turn out time-consuming, while the information retrieved in the process may turn out to be very ample for a detailed analysis. Therefore, other theories of intelligence also deserve to be considered.
In case a more detailed analysis is required, Gardener’s theory of multiple intelligence should be viewed as an option. Providing a very elaborate analysis of intelligence types and incorporating eight, it, nevertheless, is also rather bulky and takes too much time to apply to a particular case. Indeed, a combination of the verbal, mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist approaches does add a certain inconsistency to the evaluation: “A number of psychologists think that the multiple-intelligence views have taken the concepts of specific intelligence too far” (Santrock, 2015, p. 289). Therefore, the specified theory can be related to the one discussed above.
Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development, in its turn, also offers a rather peculiar way of looking at intelligence development in young learners. Linked to Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development directly, the specified approach presupposes that learners should create a moral basis for their further progress in order to be able to make decisions based on a specific set of values. Although having a solid foundation based on Piaget’s Cognitive Development approach, the specified theory can be deemed as rather one-sided, as it links intelligence to morality. Moreover, the black-and-white framework, which the specified theory provides, may impede the child’s understanding of the complexity of moral dilemmas, therefore, affecting the cognitive abilities of a young learner.
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The significance of addressing the child’s intelligence is quite obvious; as long as a teacher understands what abilities a learner has, the former is able to develop the teaching strategy that will promote the further acquisition of skills at the fastest and the most successful path possible. Moreover, the significance of metacognition, which the focus on intelligence invites, is not to be underrated. According to the existing studies (Santrock, 2015), metacognition helps a learner both acquire new information in a much more efficient and expeditious manner than they would otherwise and develop the skills that will inform the further path of self-directed learning (Davidsen & Georgsen, 2010). The latter is especially significant, as it will define not only the academic success of learners but also their further personal progress.
Therefore, intelligence is a crucial characteristic of learners that an educator must take into account when defining the further course of students’ training and the development of their skills. Moreover, the analysis of the children’s intelligence type may inform the teaching strategy that will allow all learners involved to develop academically and personally at a comparatively similar pace. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that the individual needs of children, as well as their capacities as learners, should be understood and taken into account when designing the strategy that is supposed to help them in cognizing the world, acquiring knowledge, training new skills and communicating successfully.
Davidsen, G., & Georgsen, M. (2010). ICT as a tool for collaboration in the classroom – challenges and lessons learned. Designs for Learning, 3(1/2), 54–69.
Jasinski, M. A. (2012). Helping children to learn at home: A family project to support young English-language learners. TESL Canada Journal, 29(6), 224–230.
Mandelman, S. D., Tan, M., Kornilov, S. A., Sternberg, R. J., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2010). The metacognitive component of academic self-concept: The development of a triarchic self-scale. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 9(1), 73–86.
Santrock, J. W. (2015). Life-span development. 15th ed. New York City, New York: McGraw-Hill, inc.