Intelligence Buckets: The Funnel Theory

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 10.39.06 PM

(The Funnel Theory)

As you may recall, it is finals week, and I knew I would spend this weekend attempting to studying, and I knew it would eventually lead to distractions. (Distractions which, of course, have to be wonderfully intriguing! Old me nailed it with my post about distractions and it is the exact same thing I’m thinking about right now; mind blown!)

I honestly don’t know how I ended up watching Psychology Crash Course videos, but I know it started with watching Star Wars episode IV somehow. I watched two of these crash course videos and then forced myself to stop even though they were really interesting! The second one I watched was “Controversy of Intelligence” and I was amazed with how I accidentally stubbled upon another thing that talks about the struggle with people trying to measure intelligence because it eventually leads to trying to measure creativity.

Hank Green basically goes through the history of this struggle, and it made me realize that this isn’t just a 21st Century problem. For centuries people have know that creativity is important and that different people are creative and intelligent in different ways, but humans still can’t define or compare it in a truly agreeable way. If humans have been curious about the influence of creativity and innovation when talking about intelligence for so long, why is it that our school systems are still having trouble with incorporating these skills into students’ learning?

I just don’t understand.

It makes me think even just about the way we group subjects up at school. At COI 2013, Margret and I came up with what we call “The Funnel Theory”. This theory is about how school tries to take the real world and split it up into 4 (on average) different categories, typically being: math, science, history, English. However, what we should be doing is taking these different subjects and bringing them all together into the real world. Why try to take a big topic like GMOs (this was what was happening at the time this theory was created) and try to separate it into these 4 subjects one at a time when you could take those 4 subjects and talk about them all together in regards to GMOs?

There aren’t subjects or bells in the real world that ring when it is time to move on to the next topic. Instead, you have some problem and some goal and you must use information from all of these skills in order to solve your problem and accomplish your goal.

In the Crash Course video, Hank talks about the different ways people try to group intelligence, like this 8 part grouping:Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 10.21.53 PM

Not a single one of the models that Hank gives (he is not creating the models, but he is sharing the models different people have had over the years), contains the exact grouping of our 4 school subjects: math, science, history, English. I wonder how school would change if we changed our groupings. What if there weren’t “subjects” at all? This would definitely create a perspective shift for teachers and students, and sometimes a change in perspective is all that is needed to create a bigger change.


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