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Let’s Rethink Our Thinking About Thinking!

During my work in corporations and in the classroom. I have come to equate IQ or Intellectual Quotient as a relic of some past era.  IQ testing was traditionally used to separate people into groups for the benefit of the tester.  As an example the US Military in the early 1900’s used mass IQ testing to filter people into Officer and non-Officer ranks

Today’s students are tomorrow’s citizens.  We need to help them develop the thinking skills that will help them navigate the seas of tomorrow’s storms.

I have come to rename IQ as the Quality of Thinking – How we use our minds and how we think. This includes problem solving. decision-making and meta-cognition.

These are:

  1. Problem Solving:
    1. Accessing the problem
    2. Analyzing the components of the problem
    3. Clarifying the goal
    4. Establishing strategies to achieve the goal
    5. Developing procedures to measure success
    6. Measuring success
  2. Decision Making:
    1. Gathering information
    2. Making distinctions
    3. Sorting and synthesizing
    4. Integrating information
  3. Meta-cognition:
    1. Self-reflection
    2. Thinking about thinking
    3. Developing an awareness of feelings and intuition
    4. Monitoring and managing my thoughts and feelings

The shift from Quotient to Quality is all about the movement from linear comparisons of people to one in which we acknowledge the multidimensional nature of human beings.  In fact the ability to use data and apply that to problems is the true nature of thinking.  Where thinking is the interaction between Problem Solving, Decision Making and the Meta Cognition skills we have.  Trying to define this interaction on a linear scale seems too simplistic.

This is the reason that I expound the need to focus on the quality of a person’s interactions and not simply the quotient.  Because as teachers we have the ability to improve the thinking of our students.  We can explicitly teach students problem solving, decision making and the meta cognitive skills, I don’t think this should be measured on a linear scale.

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