Guy Claxton

 

Last week Guy Claxton visited our school to give a lecture on the ‘Stupidity of Cleverness’. He began by explaining cognitive science as the study of the mind and how it works. He also spoke about how the idea of intelligence has transformed. The old view of intelligence was of people who thought quickly, who detracted emotion from their logical reasoning and were verbal. But do these qualities reflect real life now? He argued that the idea of intelligence has transformed using the example of Phineas Gage (metal pole through his head) and also suggested that the education system would need to slowly but surely adapt to this change. He made the point that why do we have these tests where we revise and cram, when in real life we do not take ‘tests’ before dealing with a situation. He also suggested that education needs to include more on the joy of the struggle rather than celebrating the endpoint.

He also spoke about how the intelligence quotient or IQ is no longer a sensible way in which to measure cleverness. IQ describes people as being intelligent in one sort of manner. However he said we should begin to turn to other tests such as the test for Emotional Intelligence which is outlined in Daniel Goleman’s book.

I particularly liked it when we talked about intuition. He showed 2 sets of pictures that were in pieces and one picture from each set was supposed to be an actual image while the other was random shapes. I guessed right both times and thought it was down to luck but Claxton insisted that our intuitiveness guided our guesses and that there were reasons in my subconscious as to why I picked those pictures.

Overall a great talk!

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2 thoughts on “Guy Claxton”

  1. I’m glad that you liked Professor’s Claxton talk, Mary. As an experienced TOK student and a reflective IB learner, you will be used to the idea that you should be ready to question everything- even an idea like cleverness itself. Even so, as he said, it does ‘rock your world’ when you realize how culturally determined the values we just accept actually are. I am perhaps a bit more sceptical about whether schools can really change in the kind of time-frame he was talking about (twenty-five years). I am committed to the idea that they need to, however.

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