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The concept of intelligence and its role in lifelong learning and success
CONCEPT OF INTELLIGENCE
AND ITS ROLE IN
Primary School Teacher
Dimitrie Anghel School
• The definitions of intelligence are numerous depending on the
context of a given situation.
• Sternberg defined intelligence as “a person’s ability to adapt
to the environment and to learn from experiences”.
• In Sternberg’s research these elements were used in defining
• (a) higher-level abilities
• (b) ability to learn
• (c) adaptation to meet the demands of the environment
• In order to possess the abilities to solve problems, individuals
must have the cognitive abilities, the motivation, and the
abilities to apply these behaviors to adapt and make changes.
• According to Sternberg (1997), a person’s ability to infer a
process could differ between verbal and quantitative or other
representational domains (Sternberg & Gardner, 1983).
• How an individual utilizes intelligence to solve problems can
be explained by some of the major theories of intelligence.
• One of the most important theories of intelligence, Daniel
Goleman’s emotional intelligence, assists in understanding
how individuals control how they learn.
• This theory best explains how humans must be able to
understand the origins of these feelings before they act so
that the most intelligent decisions can be made.
• Sternberg also adds that, with age, individuals learn to make
the best of the abilities that remain intact while learning to
compensate for the abilities they are losing.
• As individuals think and behave differently, this difference allows for
enriched interactions between individuals.
• . It is argued, by McClellan and Conti (2008), that humans possess a
number of distinct intelligences that is beyond verbal and logical
abilities that appear in different skills :
• All of these construct the beauty of multiple intelligence (as cited by
• Moran et al. (2006) elucidate that all individuals possess each
of the skills to some extent but differ in the degree of skill and
in their combinations
• Moran et al. (2006) define multiple intelligence as “…the
ability to solve problems or devise products that are of
significance in a particular cultural setting…”
• Each learner’s intelligence profile consists of a combination of
relative strengths and weaknesses which allow for problem
solving skill to “approach a situation that requires a goal to be
met and locate the appropriate route to that goal” (Garner,
• As intelligence generally refers to more than just “adapting to
the environment”, successful intelligence distinguishes among
adapting, shaping, and selecting of an environment
• Over the course of one’s life-time, environmental conditions
• To survive these changes, one needs to continuously adapt,
which is a key skill of intelligence.
• Humans constantly use real personal interactions to
understand and apply intelligence in the world.
• Since individuals change their locations, it would be most
impractical to retain an individual in one place so that training
in communication skills can be employed at a particular
• The most appropriate solution, suggested by Persson,
Laaksolahti and Lonnqvist (2002), is to use computers so that
social intelligence can help improve communication skills.
• Practical intelligence involves individuals applying their
abilities to the kinds of problems that confront them in daily
life, such as on the job or in the home.
• Practical intelligence involves applying the components of
intelligence to experience so as to:
• a) adapt to,
• b) shape, and,
• c) select environments.
• People differ in their balance of adaptation, shaping, and
selection, and in the competence with which they balance
among the three possible courses of action.
• Much of our work on practical intelligence has centered on
the concept of tacit knowledge, defined as what one needs to
know in order to work effectively in an environment that one
is not explicitly taught and that often is not even verbalized.
• We typically have measured tacit knowledge using work-
related problems that present problems one might encounter
on the job.
• In a typical tacit-knowledge problem, people are asked to read
a story about a problem someone faces and to rate, for each
statement in a set of statements, how adequate a solution the
• We have found, first, that practical intelligence as embodied in
tacit knowledge increases with experience, but it is profiting
from experience, rather than experience per se, that results in
increases in scores.
• Also, scores on tacit-knowledge tests do not correlate with
scores on conventional tests of intelligence, whether the
measures used are single-score measures of multiple-ability
• Despite the lack of correlation of practical intelleligence with
conventional measures, the scores on tacit knowledge tests
predict performance on the job as well as or better than do
conventional psychometric intelligence tests.
• To adapt to or make positive changes in one’s life and
environment, intelligence is required to ensure that it is
understood what is to be changed and how to do so.
• As every individual differs in their intellect, the theory of
multiple intelligence explains that every human being is able
to interact and learn from each other.
• As we learn from our emotional intelligence and other’s
multiple intelligence, we gain more education and learn how
to use successful intelligence to adapt and make changes to
• Cherniss, C., Extein, M., Goleman, D., & Weissberg, R. P., (2006). Emotional intelligence: What
does the research really indicate? Educational Psychologist, 41(4), 239-245. Retrieved
• McClellan, J., & Conti, G. (2008). Identifying the multiple intelligences. Journal of Adult
Education, 37(1). 13-36. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/EJ891071.pdf
• Moran, S., Kornhaber, M., & Gardner, H. (2006, September). Orchestrating multiple intelligences.
Educational Leadership, 64(1). 23-27. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov
• O’Neil, J. (1996, Sept ember). On emotional intelligence: A conversation with Daniel Goleman.
Educational Leadership. 6-11.
• Persson, P., Laaksolahti, J., & Lonnqvist, P. (2002). Understanding social intelligence. Socially
intelligent agents: Creating relationships with computers and robots. 21-28. Retrieved
• Sternberg, R. J. (1997, October). The concept of intelligence and its role in lifelong learning and
success. American Psychologist, 52(10), 1030-1037.
• Sternberg, R. J. (2005). The theory of successful intelligence. International Journal of
Psychology. 39(2), 189-202. Retrieved from