On the Roots of Passion, and how to identify True Intelligence.
In all my years of schooling in the US of A, I have seldom been introduced to teachers who truly tried to inspire - even in College. That is a problem. Passion is, I find, the key to unlocking a student's desire to learn. Without Passion with a capital P, students do self-destructive behaviors in classrooms. Such as: usage of cell phones, not paying attention, etc. Secondly, a paradox emerges.
Those who unlock Passion and pursue it and become proficient in a field are deemed "smart", especially if it is at a young age (the average intelligent 15 year old college students). Yet, students who may be as capable or beyond, but have not unlocked Passion, lie behind without interest to further their own ability and are deemed "dumb". If someone struggles in a field, again the stigma is placed upon them. Why do we do such a thing when we do not encourage Passion in the first place?
Firstly, what is Passion? According to the dictionary beside me, it is a strong desire. Usually in reference to more adult matters. For me Passion with a capital P, is the strong interest in something and the willingness to pursue this beyond the original plan set by teachers. This is actually not encouraged very much in United States classrooms.
Even though we reward Passion in the "real world", the educational system is caught in the web of the "Test" (which is ironically often easy, but stupid as well considering most students take it in Geometry but the test expects you to have finished Geometry and Pre-Calculus). They teach for the "Test". That is why the paradox has formed. That is why interest lops off. Who wants to sit for 8-9 hours a day doing rote memorization or better yet who wants to sit through crap that was dumbed down for the lowest denominator? I sure don't. I can assure you as well, that memorization doesn't do, pardon my language, jack shit.
In fact, in language memorization is actually counterproductive, it's better to actually be confident in speaking and make mistakes. One of my classes Advanced Placement European History is a perfect example of non memorization and also a nightmare, the toughest class I got.
One of my only C's in my high school career, which is a shame because not EVERYONE has the same standard as others as a result you don't know what that C is worth. So a C means dumb. But for me, that C meant the best year in my high school career. In that class, we learnt some much such as how to draw Europe, not by memorization but by clever tricks such as "Spain is a box, Italy is a boot kicking Malta…". We acted out skits in character for that Era, we had European conferences where we represented countries to learn each attitudes, we had study guides, we wrote essays upon essays every WEEK and in comparison my Language Arts or English only had us write one or two essays a year. That was fun, and that was inspiring.
In the end I got a 4 out of 5 in the final AP Exam. Which was better than the national average, and guess what? No memorization. It was an awful year in terms of hard work, but it was glorious in terms of actual knowledge.
Remember the wee C I got in that AP European History class, I must have been dumb right? Then how does it explain me getting a very good score from the College Board? This is another STUPID thing within the educational system. The grade system is TRASH now. You cannot get a good sense of the student because, some teachers give free A's while others from the SAME field actually teach and make you work for it.
As a result hard working students get shunted because they A) did not suck up to the teacher B) fell behind in one little area (especially math) and the teacher just shrugged and moved on (in fact I have been told some teachers MUST maintain a ratio of passing/failing students) C) the teacher was incompetent moron who jumps around the textbook and thinks he is teaching when he is just sprouting crap. This system as a result may falsely encourage students who really are missing foundation blocks or discourage students who think they are dumb but are not, just missing some foundation blocks.
Lastly, the last tidbit I wanted to add, intelligence tests I have found are stupid. There is this assumption you know this bit of math or your English is gosh darn perfect. I feel actual intelligence cannot be and I repeat cannot be measured in rote memorization or how well you can put a sentence together. That is measuring how well you paid attention. I feel intelligence lies in your reasoning, your problem solving skills (while connected to math skills it should not be in a test), spatial awareness, and just in general skills that you can test as if all were a blank slate.