Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jan on: Those Who Have Improved Intelligence

Can Intelligence Be Improved?

Many eminent psychologists and brain scientists have worked on improving intelligence - making people smarter, and success was obtained! Even teacher practitioners, like myself, have created effective applications, with much effort, of course. 

Most research conducted through university research institutions find that with constant rotating doctoral staffs, and difficulty in obtaining longitudinal measurement in schools that can not always furnish this important data tracking, discover creating intelligence enhancement programs is a difficult undertaking. This, coupled with the 1997 federal privacy act of students’ records, plus checking with each individual student for annual outcomes, makes continual monitoring difficult, if not impossible.

Additionally, learning institutions of higher education are focused on their own system capacity building by creating a long series of research with their applications. Therefore, faced with disconnects, they can lack the capability of developing innovations of raising cognitive intelligence, and taking a new system to the marketplace. 

Robert Sternberg, formerly of Yale University, now Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University, has long given technical discourse about raising intelligence in the classroom. Howard Gardner, Harvard University, offered a directed design of “Seven Intelligences” modules for classroom application. 

The University of Kansas, my alma mater, and number one school internationally for learning disabilities, offers a series of learning strategies for secondary school students. The success of these strategies requires the student’s selective application, which can not always be determined or measured. All of these intelligence building programs, which are comprised of study skills, are most beneficial, but unfortunately give just measured steps toward desired elevated and permanent intellectual change. 

However, in 1965, J. P. Guilford, professor of psychology at the University of South California (USC), and then president of The American Psychological Association, (APA) defined an intelligence cube, or model, of 128 components, which evolved into a program that did increase intelligence successfully. 

His doctoral student, Mary Meeker, applied it to a workable program in 1967 called “Bridges Learning.” It operated successfully in many school districts until recently, when Bob and Mary Meeker passed away. Their problem, however, was not only the cumbersome teacher training and lengthy teaching aspects, but the testing, evaluation, and tracking; as they used Meeker’s own designed set of assessments, which were not nationally standardized. But,there was success in this construct. Children's intellectual abilities improved. 

Based upon the Guilford Intelligence Model, but not interested in applying Meeker’s lengthy, labor-intensive applications, in 1981, I created a creative cognitive skills training program which included the fine arts of prosody, rhythm and music using filmed, media-driven historical vaudevillian puppets. It became Edutainment for the classroom, called "The Bridge To Achievement." 

Twelve national locations served as initial test sites, featuring a short 15-day, 1 ½ hrs per day, small group intervention, (based upon age and pre-tested cognitive ability levels). It consisted of 24 hours of intensive media based verbal repetition, called "The Bridge To Achievement." (The BTA) This time format was based on the earlier 1960s findings of biophysicist, Marian Diamond, University of California - Berkeley, who revealed that brain dendrites in rats could be developed in just 24 hours of treatment. 

The bottom line is longitudinal practice and research development success over time. Any program should be researh-based with years of field testing and publications. That is why it takes twenty-five or more years to realize whether any particular system really works and how effective it is in the long run. Long-term outcomes become overly evident. 

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