Intelligence Isn’t Just What You Learn In A Classroom

Sitting in a maths class learning about how many angles a triangle has, and the unanswered question of what equals ‘X’. Trying to figure out sums like this used to make my brain think I was in an English class rather than a Maths class. As the numbers started to turn into letters, I would begin to get my answers wrong. which left me feeling annoyed and angry, because I just didn’t get it!

This sort of teaching is only useful for a few people, like those who want to go into industries such as engineering, but for those who don’t want to go into this line of work, it seems pointless. So why are these types of subjects and modules forced on to every single one of us? Because elders want everyone to be similar and be seen as their idea of ‘educated’.

Just because you know how to find ‘X’, that isn’t the thing that necessarily makes you intelligent.


Research was done by many psychologists like Smith et al, Thurstone, Sternberg, Gardner, Cooper and so many more. All of them had the same aim of trying to prove what intelligence is and what types of intelligence there are. But with each theory, there were pro’s and con’s. No model was accurate because in fact, all models would mould into one. Gardner was trying to prove that there were multiple intelligences – Kinect, Logical, Musical, Spatial. This is something you might remember doing in school, by completing this task, where you would be labelled as one of the different types of intelligences – which you should then use in your work, like if you are a kinetic learner, you should revise by walking around your bedroom… There are many flaws with this and that is why many psychologists didn’t like this theory because it was seen as too broad. There were also some more scientific theories where intelligence is underpinned by your genes, and some theorists would argue it was due to your environment and life experiences. Just by looking at that, you can straight away see that you can’t just say intelligence is based purely on genes or purely on environment, because it is all about nature and nurture.

Everyone is intelligent in something.


This is why it isn’t fair that everyone is put through the same exams, where some people are shown as smarter than others just because they can better remember information, which for other people who can’t retain information in the same way, it can make them feel bad about themselves.

But like Albert Einstein said: “Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”


In the UK, you might be seen as highly intelligent if you are a doctor, and know how to perform surgery, but in other cultures you are seen as intelligent if you can do practical things and have good interpersonal skills. So don’t let western societies’ definition of intelligence define you.

At the start of my apprenticeship I didn’t want to enter education again, having been through all sorts of education such as SAT’s, GCSE’s and A-Levels, I thought, “Why do I need a degree to prove I am a good film maker and should be able to work in the Film/TV Industry?” but I have decided to give it a try because of many reasons and I am happy that I have taken a risk and I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone by giving University a try, instead of deciding it isn’t for me without attending.

Learning in a classroom can get you far, but what you can do yourself can get you much, much further. So, don’t believe what everyone else thinks is the society’s definition of intelligent to get far. Make your own definition and become your own type of intelligent. 


Written by Lauren Jones.

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