Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Outliers & Practical Intelligence

Haley Scholar Reading Groups

Extending his “Trouble with Geniuses” concerns, Malcolm Gladwell offers insight about those particular skills that give talented people the extra edge to become outliers. Gladwell explains that we too often assume that success is based purely on intellect or physical talents. Genetics tend to play vital roles, but they are hardly the sole determining factors.

To describe the differences between a highly intelligent yet underachieving person and a highly intelligent and successful one, Gladwell highlights psychologist Robert Sternberg’s concept “practical intelligence,” which includes “'knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect.’” Practical intelligence is “knowledge that helps you read situations correctly and get what you want. And, critically, it is a kind of intelligence separate from the sort of analytical ability measured by IQ.”

The practical intelligence that Gladwell presents can also be thought of as a kind of “social savvy,” an ability to skillfully negotiate multiple social and professional environments. People with high IQs who seemed to squander their talents were actually people who lacked “a community around them that prepared them properly for the world.”

How did you respond to Gladwell’s ideas about the roles of wealth and parenting in the lives of those who are more likely to become socially savvy and/or highly successful?

Or, to take a different concern, what could SIUE do to ensure that larger numbers of students develop higher degrees of practical intelligence during their time here?

24 comments:

Beau Butzirus said...

I believe that wealth and parenting does have an effect on how successful a child will be. If a child’s parents make sure they get their work done and follow up with their child’s teachers, they will be more successful. If a child also does not interact with people when they are young, they will not interact with people when they are older. The better a child does in school growing up, the higher the chance that they will be successful later in life. The more activities a child participates in, while growing up, the more they will interact and get to know people. Children will take what they learned growing up and use it themselves, after they are on their own and when they are teaching their own children. SIUE could make sure all students interact with their teachers, so they know if they are doing their homework right and know what the teachers expect out of students. SIUE already makes sure that students meet with their academic advisor which is good. That way students make sure they are taking the right classes and make sure they are on track to graduate.

Stephanie M said...

I agree with Gladwell. Although it is unfortunate for many talented children, raw talent can only go so far. In order to have true success you need the help from others, in this case parents or parent type figures. Sadly enough, the parents that can afford to devote this much time to their offspring tend to be wealthy. The practical intelligence instilled in these “outliers” is a more valuable asset that parents bestow upon their children than any sort of monetary wealth.

Cara C. said...

I completely agree with Gladwell's views on wealth and parenting in accordance to success. In order to be successful one would usually need a great deal of support. Much of this support coming from your parents and the environment in which you were. With wealth and good parenting one would have the access to necessary items and character traits in order to succeed.


Cara C.

Anonymous said...

Parenting is definitely a vey important influence on the behavior of a child as he grows up. A sheltering parent could cause he child to be either very rebellious as he grows up or socially awkward when he is forced to experience the real world on his own. Therefore, parents should guide their children as they grow up and teach them what to do to when they fall. However, they should not try to shield their children from everything, because, sometimes, the best way to learn something is to learn it the hard way. Also, this can be used in terms Of education. Automatically correcting a student when he makes a mistake can turn out to hurt him because it could cause him to be dependent on someone to fix his mistakes. Through personal experience, it is best to have someone there as a guide when you hit a very rouh spot, but you need to be able to figure out most problems on your own. This is what I feel the professors and tutors here at SIUE do for students. They allow students to basically learn how to learn. Students have to try to figure out a problem on their own rather than just given an answer.
Also, it terms of sociality, it is very easy for students to join clubs and activites at SIUE and meet new people. I think this is very important for people to be successful because knowing basic social skills can get a person very far in life. Just being outgoing can open so many doors.

Megan L. said...

It made a lot of sense that those who were taught social skills had a better chance of being successful because no matter how intelligent or driven you are, you can't accomplish a lot on your own. In order to be successful you have to be able to communicate with others so you can get ahead. So not only do you need to learn to be self sufficient but you also need to learn to be able to ask people for help. SIUE offers a lot of clubs and other activities that boost student interaction. Also by offering ways to get information on classes, jobs and anything a student might need through advisors helps students take control of their lives. It's a good way for students to learn to not be afraid to ask for help.

Megan L.

Christina R. said...

The idea of practical intelligence, I believe, is a valid one. How else is anyone supposed to get through life if they don't have the basic skills of communication? This is where the parents can come in. It's important that parents teach their kids how to manage themselves in society, by showing them how to conduct themselves appropriately to a given situation.

Dylan P. said...

I agree with Gladwell's views on success and parenting. I do feel, however, that individual success may be important, but I think that individual ambitions should come second to group ambitions. Success in life is anyone's dream, but the needs of the collective is also important. By ensuring personal success, individuals can also contribute to the needs of the society by sustaining it's functions. Therefore, when parents, peers, and schools all help the individual achieve their dream, not only are they helping the individual, but they are supporting one another as a collective.

Ashley said...

I definitely agree with Gladwell. Parenting has a huge effect on how a child will grow up as well as wealth. If the parents bring their children up to always take from others or how to get money from the government, for instance, then that is the mentality they will grow up with. However, If the child is brought up to work for their money, they will most likely have that same idea instilled in their mind.

Charlene Y. said...

I agree with Gladwell's ideas on roles of wealth and parenting. They are definitely important to make a child successful or socially savvy. To be successful or savvy you need guidance and help. Children are sponges they absorb whatever they learn, so if they learned through their parents or role models what it takes to become successful then they will be. That role is really important to develop their thoughts and ideas. Also, if they are able to realize the importance of success at a young age, then they are able to become successful themselves later in life and that is because of the parent's role in helping them. Some parents are not there for their child, and they sometimes do not stray onto the path of success and therefore the role of the parents in their child's life is important in developing their success.

Charris Wells said...

I believe that parenting, not so much wealth, has an effect on how successful a child will be. A person can be as smart as they want to be, but without proper parenting and "Street smarts", or social savvy, a person can not be successful. One has to know how to network and talk to others because one cannot become successful without assistance. SIUE offers a lot of clubs and organizations to help students become more sociable. What I think SIUE could do beter at is advertising the different organizations.

Brenda W. said...

In my opinion, Gladwell's concept was only half way true. I feel parenting and origins do play a huge role in success but I also feel those with less demanding origins can be just as successful with the right amount of drive and dedication. I feel SIUE can help students attain that "practical intelligence" by teaching us different ways of viewing and thinking about things. It is impossible for them to change our origins but they can change how we handle and tackle situations which is what Gladwell attributed to being practical intelligence.

Zoe Ramirez said...

I think wealth and how your parents raise you have a huge effect on children. If you're neglected and your parents have absolutely no money the odds of you going far are very slim. It's a horrible thing to say but it's the truth. You could be a genius living in the worst ghettos but if your parents aren't supporting you how are you supposed to get the money and attention that you need to get far. But SIUE helps a lot with financial aid and stuff like that and that's really good for people who are less fortunate. They help out a lot and have advisors for everyone. SIUE helps make sure that their students graduate.

Martin Garcia said...

I find that it is everything that goes into the overall childhood of each child that determines what aspirations and what talents a child may develop. It is not the only factor since both genetics and pure innate talent also contribute. I find that the parental success level determines almost a "minimum" success value as each child strives to do better than the parent in an effort to gain acceptance and pride. So a parent with a higher level of success will provide a higher level of aspiration to a child. The child will attempt to supersede the accomplishments of the parent. The same happens with low success level parents, as the child is raised in a household full of fear(in the sense of economic hardship, educational hardship, or safety hardship from outside sources such as bad neighborhoods) strive to come out of hardship. In my personal experience, my parents have struggled to give us a home which is safe and loving. I personally made it my goal to overcome the hardships they overcame and create a future for myself and my family in which I can be sure that both myself and my parents can be well off economically and remove the worry that has affected my families lives for so long. My father has a saying which described how his experiences with economic hardship as a mexican immigrant: "You work like a slave to live like a free man". Though a few of my friends have claimed this to be slightly racist...all it encompasses is the idea that in hardship and with a family, one will work until exhaustion and further to provide the life that one could not have as a child. In the end, the people with innate talent are not always the ones that come up top. The way a child is raised and the situations each child experiences lead to inspiration and a learning and gain based on effort alone that is truly admirable. Wealth and resources only go as far as the will of the child to gain the knowledge necessary to become successful.

Vanessa C. said...

Social skills are a must to succeed. As talented and hard-working as someone might be they would still need the help from others. They could only go so far on their own. Parenting has an important effect on the social skills their child will have. If parents are focused on success and wealth, they will instill these same attributes to their child. Wealth and parenting do, in some great way, have a role in the success and social savvy of their child.

Vanessa C.

Grace Figgers said...

How did you respond to Gladwell’s ideas about the roles of wealth and parenting in the lives of those who are more likely to become socially savvy and/or highly successful?

Or, to take a different concern, what could SIUE do to ensure that larger numbers of students develop higher degrees of practical intelligence during their time here?

I feel that Gladwell's ideas are incredibly accurate. However, I know for a fact that "practical intelligence" isn't just taught at home. I grew up in a low income family. I learned to assert myself at school, not at home.

SIUE can definitely help students develop practical intelligence. through ease of access to authority figures or perhaps putting more emphasis on "human interaction" in classes.

Evan Lawler said...

Yes I think that parenting and wealth have an effect on the success of a child. However, I think that it in general is the child's own self. Their personality and self goals are what creates success not what or how their parents taught them or what they learned in school, even though those do play into success. Every person is born with his or her own personality and that is what is the root of success. If a persons personality is to succeed and strive for goals then that person is going to be more successful regardless of their parenting and educational environment.

ChelseaD said...

I believe that a big part of how a child interacts with their parents and how much wealth they have does contribute to how they will grow as a person and determine their success later in life. Practical intelligence does play a huge role in one's life. Occasionally, there's those "rags to riches" stories, but many of those that have success were given a lot from the get go. And with parents that give a lot of support, one can go even farther in life.

Robin Huang said...

Certainly wealth have an effect on the development of intelligence because with money, a parent can supply their child with all the sources to learn. For example, a wealthy child would most likely grow up with learner enhancing toys, books as well as tutors for any subject he or she may need. On the other hand, a less wealthy child would only have a few books and toys for learning and rarely would they be provided a tutor simply because of the scarcity of money.
In addition, the parenting style also effects the outcome of the child when he or she is released into the real world. Parents, whether they are rich or poor, provide the motivation for the child to learn and to keep learning. They can either be a role model and encourage their children to stay in school and be good people for society, or they can be nothing in their child’s education simply by not caring or not effectively encouraging them to do well. Both would lead to two very different outcomes, however, wealth and parenting is not the determining factor for intelligence, they are merely elements that help to mold or enhance it.
I think that we are all born with the capability and talent to become successful in life. But it is the way that we grow up and view certain things in life that effect where we end up. A person might be very talented with technology, but never have to opportunity to experiment and develop this talent because of financial issues. This would lead them to go down a different path and never have the opportunity to become as intelligent as they could have been. Then there are the wealthier children who have so many more doors open to them because they had the materials needed to develop their talents. Then they are able to narrow down their passions, develop their talents and become an active contributor to society. However, I think that if a person is really passionate about something, they would be able to find a way to pursue their dreams. Regardless of family motivation, financial struggles and pure intelligence, a person who is deeply passionate about a certain talent will find a way to express it and develop it to its fullest. This is why people should not think that a someone is good at something because they are smart, they are good at it because they are passionate about it and want to pursue their talents for it.
Here at SIUE, there are many opportunities for students to develop their talents and the best part is that money is not something to hold people back. SIUE helps a lot of students financially and allows them to be able to explore all fields, find their talents and passions and develop them into something great. Also, the professors help to encourage students to continue to do well and follow their passions. Whether or not the students grew up with that motivation, they are getting it here at SIUE through the professors staff members.
-Robin Huang

Minh Nguyen said...

I think SIUE could could make students develop higher degrees of practical intelligence during their time here by making them aware of other cultures and to avoid ethnocentrism. Here at SIUE, their are many different cultures and if the students are more aware of why people act a certain way or why students do a certain thing is, then they will more accepting. That way it will help them know what to say and how to say it appropriately.

Ridge Lin said...

I think that the parenting is important in the development of a child psyche so it is best understood that ones parents providing the best advantages would become more successful. It made me think back on my life and how my parents gave me options and room to grow.

Travontae Williams said...

I believe that, in order to ensure that larger numbers of students develop pratical degrees of intelligence during there time at school, that academic programs need to be molded towards each students' abilities. Some students learn at an excelerated pace while other students need more time ot obtain the same amount of knowledge. In order for each student to develop a practical degree of intelligence, they must be able to learn at their own speed. There is no way a student can develop that intelligence if they are being challenged beyond their own capacity. Likewise, there is no reason students should be held back if therer learning ability exceeds others. This is a probable solution to ensure practical intelligence for all SIUe students.

Tiara Y. said...

Good parenting is a key role to the successful development of children. If parents are active in their children's lives and especially involved in their school work,majority of the time they will not slack off and are likely to do much better in comparison to if the parent was not involved. Wealth is also a contributing factor to the success of a child. In seeing their parent work hard for the money they have instills a "drive" so to speak in the child, they begin to learn the importance of hard work and how it pays off. The fact that SiuE has available advisement appointments is good and also a huge contribution to the success rate of the school.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, wealth and parenting has a significant effect on how successful someone will grow to be. If a parent pay's adequate attention to their child's school life, social life, and grades, the child is highly likely to prosper in those areas. Parent's that encourage their child to socialize from a young age, will have a very successful child. They will most likely be good at talking in large groups of people and entertain people on a social level. Wealth can also give a child that boost they need so they may have the materials to be successful.

Nikunj Patel said...

I believe that Gladwell's ideas are very true. In today's society many people know that in order to get in with a group or a business, you have to talk them up. About his ideas on wealth and parenting, I believe that to be true as well. Many children get so far depending on their parents wealth and status no matter how unfair it may be.

At SIUE, workshops or something of that nature may be put into place designed to teach students the different aspects of practical intelligence.