If you’re old enough, you may remember a time, maybe back in your childhood, when someone measured your intelligence and assigned a number to it. I suspect that you have been either proud of that “IQ,” or perhaps a little bit chagrined about it, from that day to this. The general belief back then was that intelligence was a genetic endowment, along with eye color or a propensity for baldness.
We now know this is simply not true. Your brain — every brain — is a work in progress. It is “plastic.” From the day we’re born to the day we die, it continuously revises and remodels, improving or slowly declining, as a function of how we use it. If a brain is exercised properly, anyone can grow intelligence, at any age, and potentially by a lot. Or you can just let your brain idle — and watch it slowly, inexorably, go to seed like a sedentary body.
When I first met Bill Calvin it was at a convention of Futurists, in a loud room filled with passionate people discussing important issues such as the societal impact of nanotechnology and alternative fuels. Dr. Calvin’s voice was barely a whisper. A soft-spoken man, his tone sharply contrasts with the impact of his thoughts. An […]
Duval County, Florida School Superintendent Dr. Joseph Wise has only been on the job for 10 months, but already he is making a big impact on the 165 schools, 130,000 students and 14,000 employees in his district. Taking the lessons he learned from his last position as Superintendent of the Christina School District in Wilmington, […]
As the Superintendent of Schools in Lawrence, Massachusetts for the past six years, Dr. Wilfredo T. Laboy has set an outstanding example of what one educator dedicated to change and success can do in a short period of time. Upon his arrival, he declared a Year of Literacy, focusing the entire school system on one […]
A cheerful English voice, crisp and elegant, asked her the question again. “How many coins do you have there, Signora?” Signora Gaddi stared at the coins in her hand for a long time, and then looked up to smile apologetically at the doctor. It was a soft smile, warm, but tenuous and sad. The corners […]
In the opening pages of his recent book, The Myth of the First Three Years—A New Understanding of Early Brain Development and Lifelong Learning, John Bruer recalls a 1996 phone call he received from a journalist at a national parenting magazine. “Based on neuroscience” she asked, “what can we tell parents about choosing a preschool […]
Memphis, Tennessee is the birthplace of more than a few legends of rock and blues; B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Memphis Slim, and the King himself, Elvis Presley, all recorded songs here that have gone on to become classics. Given this rich musical history, there are very likely a few budding musicians among […]