The limits of a person’s intelligence may be circumscribed by a genetically-bounded envelope – but that leaves an awful lot that is open to influence. By choosing their activities, and engaging with their experience in certain ways, it is therefore entirely possible that people can grow their own intelligence (and, equally, their stupidity). But what, then, do we mean by ‘intelligence’? If, as has been claimed, intelligence is best understood as ‘the sum total of one’s habits of mind’, what are these habits, and how can they be grown? And vitally, how can parents and teachers capitalise on the emerging science of learnable intelligence, so that young people are launched on life with the desire and the capability to grow their own minds?
Guy Claxton is Professor of the Learning Sciences, and Co-Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning, at the University of Winchester. His books include the best-selling Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: Why Intelligence Increases When You Think Less, The Wayward Mind: An Intimate History of the Unconscious, New Kinds of Smart (with Bill Lucas), and What’s the Point of School? John Cleese said of Hare Brain, ‘just occasionally I get the feeling that someone has said something important’. Guy has derived from cognitive science a successful practical programme called Building Learning Power for cultivating intelligence in schools. Guy has an MA from Cambridge, a DPhil from Oxford, and has held posts at the Universities of Oxford and Bristol, the Institute of Education and King’s College London, and Schumacher College at Dartington in Devon.