Am I Smart or Just Well Trained?


A favorite research piece is a 2012, article written by Beth Hatt, Smartness as a Cultural Practice in Schools. In this research, Hatt, looks at the notion of intelligence as a cultural idea rather than a biological aptitude. Students enter school as products of their social environment and whether they fit in to the teacher’s definition of proper school behavior can determine how they begin to perceive their own intelligence and their future relationship to education. The results of her research were fascinating. 

Hatt observed a Kindergarten class of 25 students for about a school year. In the class, the teacher used a system of behavior modification similar to those that are used in classes all over the country. When interviewed, all 25 students in the class defined being “smart” as someone who can keep their cars on green all day without going to yellow or red. Therefore…

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