IQ, Schmy-Q

When I was in junior high they tested my IQ, and they later told me that my IQ was over 180.   That was the year that I failed my English classes, mostly because I had decided that I was smarter than everyone.   Thankfully, I got over it.  But it was a hard lesson to learn, and it took a lot of hard work.

A few years ago, I decided to join Mensa.   Mostly for bragging rights on my résumé.   After participating in a few of their online discussions, I discovered that some of them hadn’t gotten over it.   The same idiocy that you see elsewhere, with better grammar.   I’m still a member,  because I do find that some of the things they have to say are interesting… and for bragging rights.   (Hey, if you could literally say that you were a card-carrying genius, wouldn’t you?   Sometimes I’m entitled to be shallow.)

One thing that annoys me periodically as a teacher is when people start talking about IQ.   Let me make it perfectly clear, being intelligent is not the same thing as being smart.    I have known some highly intelligent people who I wouldn’t trust to take care of a hamster…  and I don’t particularly care for hamsters  (stupid, bitey rodents!).    But being smart has very little to do with IQ.   It has more to do with experience, hard work, being stubborn enough not to quit, and getting help when you run into your limitations.

I would rather have students who think of themselves as hardworking or sarcastic… if they run into difficulties it is easier to work through and persevere.   It is okay to identify with being intelligent, but it can sometimes be brittle sense of identity- a student who runs into difficulty won’t necessarily have the tools to adapt  (I certainly didn’t when I was 12!).

I’m much more proud of the fact that I’m evil, than the fact that I’m a genius.


2 thoughts on “IQ, Schmy-Q

  1. Michaela says:

    I couldn’t find the original study pointing to “smart” being detrimental to “effort” but here’s the Sci-American article on it:

    Science, once again proving things others intuit.

    • Colin says:

      One of the studies that I like is Dr. Duckworth’s study on “grit” (or persistence) as a good measure for success.


      Nothing teaches like a good mistake!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.