There are a lot of scientific studies out that show that we are losing I.Q. points every year. This is disturbing news, but there are many indications that maybe we’re losing these points due to the type of I.Q. test that is administered. Now, my thoughts about this have to do with shortened attention spans, and a lessened importance on education that has become all-pervasive in the U.S. And, I think that this actually holds water. There are places in the U.S. where teachers earn so little that they are on food stamps and housing assistance. At the same time, they are required to have an extensive education – as they should be. As we know, there have been teacher’s strikes all over the place regarding both salaries and the very state of the schools that they teach in. Why do schools have exposed wiring and leaky roofs? And, why do teachers have to supply their classrooms with paper, pencils, crayons, and the like? Where does the money go?
Starting in the 1980’s there has been a vilification of educated people. They have notoriously been portrayed as “elites”, and supposedly “out of touch”, interestingly this has usually been done by people who are either millionaires or billionaires (which right there is irony). Now, I’ve personally seen the work that teachers do. My mother was a teacher, and the hours are not confined to the hours that a school is open. There is preparation work that takes place during the summers, and then there are the hours and hours of grading papers which is done outside of “paid” hours. As someone who home-schooled my two children from grades 3 to 7, I have to say that I’ve got quite an appreciation for the work that teachers do. And, I only taught 2 children, imagine having to teach 30+ every day!
My other thought is that people have a shortened attention span. A lot of our activities require fast-paced thoughts and actions. This can have a detrimental effect on how the growing brain works. I read Endangered Minds by Jane M. Healy while I was pregnant with my first child. This book had a huge influence on how I raised my children. I was raised with none to little television. Yes, this is true. I’ve never seen many of the “iconic” shows from the 1960’s and 1970’s. Do I feel deprived? No, absolutely not! I have seen some of these shows later on, and didn’t really feel like I missed anything. So, believe it or not, my children were also raised without television. What did we do after dinner? I read books to them. Some of these books include, but are not limited to: the Narnia series; Little House in the Big Woods series; and of course, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. There were a lot of other books I read besides. They also played a lot, and this is extremely important to growing brains, also.
Critical thinking is so important. You can regurgitate facts until the cows come home, but that doesn’t mean that you understand any of them. Critical thinking is one of the most important things that people can be taught. I had my children pick a topic and write me a report on it. They also had to check where the information they were using came from, who funded the research and whether or not it was a peer-reviewed scientific study.
Do you think that people are losing their intelligence, or that maybe the way we raise, teach and test should be looked into? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.