Saturday, June 11, 2011

A New Form of Intelligence: Another Thing NCLB/Race To The Top Will Screw Up

David Livermore, president and partner at the Cultural Intelligence Center in East Lansing, Michigan, and . . . a visiting scholar at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, writes,
What’s the number one predictor of success in today’s global economy? It’s not your IQ, not your résumé—not even your expertise. It’s your CQ (cultural intelligence quotient), a powerful capability that is proven to enhance your effectiveness working in culturally diverse situations.

CQ is the ability to function effectively in a variety of cultural contexts—national, ethnic, organizational, and generational. It is a set of capabilities and skills proven to give employees and their organizations a competitive advantage in our ever-shrinking world.
He goes on to break down the elements of cultural intelligence.
Academic research across more than 30 countries reveals four capabilities that consistently emerge among individuals who are culturally intelligent:

1. CQ Drive: They possess a high level of interest, drive, and motivation to adapt cross-culturally.
2.  CQ Knowledge: They have a strong understanding about how cultures are similar and different.
3. CQ Strategy: They are aware and able to plan in light of their cultural understanding.
4.  CQ Action: They know when to adapt and when not to adapt when relating and working cross-culturally. [emphasis in original]
One could boil those elements down to two qualities.  The first two require curiosity while the latter require a willingness to adapt.  Filling in the bubbles on a standardized DSTEP test will do little to test either quality.  Teaching to that test will do little to develop either quality.

More importantly, education should help students develop eudaimonia, a sense of fulfillment.  Alyssa Rosenberg writes,
One of the places cultural capital seems valuable is when it’s surprising, when two people doing a deal discover that, contrary to their expectations of each other, both love the same author, or a client finds out that the person who is responsible for entertaining them can talk knowledgeably about their favorite sports team. It’s the spontaneity of that mutual recognition that’s useful, and that’s hard to engineer or to hire strategically for. (HT Andrew Sullivan)
Once again, preparing students to fill in bubble tests won't help people to love Shakespeare, Hawthorne, or Flannery O'Connor.  It won't help students learn to know how to talk about the Minnesota Twins or Green Bay Packers.  It won't help them develop a love for jazz, appreciate a good rock guitar riff or the poetry inherent in Johnny Cash's songs.

Employers want students who are curious and can think globally.  Students who are curious and think globally have a better chance of developing a sense of fulfillment.  Why can't Arne Duncan and the rest of people shoving testing down people's throats understand that?

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