Successful Intelligence and What it Means in the Backcountry

You’re way smarter than you think you are.

You don’t only possess one intelligence, but many. In fact, every human (including you) possesses multiple intelligences, and can activate and utilize them on demand. Neat, huh?   Robert J. Sternberg, a renown leader in intelligence research, assuages that there are three types of intelligence that, when used together, create a “successful intelligence,” (Repko 16). A creative intelligence calls on our ability to make connections and ideas. An analytical  intelligence isolates different sections of a problem, evaluating “the quality of ideas,” (16). And a practical  intelligence, applies an idea in “an effective way,” (16).

Individually, these intelligences are useful. Together, they are dynamite. I think this concept is especially important in the field I’m going into. I’m pursuing an interdisciplinary degree that combines Adventure Education and Environmental Science, and if I’m to spend my career outdoors, I need my brain to be active in a multitude of fashions. I need to think creatively, not only to engage students, but sometimes to get out of jams (like a giant, unpredictable thunderstorm). I need to think analytically, breaking down problems into smaller pieces, so that if a student comes across a challenge and fails, we can isolate different aspects of their struggles to work on. Lastly, I need to think practically. I need to teach lessons in the outdoors that are transferrable for students. They need to be able to take what they learned in the backcountry and apply it into their own life, whether it’s learning the value of nature and starting a compost bin at their home, or even developing better interpersonal skills to practice with their siblings.

These three types of intelligences will be incredibly useful for the career I’m pursuing. Combining the three will activate my brain and deliver meaningful messages to my students, leaving them with the ability to think in ways that are valuable and threefold.

Works Cited

Repko, Allen. 2014. Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies. Sage Publications, L.A. Print. 12651043_1227707683910593_72243215449360396_n

Here’s a photo I took on Mount Willey of the Webster Cliffs in Crawford Notch. Working in an outdoor setting as gnarly (and beautiful) as this one, I need to be able to think creatively, analytically, and practically in order to provide students with the best learning experience possible!


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