Learning Intelligence (LQ) and the link to Initiative
- a) important
- b) dangerous
- c) a waste of time
- d) something to be discouraged
- e) the source of challenge and disobedience in schools
- f) something to be encouraged
- g) a useful tool in managing your own learning
A stark way to begin an article perhaps but in many ways it demonstrates the two sides of the coin that is initiative. As far as learning intelligence is concerned it an essential coin to have in your pocket but with it comes the drawback of its twin personality. Sometimes showing initiative will get you out of trouble and at others in it up as far as your waist if not further. Let me explain why and why it is an important aspect of learning intelligence, LQ.
The basis of LQ is the ability to manage the learning environment to meet your learning needs. Managing anything requires a degree of resourcefulness, not everything always goes to plan, and as we discussed earlier resilience is the face of knock backs is an important trait for survival. However merely repeating what you did before and hoping for a different outcome is hardly any form of intelligence. I believe Albert Einstein is attributed with defining insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We are left then with doing something different when we have experienced a “toxic” learning environment, i.e. one that does not meet our learning needs.
So we need resilience to have another go, we need to be aware of the emotions we have attributed to our learning experience and not let them hold us back and we need to find another way to learn. If you look back over earlier articles you may notice that a thread running through LQ includes the concept of showing initiative. To me initiative is a personal action; it is something unique to you. You have solved a problem that you face in a way that is novel, different or unexpected. If you think of the hero in a Hero’s Journey, the basis of nearly all adventure stories, then you will see why initiative is important. Here I have altered the Hero’s Journey into a format that reflects learning.
There is action not inaction in showing initiative, in the learning environment you are doing something and not being passive. Just pulling up a list of synonyms emphasises the “action” aspect of initiative, these include:
- Readiness and ability to initiate an action
- Eagerness to do something
Action also suggests ownership of the learning and this is something key to LQ. Looking to others to help you is a strategy that can work but only if the other person is aware of LQ and is able to adopt a flexible approach to helping you learn. Telling or showing you again and again in the same way will hardly improve the learning for you. It is much better if you can look at learning as a problem to solve (see earlier article on the link between LQ and the design process) and look for a solution to the learning problem. You may need to be a bit of a “Hero”, especially if the learning environment is fixed and those responsible for shaping it are a little reluctant to changing it.
What this means for the Teacher
Be accepting of challenges from learners, they may not be aimed at you personally but at the learning environment you have created.
Encourage initiative. Don’t always present the learning path as a fixed and well-trodden one. On occasion challenge the learner not only with learning but also with creating a learning environment that suits them and in finding the path to understanding.
Praise strategies and not people when it comes to recognising success.
Show initiate in your approach to learning. For example consider the “flipped classroom” or instead of asking students to demonstrate their understanding of a subject you challenge them to find an alternative learning strategy or resource. Demonstrating or discussing this to the class can help other learners.
What this means for the Learner
Be active in the learning process. This may involve re assessing your learning map (what you believe you can and can-not learn) based on prior experiences.
Take a fresh look at the learning environment and note what supports and what hinders your learning. In doing so reflect on what works and how you may duplicate this in other learning situations.
Learn to challenge any frustrations you feel into looking for solutions.
When something does not suit look for alternatives to overcome any limiting factors in the learning environment. For example look for on-line learning materials to support you or for other ways to support you in overcoming a limiting or challenging learning environment.
Develop your skills in approaching those that manage or provide your learning environment. Work at making sure your approach and behavior is not seen as a challenge.