Like many other problems facing us today, solutions will come only after a deep rethinking process. I believe this is true of education: How we retool education for the 21st century hinges on how we define the nature of intelligence itself. The standard ‘scientific’ approach of measuring intelligence through IQ tests feeds the notion that performance is a fixed commodity, and that learning can be defined and measured in terms of numbers. This drives the testing mania that most educators now see as counterproductive—and which results in a narrowed curriculum that shortchanges kids and stifles creativity.
The recent resurrection of the whole child approach to education is a first response to these concerns. Intuitively, we recognize that integrating both academic and human development into schools helps students act more ‘intelligently.’ We also can see that our children, who are growing up in the throes of searing change and fragmented values, need stronger emotional support systems than ever before if they are to have the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.