A 'fixed-size pot' of intelligence is full of holes

15th October 2010 at 01:00

The ideas about intelligence presented by Bill Lucas and Guy Claxton ("Why myths of brightness need to be left in the shade", October 1) will no doubt inspire and encourage many teachers, especially those who have long resisted or felt uncomfortable with the "fixed-size pot" view of intelligence.

Readers keen to explore in more depth the implications for pedagogy may be interested to know about research carried out at Cambridge University's education faculty and published in Learning Without Limits (Open University Press, 2004). This empirical study examined the ideas and classroom practices of nine teachers who had rejected the "fixed-size pot" view and identified common ideas, purposes and principles underlying their diverse approaches to teaching.

The study provides detailed insight into what teachers who embrace a more open and expandable view of learning capacity actually do.

A further study looking at the application of these ideas to whole-school development is in progress (see http:learningwithoutlimits. educ.cam.ac.uk).

Alison Peacock, headteacher, Wroxham School, Hertfordshire; Mandy Swann, lecturer, education faculty, Cambridge University; Susan Hart, former lecturer, education faculty, Cambridge University.

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