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.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now