neurons“He is so smart!” I bet you’ve said that before. You’ve certainly heard that kind of comment before. But what does it actually mean? What do you mean when you say that?

People tend to make that comment when someone demonstrates an exceptional understanding of and knowledge about a topic. For example, if you were to hear someone discuss Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, chances are you might say, “Boy, she is really smart!”

Now granted, the Theory of Relativity is not an easy one to understand. But that’s what being smart is. It is, in large part, the ability to learn and understand information. The more complex the information is, the more likely it is that we will say the person is smart when they demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of it.

There is a difference between having knowledge and being smart, although the two traits are closely related. If Johnny takes a class on the Theory of Relativity, he may have gained some knowledge about it, but holding that knowledge would not be what would make him smart. If he had been able to learn the information quickly and easily, then we could say Johnny is smart. We could be even more certain that he is smart if we saw that he could also make comparisons with the Theory of Relativity and other theories or could apply that theory to new situations he hadn’t learned about yet.

Another person, Billy, could learn about the Theory of Relativity, but would have to work hard to learn it and would not be able to do much more than summarize it or repeat exactly what he had learned. If we don’t know about the theory and listened to Billy talk about it, we might think that Billy is as smart as Johnny. However, while Johnny is smart, Billy is knowledgeable.

Why does this distinction matter? It matters because people think that we can somehow teach children to be gifted. If we teach them enough information and teach it to them when they’re young enough, then they will somehow become smart, gifted. But while we can help children become more knowledgeable on a variety of topics, we cannot help them become gifted. Giftedness is innate. Knowledge is not.

http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/intelligence.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/intelligence-150x150.jpgCarol BainbridgeAbout GiftednessDefinitions,Identification
'He is so smart!' I bet you've said that before. You've certainly heard that kind of comment before. But what does it actually mean? What do you mean when you say that? People tend to make that comment when someone demonstrates an exceptional understanding of and knowledge about a topic....