Group IQ > Individual IQ

As Google’s Jaime Casap has noted, school treats learning as an individual sport rather than as a team sport.

In “ADHD, Creativity, and the Concept of Group Intelligence,” Peter Gray puts a fine point on this:

“We think of intelligence as belonging to an individual person. We measure it in individuals and give it a number. Intelligence tests were first developed as a means of predicting school performance, and in schools, as we generally know them, problem-solving is almost always done by individuals, not by groups.”

This is why the student with ADHD symptoms “generally performs poorly in school, because school involves almost entirely in-the-box thinking.”

But when your team needs out-of-the-box problem solving, that student with ADHD symptoms may be exactly the person you want.

Our world is shifting from in-the-box challenges—“known problems with known solutions”—to out-of-the-box challenges—“unknown problems with unknown solutions.” To navigate that shift, students will need to become collaborative problem solvers.

And if group IQ > individual IQ, let’s embrace two principles:

  • The smartest person in the room is “the room.”

  • To unlock the power of “the room,” we must nurture a culture of pluralism that empowers each learner to contribute her strengths.

Learning is a team sport, and the best teams are pluralistic. When you look around your school, is that what you see?


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