Why do children’s IQs change?
by Paul Romani
The “mental ability of teenagers can improve or decline on a far greater scale than previously thought.”
This is the finding of an academic research article published in the j0urnal ‘Nature‘.
The BBC have summarised the technical findings in more layman’s terms.
While the research paper does not seek to find the cause of IQ changes in teenagers, the BBC does.
“I think the change came in school I started doing subjects that really interested me, that I was engaged in, then I found it easier and far more interesting,” states Sebastian Friston (23), who participated in the research.
The German education system is one of the most highly reputed in the world. Nevertheless, it is a rigid, overly-efficient system that lets young people down by not appreciating these kids’ biological and social changes.
At the age of 10, children are divided into 3 categories: Hauptschule (bottom), Realschule (middle), Gymnasium (top).
These different levels will essentially dictate these young people’s lives. Only Gymnasium students are allowed to go to university. Hauptschule students will end up in trade schools.
While the system allows for changes to students’ categories, it boils down to the opinions of the teachers and the parents.
All human beings are labelled. These are labels that can follow you around for life, even if your situation has changed. If you’ve been convicted of a crime, it’s very hard to change people’s views of you.
The same with a child that starts school badly. They are labelled as stupid, whether consciously or unconsciously, by the school and by parents.
However, kids change. They grow older. They find a ‘calling’ in life. They realise what the purpose of education is.
In Germany, these changes will occur too late for the system.
The Problem of Labelling Children At a Young Age
How do I know this? From 2005-06, I worked in Hanover, Germany with high school and post-high school youth.
I saw with my own eyes how these young people – mostly boys – had realised what they wanted to do with their lives, but couldn’t because the system wouldn’t let them.
They couldn’t move up to the next academic level, because teachers had already made their minds up about these students.
One Hauptschule teacher even said to me, “I don’t why you both with him. He’s a waste of time.”
It’s demoralising for kids when their teachers have this attitude.
Knowing the Importance of Education
What child knows the importance of education at aged 10?!
My experience with these young people taught me that motivation has as much to do with academic success as any biological factors.
This is one reason why connecting education to real-life – through work-related projects and hands-on learning – is so prized at Pear Tree Education’s learning centre.
We refuse to leave any child behind just because they haven’t yet realised the importance of education for their future life.
My findings match with those of an American study reported in April 2011.
In the study, it states that “intelligence tests are as much a measure of motivation as they are of mental ability.”
Of particular relevance is the fact that the test was conducted on boys.
While the research focuses on the need for competitiveness among boys, I still believe that – for both sexes – motivation has more to do with studying for a purpose.
It is commonsense that all children, if they have the desire, will achieve better results. We call this ‘intrinsic motivation’.
A strong desire among all young people in middle and high school is the knowledge that education can give us the power to control our lives, to make money, and to help us find fulfillment.
In Germany, kids find this out too late.
In Canada, they might never find out.
At Pear Tree, they find out the moment they step through our doors.