Beyond Intelligence

hands joining in the centreIntelligence matters. At the same time, however, achievement, success, happiness, and fulfillment in life are built on a lot of different factors that go beyond intelligence, at least as intelligence is conventionally defined. Some children are academically advanced, and others make friends easily. Some kids are inclined to athletics, and some excel at music. Some are great at mathematical analysis, and others have well-developed ‘street smarts.’For the past several decades, ‘intelligence’ has often been defined as a person’s score on an intelligence test (aka IQ or intelligence quotient). High scorers have been seen as highly intelligent, and children have been identified for gifted programs or other types of classes on the basis of their IQs.

Increasingly, however, this narrow IQ-based understanding of intelligence is being challenged. People are realizing there’s more to intelligence than analytical abilities, which are emphasized on most intelligence tests, and prized in many educational settings.  Parents and teachers are recognizing that although analytical abilities are valuable assets, there are many other factors that contribute to success and fulfilment, such as social, emotional, musical, and spatial capacities. Attributes like creativity, wisdom, resilience, character, and confidence are also important.

Most parents want to equip their children with the tools and resources they’ll need to  succeed in all the ways that matter—in their relationships, health, well-being, learning, and careers. Achieving this kind of happy successful productivity goes far beyond intelligence, at least as far as ‘intelligence’ is usually understood.

In our work with parents and educators, on this blog, and elsewhere, we provide strategies for raising happily productive kids, moving beyond intelligence as defined by IQ tests. Our objective is to broaden narrow understandings of intelligence, and help parents support and encourage their children’s many different kinds of abilities.

Beyond Intelligence: Secrets of Raising Happily Productive Kids by Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster. Available from House of Anansi Press; August, 2014:

For more on these topics, go to, or

2 Comments to “Beyond Intelligence”

  1. Interesting reflection on wisdom. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I heard your interview on CBC radio this weekend and what you said resonated very strongly with me. I send my 3 children to the Toronto Waldorf School where I see my children’s multi-faceted intelligence is fostered. I look forward to reading your book!

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