Sternberg's Triarchic Theory of Intelligence According to Sternberg (1997), intelligence is "the mental activities necessary for adaptation to, as well as shaping and selection of; any environmental context. According to this definition, intelligence is not just reactive to the environment but also active in forming it. It offers people an opportunity to respond flexibly to challenging situations." (p. 1030) 1. Componential Subtheory-refers to the common core of intellectual processing skills that are used in any environmental context or culture to solve problems. For example, in writing a term paper the metacomponents decide what to write about, plan the paper, and monitor the progress of the writing; the knowledge-acquisition components gather the information, combine related ideas, and integrate the ideas into a coherent paper, and the performance components do the writing of the paper. A. Metacomponents-refer to metacognitive abilities involving the monitoring of task performance and the allocation of attentional resources. These higher-order executive processes are used to plan, monitor, and make decisions during the performance of an intellectual task. a. Recognizing the existence of a problem b. Defining the nature of a problem c. Choosing steps that will solve a problem d. Ordering the steps to solve the problem e. Representing the information f. Allocating attentional resources g. Monitoring of solutions as processing proceeds h. Evaluating solutions B. Performance Components-refer to processes used to carry out a task. a. Inference b. Mapping c. Application C. Knowledge-Acquisition Components-refer to the processing skills involved in gaining new knowledge, encoding that knowledge into long-term memory, and selectively acting on new information encoded into memory. These processing skills lead to insight. For Sternberg, intelligence increases with age because of a growth in the knowledge base. The knowledge acquisition components are the mechanism for acquiring new knowledge and relating that knowledge in a meaningful way to what is already known. a. Selective encoding-involves distinguishing relevant from irrelevant information. Problems usually include information that is not relevant to solving the problem.
Failure to focus on the relevant information will result in failure to solve the problem. b. Selective combination-involves combining facts and ideas into a relevant and integrated whole. c. Selective comparison-involves relating new information to information acquired in the past. 2. Experiential Subtheory-refers to how prior knowledge affects our ability to solve the problems of every day life. To act intelligently, it is essential that the individual has the ability to deal with unfamiliar situations creatively and to deal with familiar situations with ease and automaticity (that is, with relatively little mental effort). A. Coping with novelty B. Automatization 3. Contextual Subtheory-refers to how intellectual skills are used in the everyday world. To solve the practical problems of everyday life we either adapt to the environment, change it, or select one aspect of the environment over another because it best suits our needs. To adapt, select, or shape the environment will differ depending on the environment. Therefore, what is considered intelligent behavior will depend on the specific context, setting, or culture. A. Adaptation-adjustment of one's behavior to achieve a good fit with the one's environment B. Selection-when adaptation is not possible or not desirable, one can choose another environment that offers a better fit and to which one can adapt successfully. C. Shaping-when one cannot adapt to the environment but it is not possible to choose another one, the individual can try to change the environment to create a better fit.
Reference Sternberg, R. (1997). The concept of intelligence and its role in lifelong learning and success. American Psychologist, 52, 1030-1037.
Selective Encoding Problems: 1. You have black socks and blue socks in a drawer, mixed in a ratio of 4 to 5. Because it is dark, you are unable to see the colors of the socks that you take out of the drawer. How many socks do you have to take out of the drawer to be assured of having a pair of socks of the same color? Directions: If you have enough information to solve the problem. If information is missing, tell what is missing. If no information is missing, solve the problem. 2. Mary makes headbands and sells them for two dollars each. How much will she get for 10 headbands? 3. Roberto bought six boxes of chocolate-chip cookies at the grocery store. How many chocolate-chip cookies does he have altogether? Directions: Cross out any information that is not needed to solve each problem. Underline the information that is needed. Then solve the problem. 4. There are 28 children in Mr. Davis's class. Ten of the children have dogs at home. Twelve of the children have cats at home. How many of the children in the class do not have dogs? 5. Ms. Johnson has planted three rows of tulips in her garden, with four tulips in each row. Half of the tulips are white and half are purple. How many tulips does Ms. Johnson have in her garden? Selective Combination 6. I bought a share in the Sure-Fire corporation for $70.1 sold that share for $80. Eventually, I bought back the share for $90, but later sold it for $100. How much money did I make? Selective Comparison 7. VILLAINS are lovable. HERO is to admiration as VILLAIN is to CONTEMPT AFFECTION CRUEL KIND) 8. CHOWDER is sour. CLAM is to SHELLFISH as CHOWDER is to SOUP STEAK LIQUID SOLID 9. LAKES are dry. TRAIL is to HIKE as LAKE is to SWIM DUST WATER WALK
Sternberg's Instructional Model for Teaching Thinking Skills 1. Familiarization---the purpose is to motivate students to see the skills that they are to be taught are relevant to their lives. a. Presentation and interactive solution in real world problems--Students are given two or three practical problems to solve and the teacher uses the Socratic method to enable students to solve the problem themselves. b. Group analysis of problem-solving procedures-In a group discussion the teacher asks the students to identify the skills that enabled them to solve the problems c. Labeling of mental processes and strategies-in order to identify the skills to be taught, the teacher provides labels of the thinking skills to be taught. d. Application of labeled processes to initial problems-have the students explain how the skill to be taught was used in their initial problem solving. e. Application of labeled processes to new problems-students are given new problems to solve and asked to label the skill(s) they are using in solving the problems. The labels provide verbal mediation to the students so they better understand what they are doing. f. Student generation of new problems-Students are asked to solve problems they find interesting and important. 2. 3. 4. Intra-Group Problem Solving—Students practice solving problems without teacher direction. Inter-Group Problem Solving—Groups compare and contrast their solutions. Individual Problem Solving—After developing their thinking skills in solving problems in groups, students are asked to apply those skills in solving problems on their own.
Teaching Thinking Skills According to Sternberg's Triarchic Theory Sternberg believes that teachers can help students increase their intelligence by teaching to each of the components of his triarchic theory. 1. 2. 3. Componential subtheory—deals with analytical thinking Experiential subtheory—deals with creative thinking Contextual subtheory—deals with practical thinking
When teaching and evaluating analytical abilities, ask students to 1. compare and contrast 2. analyze 3. evaluate 4. critique 5. ask why 6. explain why 7. explain causes 8. evaluate assumptions When teaching and evaluating creative abilities, ask students to 1. create 2. invent 3. imagine 4. design 5. develop 6. suppose 7. say what would happen if When teaching and evaluating practical abilities, ask students to 1. apply 2. show how they can use something 3. implement 4. use 5. show how in the real world Examples of Questions to Foster Thinking Skills Analytical Thinking Explain what causes an earthquake and why earthquakes are more common in some parts of the world than in others. Creative Thinking Imagine that you have been in an earthquake and write a story about it. Include as much detail as you can involving what you have learned about earthquakes. Practical Thinking What kinds of things could you do to protect yourself if you were ever in an earthquake? Think about things you could do before, during, and after a quake, and outline an "earthquake preparation" plan.
Teaching Triarchically Describe how you could teach the concept of media to fourth graders on the basis of Sternberg's triarchic theory:
Describe how you could assess fourth graders' understanding of the concept of media using performance assessments and Sternberg's triarchic theory:
Characteristics of Students Who Prefer Analytic, Creative, and Practical Thinking
Analytic High grades High test scores Likes school Liked by teachers “Fits” into school Follows directions Sees flaws in ideas Natural “critic” Often prefers to be given directions
Creative Moderate to lower grades Moderate test scores Feels confined by school Often viewed as a pain by teachers Doesn’t fit well into school Doesn’t like to follow directions Likes to come up with own ideas Natural “ideas” person Likes to direct self
Practical Moderate to lower grades Moderate to low test scores Feels bored by school Often viewed as disconnected by teachers Doesn’t fit well into school Likes to know what use task and directions serve Likes to apply ideas in a pragmatic fashion Natural “common sense” person Likes to find self in practical settings