Annie Murphy Paul published her latest The Brilliant Report on “Eight ways of looking at intelligence” recently.  It was a transcription of one of her latest speeches and it is well worth reading.  Her insight into different ways that make us smarter was profound.

Three of these looks got my attention the most:

  • Situations can make us smarter

She wrote “The science of learning has demonstrated that we are powerfully shaped by the situations that we find ourselves in: situations that can either evoke or suppress our intelligence.”

  • Technology can make us smarter

Under this section it was noted: “’21st century skills’ that we’re always hearing about—critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, creativity—can’t emerge in a content-free vacuum. They must develop in the context of a rich base of fact knowledge: knowledge that’s stored on the original hard drive, one’s own brain.”

  • Relationships can make us smarter

Finally she observed: “A community, perhaps, something like the one gathered here, which has in my short acquaintance with it given every indication of allowing probing questions and stimulating conversation to flourish—of allowing intelligence to bloom.”

Her insights on these three aspects of intelligence peaked my interest because they mirror the three foundations that TheTalkList are founded on:

  • One on One Tutoring in Contextual conversations
  • Electronic networking and Collaboration
  • Social Networking

As a quick background, is an e-Learning web site built on TheTalkList’s 3-Part Method that combines Creative Conversation, e-Learning technology, and social networking. The theory behind TheTalkList’s 3-part method is that one-on-one learning is the most effective way to attain language proficiency.  On TheTalkList, students select their own personal tutor and practice speaking with native speakers of American English. TheTalkList makes this individual instruction convenient, affordable, and extremely effective.

After reading Ms. Paul’s speech transcript, I believe we are on the right course.