# Bodong Chen

Crisscross Landscapes

# Notes: What is an expert student?

## References

Citekey: @sternberg2003expert

Sternberg, R. J. (2003). What is an “expert student?” Educational Researcher, 32(8), 5–9.

## Notes

Sternberg discusses the notion of teaching for expertise''. He argues thatwe need to identify expertise in a way that is closely aligned with the way experts are identified in the disciplines students study” (p. 5). In his framework of successful intelligence'', he highlights three dimensions of teaching to help children think in ways characteristic of experts in a variety of disciplines. The three dimensions include (1) teaching for analytical thinking (encouraging students to analyze, critique, judge, compare and contrast, evaluate, and assess), (2) teaching for creative thinking (encouraging students to create, invent, discover,imagine if,” suppose that,” and predict), and (3) teaching for practical thinking (encouraging students to apply, use, put into practice, implement, employ, and render practical what they know). Empirical evidence synthesized in this paper suggests that the theory of successful intelligence serves as a potentially useful way to teach in school. The successful intelligence model goes beyond present methods of instruction that focus on acquisition of technical knowledge, and emphasizes on the skills of using this knowledge, which distinguish experts from nonexperts. Promisingness evaluation is related to all three dimensions of successful intelligence highlighted by Sternberg. It is about evaluating ideas, theoretical or practical, in creative contexts. It is abundant in expertise, implicitly maybe, and is something distinguishes creative experts from nonexperts \parencite{Bereiter1993}.

## Highlights

It is suggested that teaching for “successful intelligence” may help in the creation of future experts.

If we wish to teach and identify expert students, therefore, we need to identify expertise in a way that is closely aligned with the way experts are identified in the disciplines students study. For starters, this means having students do tasks, or at least meaningful simulations, that experts do in the various disciplines. Second, it means teaching them to think in ways experts do when they perform these tasks.

### Teaching for Expertise: The Theory of Successful Intelligence

They need creative thinking to generate ideas, analytical thinking to evaluate those ideas, and practical thinking to implement the ideas and convince others of their value.

1. Teaching for analytical thinking means encouraging students to analyze, critique, judge, compare and contrast, evaluate, and assess.

2. Teaching for creative thinking means encouraging students to create, invent, discover, “imagine if,” “suppose that,” and predict. It requires teachers not only to support and encourage creativity, but also to model and reward it when it is displayed (Sternberg & Lubart, 1995; Sternberg & Williams, 1996).

3. Teaching for practical thinking means encouraging students to apply, use, put into practice, implement, employ, and render practical what they know.

In the first set of studies, researchers explored whether conventional education systematically discriminates against children with creative and practical strengths (Sternberg & Clinkenbeard, 1995; Sternberg, Ferrari, Clinkenbeard, & Grigorenko, 1996; Sternberg, Grigorenko, Ferrari, & Clinkenbeard, 1999).

Thus, just by expanding the range of abilities measured, the investigators discovered intellectual strengths that might not have been apparent through a conventional test.

when students are taught in a way that fits how they think, they do better in school.

A second set of studies (Sternberg, Torff, & Grigorenko, 1998a, 1998b) examined third and eighth graders’ learning in social studies and science. As predicted, students in the successful-intelligence condition outperformed other students in terms of the performance assessments.

The results of three sets of studies suggest that the theory of successful intelligence serves as a potentially useful way to teach in school. Ericsson (1996) and Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Römer (1993) emphasize the role of deliberate practice in acquiring expertise. Such practice is indeed important in many fields, especially in performance-based domains such as music, athletics, or chess. It appears, however, to be necessary but not sufficient in other kinds of domains.

Similarly, the locus of expertise in the successful intelligence model goes beyond how much knowledge experts have or how they organize that knowledge (e.g., Chi, Glaser, & Farr, 1988).

Analytical, creative, and practical processing apply in each of Gardner’s eight domains: one uses creative skills to generate novel and useful ideas, analytical skills to decide which are the good ideas, and practical skills to make the ideas work and to convince others of their value.

### Teaching Beyond Conventional Expertise: The Balance Theory of Wisdom

Individuals who have not learned to think wisely, no matter how smart, tend to exhibit five characteristic fallacies in thinking.

Wisdom requires one to know what one knows and does not know as well as what can be known and cannot be known at a given time and place.

Wisdom, the opposite of foolishness, is the use of successful intelligence and experience toward the attainment of a common good (Sternberg, 1998). This attainment involves a balance among three kinds of interests: (a) intrapersonal (one’s own), (b) interpersonal (other people’s), and © extrapersonal (more than personal, such as institutional) interests, over the shortand long terms, as (d) informed by values.

Schools should consider the development of expertise in wisdom to be an important goal.

Wisdom is not taught in schools. In general, it is not even discussed.