‘When I used to do spelling, I didn’t really use my brain. Then I learned how to use it and it is really powerful!' B.J, age 7


Teachers who are the most successful in challenging circumstances, are those who refuse to believe that intelligence is a fixed commodity, determined by genetic inheritance and social factors. The remarkable success of Nicola's students was due in a large part to her refusal to accept that socio-economic factors should influence standards of academic achievement.  In “The ALPS Approach’ she argues that teachers need to be aware of the various forms of intelligence and work to develop intelligent behaviors in all their students.


Intelligent behaviors, according to research of Professor Arthur Costa of the Institute of Intelligence at Berkley, include being able to manage moments of impulse, persist when challenged, have empathy, and apply past knowledge. Robert Coles upholds that children can be taught moral intelligence and can learn empathy and respect. Daniel Goleman argues in his book 'Emotional Intelligence - why it can matter more than IQ' (Bloomsbury, 1996)  that emotional intelligence has a more significant impact upon a student's success than IQ.  Goleman quotes the 1960s' Stanford 'marshmallow challenge' study by Walter Mischel as an example of the importance of teaching children to manage the moment of impulse. Mischel found that the four-year-olds who were able to resist eating one marshmallow, sometimes for as long as twenty minutes, in order to gain two marshmallows on the experimenter's return, grew up to be 'more socially competent: personally effective, self-assertive, and better able to cope with the frustrations of life.'


In ‘The ALPS Approach’ and 'The ALPS Approach Resource Book', suggestions are given for strategies to help children to develop stronger emotional intelligence and to learn to manage the moment of impulse. The theory of Howard Gardner's model of multiple intelligence is also explained and suggestions are given for techniques to develop the multiple intelligences in the classroom. 


The multiple intelligences are:


bulletMathematical and Logical
bulletVisual and Spatial


The ALPS approach draws upon the research into various types of intelligence and suggests ways to utilize an understanding of intelligence in the classroom to enhance learning. Each individual child has a combination of the types of intelligence, in varying strengths, and so each individual has his or her preferred learning styles. Drawing on a variety of intelligences and presenting lessons in VAK - visual, auditory and kinesthetic - forms, will enhance the learning opportunity for all children.  Building self esteem  is seen as fundamental in the ALPS, and so examples of activities to build feelings of academic competence are given.  In the ALPS classroom the teacher believes that intelligence can be developed and uses a wide range of approaches to  accelerate students' progress.


The following books are recommended for further understanding of current theories of intelligence:



Emotional Intelligence – Why it can Matter More than IQ,  Daniel Goleman, Bloomsbury, London, 1996


Moral Intelligence of Children, Robert Coles, Random House, New York, 1997


Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner, Fontana, London 1984


Building Healthy Minds, The Six Experiences that Create Intelligence and Emotional Growth in Babies and Young Children, Stanley Greenspan, MD, Perseus Publishing, 1999


Inside the Brain – revolutionary discoveries of how the mind works, Ronald Kotulak, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1997


Endangered Minds – Why Children Don’t Think – and What We Can Do About It, Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., Touchstone Books, Simon & Schuster, 1990


What’s going on in there? How the brain and mind develop in the first five years of life, Lise Eliot, Ph.D., Bantam Books, 1999


Teaching with the Brain in Mind, Eric Jensen, Atlantic Books, 1998


To purchase these books, or see further lists of recommended reading, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Nicola J. Call