Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Robert Sternberg, fully Robert Jeffrey Sternberg

American Psychologist, Psychometrician, I.Q. Theorist, Dean of Tufts' School of Arts and Sciences,IBM Professor of Psychology and Education at Yale University, President of the American Psychological Association and Author, Editor of the Psychological Bulletin, Contemporary Psychology and Journals Child Development and Intelligence

"Relationships work because of a balance between intimacy and independence."

"To behave ethically is not a one-step process: Do the right thing. It is a sometimes arduous eight-step process. To behave ethically, you must: 1. Recognize that there is a situation that deserves to be noticed and reflected upon. 2. Define the situation as having an ethical component. 3. Decide that the ethical component is important enough to deserve attention. 4. View the ethical component as relevant to you personally. 5. Ascertain what ethical rule applies to the situation. 6. Figure out how to apply the ethical rule. 7. Prepare for possible adverse consequences, such as retaliation, if you should act ethically. 8. Act."

"More realistically, educators need to stop assuming that ethical behavior is the normal course of action for a well-educated individual, and that cheating and other forms of unethical behavior are not the norm. Rather, they have to assume that behaving ethically is often challenging, as any fired whistle-blower can tell you. Schools need to teach students the steps involved in ethical behavior and the challenges of executing them. And they need to do so with real-life case studies relevant to the students' lives. The steps toward ethical behavior are not ones that students can internalize by memorization, but only through active experiential learning with personally relevant examples."

"We have come, in large part, to use standardized-test scores and other objective measurements to provide opportunities to students who score well—opportunities that are much scarcer for others. But is it enough to look for such narrowly defined academic skills? Is it not time to search for and develop the wisdom and positive ethical skills that we need in order to steer this country up the slippery slope rather than down? Once started on that slide, it is hard to stop before the crash at the bottom. Just ask any disgraced politician, executive, clergyman, or educator. While unethical behavior may start in schools with plagiarism or stolen exams, we know all too sadly, and all too well, that it doesn't end there."

"ACT and SAT each have their own parts of the country. The GRE has its lock on graduate admissions. And so, one could blame the companies, but really, economically, they have no incentive to change things very much because they're getting the business."

"All of the studies we do in my group are quantified."

"And if we don't have a test, what we may end up doing is going back to what this country has done before. We could use social class and we still do, but in the 50s, it was, do you have the right last name and are your parents in privileged positions?"

"And in order to succeed in later life, you need creative skills because look at how fast the world is changing."

"And so, you can do hundreds and hundreds of studies showing a general factor and just so long as you restrict your populations, your testing materials and the kinds of situations you look at, you can keep finding the same wrong thing again and again."

"But in any case, I did poorly on the tests and so, in the first three years of school, I had teachers who thought I was stupid and when people think you're stupid, they have low expectations for you."

"But what many psychologists have done, probably because they did well on a test themselves and everyone wants high self esteem, is to create this little box and then do their research inside it."

"Find what you really love... Don't go just for the social prestige or the money. Not that money isn't important, but the people who are doing things they really love are much happier."

"Develop leaders of the next generation, and not necessarily CEOs and presidents."

"Capitalize on their strengths, but also to correct and compensate for their weaknesses."

"I failed the midterm and the professor recommended that I drop the class, ... So I did."

"I had planned to be a psychology major, but I bombed introductory psychology,"

"If there's going to be an SAT, it's probably practical to invest in a book or perhaps in a course, but I'm sorry to say, I went to some classes that my kids took and it was clear in school that what they were doing was just SAT training."

"If you bore them to death and say, this hurts me more than it hurts you, #A, they're not going to believe it, and #B, they're going to invest their time in other things anyway."

"If Tufts doesn't work out, my safety is to go back to Yale, where I used to teach."

"I'm more of a creative learner, ... I do very well in projects, but I was not good at memorizing all of that material in the introductory courses."

"If you're not adapting to the very rapidly changing environment, if you can't think creatively, you lose big in this society because there are very few jobs for you left."

"In other words, if a teacher only teaches in one way, then they conclude that the kids who can't learn well that way don't have the ability, when, in fact, it may be that the way the teacher's teaching is not a particularly good match to the way those kids learn."

"In other words, unlike some people with new theories, we will go out, we'll go into a school and we get products and the products are evaluated, whether it's by teachers or others. The scores are quantified and then we compare performances."

"In other words, the better they did on the IQ test, the worse they did on the practical test and the better they did on the practical tests, the worse they did on the IQ test."

"I've taught statistics, math courses and what I've found is that often if you teach them algebraically the formulas, you'll have one group of kids doing well."

"In the investment view of creativity, then, the creative person buys low ? comes up with an idea that is likely to be rejected and derided. That person then attempts to convince other people of the value of the idea and thus increase the perceived value of the investment. If he has finally convinced others of its value, the creative person sells high ? leaves the idea to others and moves on to the next unpopular idea."

"Practical problems are characterized by, among other things, an apparent absence of the exact information necessary for solution and also by their relevance to everyday experience.A principal in Oregon was having problems with some girls in the school. The girls had just started to wear lipstick and were pressing their lips against the mirror. After a few weeks, when the culprits were caught, the principal wanted to teach them a lesson, so the custodian showed them what he had to do to clean the lipstick. He dipped the sponge into the toilet and proceeded to wipe the mirror. Needless to say, the girls never pressed their lips against that mirror again."

"Our goal is to get better students and send a message that these things really matter. The great students will get in, anyway. This is about the middle."

"Passion is the quickest to develop, and the quickest to fade. Intimacy develops more slowly, and commitment more gradually still."

"Real life is where intelligence operates' and not in the classroom? The true measure of success is not how well one does in school, but how well one does in life."

"Leadership and civic engagement are an important part of the Tufts education, ... People often get themselves into power who are very bright, but not necessarily wise, and maybe even foolish."

"So, for example, if a child is labeled as having a learning disability, it has very concrete consequences for the kinds of services and potentially accommodations that child will get."

"Some students are more conventional learners ... [while] some are more practical learners. I'd like to work with faculty and students in order to enhance the teaching and learning experience."

"Successful intelligence is the kind of intelligence used to achieve important goals. People who succeed, whether by their own standards or by other people?s, are those who have managed to acquire, develop, and apply a full range of intellectual skills, rather than merely relying on the inert intelligence that schools so value. These individuals may or may not succeed on conventional test, but they have something in common that is much more important than high test scores. They know their strengths; they know their weaknesses. They capitalize on their strengths; they compensate for or correct their weaknesses. That?s it."

"Successfully intelligent people carefully formulate strategies for problem solving. In particular, they focus on long-range planning rather than rushing in and then later having to rethink their strategies."

"Teachers can't afford not to be flexible. The world is changing quickly. Don't just teach to those who think and learn analytically."

"The problem is that there are very few technologies that essentially haven't changed for 60, 70 years."

"The three parts of the theory are analytical ability, the ability to analyze things to judge, to criticize. Creative, the ability to create, to invent and discover and practical, the ability to apply and use what you know."

"There is no recipe to be a great teacher, that's what is unique about them."

"Successfully intelligent people think carefully about allocating resources, for both the short term and the long term. They consider the risk-reward ratios and then choose allocations that they believe will maximize their return."

"Successfully intelligent people do not always make the correct decisions, but they monitor and evaluate their decisions and then correct their errors as they discover them."

"Successfully intelligent people define problems correctly and thereby solve those problems that really confront them, rather than extraneous ones. In this way, the same problems don?t keep coming back into their lives. They also make the effort to decide which problems are worth solving, in the first place, and which aren?t."

"Successfully intelligent people represent information about a problem as accurately as possible, with a focus on how they can use that information effectively."

"Take, for example, some of the people at Enron... It should be that you are developing your leadership skills throughout your education."

"Successfully intelligent people don?t wait for problems to hit them over the head. They recognize their existence before they get out of hand and begin the process of solving them."

"There's a tendency for students to say, 'Right now I need to pay attention to my work,' and so they blow off building personal relationships, ... Don't do that - finding the time will never get any easier, and that is a really important part of life."

"To the Kenyan families, school doesn't really matter because none of them are going on to college. Almost all of drop out of school and so, they're spending their time learning things that are important to them."

"Well, first of all, we did lots of studies where we show practical intelligence doesn't correlate with G. We have probably two dozen studies that practical intelligence better predicts job success than IQ."

"Well, I don't think that the SAT is a scam."

"This is a really exciting team to be part of."