"What is a caucus race?" said Alice; not that she much wanted to know, but the Dodo had paused as if it thought that somebody ought to speak, and no one else seemed inclined to say anything.
"Why," said the Dodo, "the best way to explain it is to do it."
First it marked out a racecourse, in a sort of a circle ("the exact shape doesn't matter," it said), and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no "One, two, three, and away!" but they began running when they liked, and left of when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so… the Dodo suddenly called out "The race is over!" and they all crowded round it panting, and asking "But who has won?"
This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought and it stood for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead…while the rest waited in silence. At last the Dodo said "Everybody has won, and all must have prizes."
From Alice in Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll
Just as the best way to explain a caucus race is to do it, so too the best way to explain Engaged Intelligence is to do it. First however, we must mark out our race course….
Engaged Intelligence means committed, curious, and involved engagement with ideas, information, and materials. In other words, Engaged Intelligence is the interaction of an active mind with things, ideas, and possibilities. Engaged Intelligence is not the passive capacity (or quotient) which I. Q. scores describe. Most every teacher has encountered an I. Q. score 'genius' whose sole capability seems to be gathering up and expressing an immense amount of data. Conversely, nearly everyone knows examples of people who were not able to function well in school, yet grew up to perform dynamically in 'real' life.
Back in 1985, Howard Gardner, a psychologist/educator at Harvard University, wrote a book called Frames of Mind. There he laid out his theory of multiple intelligences, demonstrating something that most non-experts have known all along. The aptitudes measured by I.Q. scores are not the only kind of intelligence there is. Musical ability requires a sort of intelligence, says Gardner, so does the ability to get along socially with others. Athletic skills and the ability to envision spatial relationships are intelligences too--and so is the ability to feel compassion for others.
We all possess more that one kind of intelligence, each to varying degrees. You are probably very good at some things and just so-so at others. However, we are not concerned in the Engaged Intelligence Training Program with what sorts of intelligences you possess. What concerns us here is helping you to engage your intelligences (whatever they might be) more effectively.