Smarts Talk

Introduction to Smarts Talk

Smarts Talk scripts contain some of our most dangerous myths in education. These myths come from a very long history of thinking and talking inaccurately about intelligence.

In this section of schooltalking.org, we’ll post resources that help us rethink the things we say about young people’s intelligence and ability!

Featured Resource

Teaching history is an essential way to stomp down a key Smarts Talk lie -- the myth that some "groups" are just "smarter" than others.  One great resource is the book Young, Gifted, and Black.

In her chapters, Theresa Perry walks readers through the historic African American quest for education through self-funding schools, self-teaching literacy, insisting on public education and access, and producing scholarship. She urges educators to share this history, to help “forge the identities of African American students as achievers, literate, and a people with a rich intellectual tradition.” It’s a great tool for flipping scripts with colleagues and youth. And all students need to hear such information! 

Perry argues that educators need to explicitly “communicate a counternarrative about (students’) intellectual capacity” and deliver to students a strong, explicit “message about intellectual competence.” In Chapter 3 of Schooltalk, I ask educators to "actively reject the myth that intelligence is distributed differently to 'groups.'” 

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