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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on February 2, 2000. All rights
Who’s Smart, and How Are They Smart?
Business owners and consultants always say that people
are a business’s best asset. And what they really mean is smart
Smart is a slippery word, though. Some people have street smarts,
others book smarts. The most brilliant people can be utterly lacking
in common sense. Some people excel in one specific area, while other
people have immense breadth of knowledge and experience. Just as no
two people look or act the same, no two people think or learn quite
the same way.
Take a person who can build incredible real-to-life models, for
or put together brilliant business plans, but when it comes to writing
down just a few lines on paper, they omit words, and jumble ideas.
in children, sees a lot of that among his students. But after years
of research and working with students who have all kinds of strengths,
he came to this conclusion: there is no such thing as a perfect mind.
"There is no such thing as a normal learner," says Levine,
who works at the Center for Development and Learning in Carrboro,
North Carolina. "You can have a child who is straight As, but
you may have a hard time teaching them how to play tennis."
Everyone has a learning dysfunction — it’s just a question of
which ones they have, says Levine, who will talk about the methods
for evaluating and building upon a child’s strengths on Thursday,
February 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the Stuart Country Day School at 1200
Stuart Road. Call 609-921-2330.
Levine’s notions about learning differences has won the attention
of influential people, both in business and in education. Charles
R. Schwab, a stockbroker and financier who suffers from dyslexia,
found Levine’s research so compelling that he helped Levine found
the All Kinds of Minds Institute. The institute develops regional
centers, called "Schools Attuned," where classroom teachers
can learn Levine’s model for identifying different learning patterns
and working with children. The Princeton Schools Attuned is located
at 195 Nassau Street (609-497-1907). Last summer 1,800 teachers
two weeks of training in his theories, observations techniques, and
teaching methods. Public television is gearing up for a feature story
on Levine later this year.
A graduate of Brown University, Class of 1961, Levine is a Rhodes
Scholar who attended medical school at Harvard University. He now
works at the Center for Development, and raises geese on his farm
in Rougmont, North Carolina.
Although Levine’s clients are mostly still in school, he is confident
that what he has learned about children’s learning patterns translates
to adults, who are learning in the workplace, as well. "A few
years ago I gave a workshop on children’s learning, and we talked
about problems with attention, weaknesses with language, and other
issues," he says. "We borrowed an auditorium from a chemical
company, and in exchange, the executives came to the talk. After the
talk, they said `Dr. Levine you’ve just spend the past two days
about children, but you’ve also described a sizable amount of our
The learning patterns of kids can help illuminate the issues involved
in being a worker, says Levine. "Many of the issues that we’re
concerned about are relevant to business," he says. "We look
at children’s problem solving skills, communication skills, capacity
to form concepts, and whether they are high-output or low-output."
— Melinda Sherwood
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