Intelligence, Metacognition & Moral Development in Children

Intelligence theories on creativity, heredity, environment, role of education, IQ tests, moral values in children, parents
What are intelligence and its attributes? What are heredity and environment in intelligence, and the role of education? Is creativity intelligence? What about IQ tests? How can parents instill good moral values in children? (Photo: Public Domain)

Intelligence has many definitions and types. For instance, creativity is a form of intelligence, and there are different kinds of creative intelligence. Also, there are various attributes that make a person intelligent. Heredity is a contributor to one’s intelligence, just as the environment is a salient factor. In developing intelligence, education plays a major role. In understanding intelligence, topics like modification, IQ tests and intelligence prediction, cultural views and theories of intelligence are notable. All of these factors are considered in personal development. The wide variety of factors and types of intelligence leads to the complexity of developing a comprehensive definition and understanding of intelligence. It is necessary to remain open to such complexity and ensure flexibility in integrating such factors in developing solutions for childhood education and moral development.

Moral development is also important in personal development. Moral development and intelligence can influence each other. However, moral development can be contentious, especially in this age of moral relativism. What one views as lack of moral judgment may not be a moral issue to others. Such issues touch on difficulties of instilling good moral values in children. With varying moral points of view, children could get confused about good moral values by observing their parents.

Elements of Intelligence

Intelligence is a complex subject that many people have tried to establish theories on. Intelligence has many contributing factors, including physiological potential, environmental influences, and experience. Typically, the positive presence of just one of these factors may make a person intelligent. However, studies show that it takes all three factors to make a person excel in intelligence. Based on these considerations, an appropriate educational program for childhood development must support these three contributing factors.

Perkins, in the 1995 book Smart Schools, argues that intelligence has three major elements:

  1. Neural intelligence (physical potential)
  2. Experiential intelligence (knowledge and expertise gained through experience)
  3. Reflective intelligence (personal strategies at problem solving and decision-making)

Metacognition and Intelligence

Metacognition is a recent concept in educational psychology. It is defined as one’s ability to learn how to learn, and adapt strategies to make learning procedures more effective. Metacognition has three main components:

  1. Establishing a plan to improve learning
  2. Observing how effective the plan is
  3. Making changes to the plan to make it better

Metacognition is a factor that distinguishes the expert learner from the novice learner. An expert learner has properly developed metacognition skills. These metacognition skills function as tools for faster and more effective learning. One’s metacognition level affects perceived or assessed intelligence.

Moral Development

Moral development is also linked to personal development. Instilling good moral values in children has become more challenging because of technology. Digital technology makes it easier for violent content to reach children in the home. Culturally, people have become liberal and open-minded. As a result, what used to be questionable moral values have become popular and sometimes even praiseworthy.

Parents hold the key to instilling good moral values in children. The way parents think and act are easily seen and mimicked by children. Children learn a lot from people around them. If parents behave in ways that are morally wrong, children could become confused and adopt similar morally wrong behaviors. Parents must recognize that they are role models to their children.


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