What is Instructional Intelligence?
So what is meant by the term “Instructional Intelligence”? In its literal sense, the notion relates to the extent to which teachers are “intelligent” about their instructional behaviour; or in other words, the manner in which teachers consciously or overtly modify their instructional actions so as to maximise the impact on student learning. More broadly, the theory may be defined as the conscious and deliberate utilisation by the teacher of a range of interventions or teacher actions categorised as skills, tactics and strategies that impact positively on student learning in the classroom, based on extensive research into how students learn. In addition, the theory fosters in teachers a greater awareness of how their actions can impact on critical factors or concepts that affect student learning, such as motivation, novelty, authenticity, safety and accountability. Furthermore, teachers who are instructionally intelligent are acquainted with the extent to which learning may be affected by a range of instructional organisers such as diverse learning styles, multiple intelligences, brain research, ethnicity, gender or “at risk” environments.
Collectively, the integration of these italicised categories may be defined as pedagogy. While skills, tactics and strategies may be classified or defined as discrete groupings, the ability of the teacher to weave these processes together in a thoughtful manner so as to create a more powerful learning environment constitutes what Bennett characterises as the art of teaching. In order to develop a greater appreciation of the potential of Instructional Intelligence, it may be useful to look at each of these categories in more detail.