Just what is - intelligence, personality, sanity, mind, gender and identity?

Ref: C3528605

Intelligence, personality, sanity, mind, gender, and identity are all words that influence the ways in which we think about ourselves. In this course, we will investigate how these key words are used, both by experts and ourselves. We will critically examine the scientific evidence for popular assumptions and ask difficult questions such as what is genetic and what is learned, what is myth and what is speculation. For example, the first session will look at intelligence and consider whether it is one thing or many; if it can be measured and what IQ tests test. We will ask if intelligence is inherited or acquired; limited or expansive; a quality or quantity? You can use this course to help develop the thinking skills required for further study or simply to enjoy stimulating conversation and the realisation that these topics are all open to debate and that you can take part. Expect informed presentations with lots of supporting materials, lively discussion and friendly debate.

Course aim

• To appreciate the diverse meanings of these commonly used terms. • To understand the assumptions and different perspectives behind them. • To be take part as an equal in discussions using these terms.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for all levels of ability and no prior educational experience is required. Everyone is welcome.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Recognise that these words have different meanings and applications that are open to debate.
  • Understand that behind the different meanings are different sets of assumptions, often with political implications.
  • Develop thinking skills that help you to less easily be taken in those proposing simple solutions (including the experts
  • Feel more confident in your own ability to understand complex ideas and be more prepared to continue to study at a high level.
  • Take part in discussions about these terms as an equal.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • No set work to do at home but lots of opportunities for further learning including suggested reading, web-sources and video materials.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • There will also be opportunities for discussion with other students and to share ideas and experiences.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Just bring an open mind.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • Before the course starts some background materials will be made available but these are not essential to participation in the first session.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information http://pearl.open.ac.uk/
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here http://www.wea.org.uk/learn-wea/what-can-i-do-next
  • A useful preparation for any course that requires thinking critically. Particularly useful for Social Science, Psychology, Sociology, Politics and Philosophy.

Download full Course information sheet

Just what is - intelligence, personality, sanity, mind, gender and identity?


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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