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Study or intelligence?

  1. Nov 17, 2015 #1
    Do you believe that being good at physics depends on study or the intelligence? I mean I'm kinda stupid, as my teacher says but do you believe that even if I'm stupid, if I study I can have a very good grade?
    PS I'm 16 years old
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2015 #2


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    Did your teacher actually say you are stupid? A teacher should never say such a thing, and not just because it's not nice. It's likely just wrong - there are many ways to be intelligent.

    Also, even in just one area, people often don't really know what skills you may have, because they have limited information. People can also be very biased. When I was in high school, my teachers thought that I had a math learning disability. I was shunted into a vocational track where I cleaned ink off printing presses and other practical graphic arts duties. It wasn't until college that I realized what math really is and how good I really could be at it.

    To answer your question, it takes both a certain amount of talent and hard work to become good at anything, physics included. I tend to think that, with a certain minimal level of natural ability, hard work is most important. There have been lots of studies done on this for different skills (like chess or playing the violin, for example) and, to summarize and simplify (hopefully not over-simplify!), they say that while hard work may not make you the best in the world, it can get you pretty far.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  4. Nov 17, 2015 #3


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    I agree with Geofleur.

    No teacher should be burdening a student with a label like that.

    As a student there are two extremes of self-view that you can subscribe to. One side believes that all success derives from natural ability, hence you currently are all that you will ever be capable of and the world it just a proving ground. The other side believes that success derives directly from hard work and critical, constructive feedback. And while the truth may lie somewhere between these extremes, those who subscribe more heavily to the latter tend to be the ones that end up with the most success in life.

    If you enjoy physics, if you want to learn more about it, study it and work hard.
  5. Nov 17, 2015 #4
    No need to rehash the excellent replies given so far, so let me try something else.

    What does "kinda stupid" mean here? Why do you, or why does your teacher, think you're stupid?
    Because you see, giving labels to people is easy. But what's most important is whether it is possible to use those labels to make yourself better. In this case, you must identify why you think you're stupid. This will reveal certain issues which you can then tackle.

    But I'll tell you this: never give up on a dream because somebody decides to be negative to you. Instead, evaluate their reasoning and improve yourself. If you truly like physics, you wouldn't let anybody persuade you from not doing physics.
  6. Nov 18, 2015 #5
    Just saying this :

    If your teacher puts a label to it's student or say it is stupid he is so wrong and does not have the ability to educate a person or a class correctly. My teachers use that as example as the worst way to teach someone. Why? because you affect the learning of the student , you start labeling and say , here are the stupids and the smarts. I won't put any effort on the stupids because they are stupids and on the smart i will. Also , you can think about that all the class and not pay attention and fail and be more ¨stupid¨ and believe the teacher.Everyone should be labeled as students and not that way Because of the theory of knowledge (TOK) it states intelligence is necessary if we define it as the ability to learn and understand , but not at all . You need more than intelligence to learn something.
  7. Nov 18, 2015 #6
    You need both to study and to be reasonably intelligent at least to make good progress, not one or the other.
    Intelligence is not of much use to somebody is who is not familiar with basic concepts of a subject.
    Reading everything available on a subject isn't of much use to somebody who is unable to comprehend it.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
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