Friday, April 24, 2009

“Multiple Intelligences” Theory & Survey for Children

As a parent of a child who might struggle academically (or in any area of life for that matter) the issue of multiple intelligences can bring a great level of relief in that there is finally hope for their future; that even though they mightn’t set the academic world on fire, they could very well succeed in some other equally important field.

Multiple Intelligences theory proposed by Howard Gardner (1983) can be described “as an idea that maintains [that] there exist many different types of “intelligences” ascribed to human beings.”

“In response to the question of whether or not measures of intelligence are scientific, Gardner suggests that each individual manifests varying levels of different intelligences, and thus each person has a unique “cognitive profile.”

“The theory was first laid out in Gardner’s 1983 book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and has been further refined in subsequent years. In 1999 Gardner list[ed] seven intelligences: linguistic, logic-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily kinaesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal.”[1]

The beauty of this theory is it gives relevance to intelligence beyond that which is merely acquired or promoted via academic means. A sportsperson or musician can thus be intelligent in their own right.

This is a salve for anyone who has children struggling academically, for there is hope once we find out what their strengths might be using this construct.

A broad array of style sensitivity in children “validates educators’ everyday experience: students think and learn in many different ways.” And this has led to “new approaches that might better meet the needs of the range of learners” in schools and homes and a whole range of environments, including workplaces, today.[2]

Education should be at its zenith about the “development of understanding.”[3] And Gardner clearly and succinctly puts forth a cogent vision of education:

“Deep understanding should be our central goal; we should strive to inculcate understanding of what, within a cultural context, is considered true or false, beautiful or unpalatable, good or evil... [and these themes]... motivate individuals to learn about and understand their world.” [4]
And this is, as a parent, our chief task: to promote in our children the development of understanding in all the spheres that might encompass, and not merely the academic.

For children to develop their God-given potential in their strength areas they must be given maximum opportunities and these can only be given once there is some understanding of what the strength areas might be.

And surely the key challenge into the future, regarding education’s role, is to integrate this holistic understanding of intelligence with morality as we further expand upon societal outputs (in real and sustainable terms toward life) at all levels.

For removing the traditional educational stigma and ignorances by providing a broader concept of understanding and intelligence can only promote that every single human being has a purpose, a hope and a future--and no less a contribution to make than the next person.

Each child is already perfect at the level of their potential. It is our task to unlock and encourage this potential.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

A very good, basic Multiple Intelligences survey (specifically for children) can be found at: Birmingham Grid for Learning Survey
s s
[1] I couldn’t do better than this entire quote (all three) from Wikipedia:
[2] Mindy L. Kornhaber, “Howard Gardner – 1943-” in Joy A. Palmer, David Edward Cooper, Liora Bresler (eds.), Fifty Modern Thinkers on Education – From Piaget to Present (London & New York, Routledge, 2001), p. 276.
[3] Kornhaber, Ibid, p. 276.
[4] Kornhaber, Ibid, p. 276.

1 comment:

L. Venkata Subramaniam said...

I agree. There are multiple intelligences only we dont know how to harness many of types of them. Our schooling system wastes these other forms of intelligence.