Monday, June 30, 2008

There are a lot of things these days that could scare the bejesus out of you. Escalating gas prices are one. Of course frightening things have a way of sneaking up on you even though they've been looming on the horizon for a long time. One of the things that is still out there actually came up in 1993 when Howard Gardner published Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences which obviously does two things. First it tells us that people are smart in a variety of ways, and secondly it tells us that we learn in different ways as well. There is a third thing it tells us that is pushed aside and must be reckoned with if we are to raise general intelligence to a high enough level to deal with all the other issues that result from an overstressed planet. That third thing is to take note that despite our mind numbing technologies we really aren't as smart as we think we are or as smart as we would have been if the full range of human intelligences were acknowledged and rewarded.

We have school systems in which only one form of intelligence is truly valued... That which can be effectively and easily tested. We have public schools and universities dominated by that form of intelligence to the direct and purposeful exclusion of other forms. (except the token athletics kept to inspire school spirit.) We cope each day with a system dominated by an intelligentsia which had been deprived of the mind developing, problem solving, character building hands-on learning which would have made them wise, while we have an underclass deprived of the confidence for life-long learning that recognition of their multiple intelligences would have offered toward their success.

Educational Sloyd was proposed for the learning of all. For one thing, the use of the hands helped in the development of intelligence for all students. Even those who lacked the basic capacity for skilled and efficient use of the hands, were able at least to come to an appreciation and acknowledgment of the hands-on intelligence of others.

Is this too much of a leap to make? Can you see the connection? Unfortunately through the workings of the ego, academia is heavily invested in a sense of superiority. It is the way things work. It is a case of the emperor's clothes, and until someone has had the opportunity and challenge of learning through their own hands, they just won't get it. They will parade defiantly naked and oblivious to the truth. No doubt my discussion would raise the ire of those academicians whose positions are maintained through a false sense of superiority. For those of us who see in each day's activities, the intelligence expressed in making things, this idea is a no-brainer. Join me in promoting it.

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