Thursday, November 04, 2010

the death of intelligence?

Howard Gardner's book Frames of Mind, 1983,  proposed that human beings are intelligent in a variety of ways. His theory of multiple intelligences became widely accepted. He won the MacArthur Prize and yet in the last 27 years, schools have become even more deeply rooted in reading, lecture and math to the neglect of other forms of human intelligence. We know without a doubt, that reading and math are important. But do we not yet know the intersections and relationships between the various forms of intelligence? That single types of intelligence do not stand alone, but rather are framed and supported by other forms? Do we not know that bodily/kenesthetic intelligence aids reading and math? Do we not know that kinesthetic and haptic intelligence frame and assist other forms? Do we not know that the movements of the fingers are directly related in the brain to its processing of numbers? Do we not yet know that dance is a form of mathematics, that woodworking is an expression of spatial sense, that football and basketball are tangible expressions of logic and teamwork and more? Howard Gardner came up with 9 distinct forms of intelligence which he isolated and described.  In the meantime, little has been done to develop an effective multiple intelligences approach for classroom learning. Teachers talk about it but most often have little training or time to put multiple intelligences theory into classroom use. And so we teach to the test and rely on standardized testing to measure our children's potential for success which ultimately has little or nothing to do with that which has been measured. To emphasize three basic forms of intelligence to the neglect of the others is to strip the foundation from those basic forms thus denying access to full potential for most students.

To emphasize two or three forms of intelligence in the modern classroom is archaic and presents a false sense of values, leaving most students in doubt of their own worth while depriving our culture of their potential contributions and intelligence.

Just for balance and discussion, I've linked to an article, Teaching to a Different Test, that says, "Teaching to the Test could be a good thing if we were testing for the right things." Unfortunately, it seems that the whole testing movement is not about kids, but about squeezing as much value as we can from teachers, whom we pay little and trust less, whereas in Finland where they have far greater success, they give greater training to their teachers and trust them to do what they are trained to do to greater effect.

Today, I'll be working on small cabinets, doing some prep work at school and working on text and captions for chapter 4.

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