"Three positive ways to apply Multiple Intelligences Theory in schools" holistic

holistic "Multiple Intelligences in Brief"
Howard Gardner

Linguistic: Ability to understand and use language both written and spoken. A sensitivity to the meaning of words and the different functions of language. (writers, poets, orators, lawyers)

Logical/Mathematical: Ability to use inductive and deductive thinking, numbers, and abstract patterns. Often referred to as scientific thinking--comparing, contrasting, and synthesizing information (scientist, mathematician)

Musical:  Ability to discern meaning in or to communicate with tonal patterns, sounds, rhythms, and beats (musicians, composers).

Bodily-kinesthetic: Ability to use and understand physical movement. A mastery over body movement or the ability to manipulate objects with finesse. (athletes, instrumentalists, dancers, surgeons)

Visual/spatial: Ability to perceive and re-create the visual world accurately, to visualize in one's head, and to give some kind of order and meaning to objects in space (sculptors, visual artists, navigators, designers, chess players).

Interpersonal: Ability to make distinctions among other individuals in regard to their moods, motivations, and temperaments; and to communicate with others. (politicians, religious leaders, counselors, coaches, directors)

Intrapersonal: Ability to self-reflect and have an awareness of one's own internal state of being. Ability to define one's own feelings as a means of understanding and guiding one's behavior. (psychologist, motivational speaker, counselor)

Naturalistic: Ability to recognize patterns in nature and to classify according to minute detail. (naturalist, botanist, geologist) holistic


holistic "Busting Multiple Intelligences Myths"
by Barbara Pearson

Reprinted from ArtLinks, October/November 1998

"Thanks for your article "Busting the Myths". I thought it was sensible and well expressed." --Howard Gardner

Multiple Intelligences Workshop

In the post-Sputnik era, when most research funding was going toward science and mathematics, Harvard University's Project Zero emerged to focus on arts education and school reform. Its founders looked at the arts as being cognitive in character, and launched the thinking skills movement as well as portfolio assessment techniques.

From this intellectual wellspring came Dr. Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, which has become a major force in education throughout the world. This article comes from material presented in Gardner's own lectures and writings about Multiple Intelligences.

When Harvard University's Dr. Howard Gardner first put forth Multiple Intelligences (MI) theory in 1983, he was unprepared for the huge and mostly positive response among educators. For twelve years he did not speak up about the hundreds of different interpretations and applications of his theory, but was content to let the theory fend for itself. He was awakened from his silence when he learned that a group in Australia had used the theory to endorse racist practices. He has since spoken out about the following myths and practices that have grown up around MI theory, and also around art education, intelligence, understanding, and general school practices:

Myth #1: Arts education is a subject that should be separate from the rest of the curriculum because it is unteachable and appeals to the emotions, not the intellect.
Reality #1: The arts are cognitive in nature, not just a bubble bath for the emotions, according to Project Zero's co-founder, Nelson Goodman. The arts are now considered a gateway to the processes of thinking and learning. Doing and studying about art calls into practice many kinds of cognition--visual processing, analytical thinking, posing questions, testing hypotheses, verbal reasoning, and more. Works of art, by their very nature, are connected to many areas of learning.

Myth #2: Human beings possess a single intelligence.
Reality #2: Gardner posits a pluralistic view of mind, recognizing many different and discrete facets of cognition. Gardner's empirically-tested theory, which is based on cognitive science and neuroscience, states that normal individuals exhibit intelligence profiles which combine eight different intelligences in varying degrees.

Myth #3: Intelligence is a relatively fixed quantity measured by a simple paper-and-pencil test that can reliably predict who will succeed in school and in life.
Reality #3: The I.Q. test, devised by Alfred Binet in the early 1900s, is a one-dimensional quantitative measure of linguistic and logical-mathematical ability--only two of Gardner's eight intelligences. Intelligences are best assessed in context, in a situation where one carries out tasks of consequence using the intelligence directly.

Instead of being of fixed quantity, the intelligences are raw biological potentials. Individuals can differ in the intelligence profile with which they are born and the profile they end up with. Gardner says while "standard tests may predict who will get into a prestigious college, whether you do well once you leave is probably going to depend as much on the extent to which you possess and use the other intelligences."

Myth #4: All schools should be uniform and teach the same core curriculum, presenting a standard cannon of knowledge.
Reality #4: While Gardner does believe in a core curriculum, he thinks it should be determined by individual groups of educators who decide on key topics according to their student body and cultural context. He believes that "coverage" for its own sake is the enemy of learning and understanding.

Out of Gardner's MI theory comes a vision of a more individual-centered school. According to Gardner, the purpose of school is to develop the various intelligences so that people might reach vocational and avocational goals that are appropriate to their particular spectrum of intelligences.

Myth #5: Getting back to basics in education means obtaining knowledge and mastering the three R's--reading, writing and arithmetic.
Reality #5:   According to Gardner, the basics of education are obtained through enhanced understanding of important questions, topics, and themes about our world.  Reading, writing, and arithmetic are viewed as essential tools without which one cannot pursue deeper understanding.

It has been shown that a great number of our students, even the ones with the top scores, do not truly understand the material they have studied. They are not able to use knowledge outside of set formulas and they can not make connections outside of school. Students in school must spend a greater part of their time with activities that ask them to put their understanding to work. These could include building an argument, constructing a product, generalizing, finding new examples, carrying out applications, creating works of art, and other activities that demonstrate understanding through multiple learning styles and forms of expression.

Myth #6: All subjects should be taught using all eight intelligences.
Reality #6: Most topics can be approached powerfully in a number of ways, but it is a waste of effort to assume that all eight can be used all the time. Each subject must be considered individually to determine the most effective ways it could be presented.

Myth #7: Intelligences should be exercised and evaluated in and of themselves without regard to content or context.
Reality #7: Random moving about of the body will do nothing to develop the kinesthetic intelligence. Movement should be done to develop skills related to dance, sports, music or spatial awareness, for example, not merely to exercise the intelligence. The intelligences are best used in context and in service of understanding within a subject.

Likewise, grading students on how linguistic or bodily-kinesthetic they are is likely to introduce a new and unnecessary form of tracking and labeling. Individual descriptions of a child's strengths and weaknesses should be used to help students perform better in meaningful activities.

Myth #8: There is a single acceptable educational approach based on MI Theory.
Reality #8: Gardner does not consider MI theory an educational prescription or goal in and of itself, but rather a powerful tool to be used in the service of understanding. MI theory does not take a position on tracking, gifted education, interdisciplinary curricula, the layout of the school day, the length of the school year, or many other "hot button" educational issues.

Three Positive Ways to Apply Multiple Intelligences Theory in Schools