The theory of multiple intelligences has a profound effect, on the way that educationalists now view education and learning. This is especially so in the United States, where the mode of learning is continuously subject to reviews, and learning instructors are becoming more abstract in their thinking. Howard Gardner’s work does not just explain the way to understand the world, but to understand how to change it to suit oneself. In his work, the frames of mind and the theories of intelligence, he illustrates that intelligence can take on many forms. In the past people believed that intelligence is a function of teaching, and that people came into the world knowing nothing.
Increasing studies have shown that people actually come into the world with some intelligence, which may be of different types, and have different strengths altogether. This is where Howard Gardner appeared. His work suggested that intelligence is not a single entity that is measured by one test like an IQ, and then labeled, henceforth. According to his research, he came up with several forms of intelligence that are starting to get recognition in today’s educational system. Some of these forms may come from signs that in an ordinary setting would constitute idiocy or retardation.
The list comprises of seven intelligences, not all of which have specific academic value. The first two are scholastic skills, the next three groups are arts, and the last two are personal intelligences. The first two are linguistics and logical-mathematical skills, which enables one to grasp and use language. The mathematical skills enable one to carry out logical operations, which help in deducing solutions to problems (Smith 15). The next three are musical, body kinesthetic and spatial intelligences. The musical intelligence allows one to compose and perform music, while the kinesthetic intelligence allows one to use their body to solve problems, (Smith 17).
The spatial intelligence allows the individual to recognize places with ease in such a way that they cannot easily get lost by recognizing patterns around (Kincheloe). The last two are interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences. These two mean the person is a good with relating with others, and good with understanding their own emotional and cognitive processes. These intelligences would greatly expand the schools syllabuses if inducted into the school system. A suggestion would be to fragment the school system, and evaluate children from an early age to ascertain which intelligence they best possess, and along with their consent set them on that path.
The theory received strong responses, although it still quite radical to educators in the field. For one, the first kind of intelligence is hard enough to teach how the system can deal with seven. The labor and the knowledge base needed for this kind of overhaul would be unimaginable, but so would the benefits. This kind of a system would ensure a future generation of savants, and geniuses the like of which history has never encountered. It strains the mind to think about how much latent potential would unleash into the world as composers and professors and sports people.
The benefits to the society would be staggering to say the least, in the total scheme of things. The Jetson age would reach without our realization. This is a better society with better-expanded fields in areas that up to date are untouched because of a weak knowledge base or not enough commitment in that sector. The discrimination associated with intelligence status will become outdated, obsolete, and unnecessary. This is because everyone will have their part to play in the grand scheme of things. That is after all what education was for in the first place before it became an exclusive gift to certain individuals.
According to Jacobus (1), some few personalities have had a radical effect on the educational system or the way of thinking in the society throughout history. These are the likes of Sigmund Freud, Niccolò Machiavelli, and his views on government, as well as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and her views on the justice system. The contributions of these few have helped in progress of forward thinking, but now it is time for other theories to take the step in evolution.
It would seem that an all rounded society needs the seven intelligences, in order for them to live life well. This means that teachers need to emphasize the use of all the seven intelligences. More educators are leaning towards deeper learning, and thus they must provide flexible programs to enable this to happen. Howard Gardner illustrated the possible candidates for unique forms of intelligence, but this leans one to ask whether there are other forms of intelligence that are undiscovered. There were three possibilities that Howard, and his colleagues came up with, in the answer to this question.
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The three were naturalistic, spiritual, and existential intelligence. These are quite abstract compared even to the seven that Howard deduced, but they hold some substantial area of operation in today’s life so they cannot be dismissed that easily. There are several criticisms that have applied to the concepts that Howard, and his colleagues conceived. Educators that use the normal psychometric tests will always have problems with Howards theory because the concepts are so unrelated it is as if they are worlds apart. Therefore, the two can never see eye to eye on this topic. The concept is quite radical, like all of its kind, will experience technical and logistical problems in its applications, but that is a small price to pay for the reward.
One of the areas that need alteration to accommodate these forms of intelligence is student perception. As opposed to only scoring the best grades in the classroom subjects, the teacher ensures that they engage the student in problem creation and problem solving whose application benefits society. “The teacher’s role is to help the students find information and adapt it to their intelligence” (Dhiman).
A human being processes basic form of intelligence that is uniquely blended. Education would have to address all these unique abilities in individuals and enhance their development (Dhiman). Current education systems develop only one type of intelligence, something that needs alteration for the implementation of the seven forms of intelligence. Although this seems hard, it provides seven more ways of teaching a concept.
The application of these forms of intelligence would enable society to accept that school is not the only place where education takes place (H. Rhyn). Other institutions such as family and church influence the student in different ways and these should be viewed with as great importance as the schools.
The teaching of these intelligences involves the recognition that all students are unique and possess different forms of intelligence. Students vary because their different areas of intelligence development may not be effective. “To be able to bring out these intelligences, teachers diversify the curriculum through child-centered activities” (P.K). This may involve giving open-ended projects and learner centered activities.
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Other methods to adopt when teaching the curriculum are independent study, cross-curricular activities and discovery learning. Working in groups and using authentic assessment techniques are additional techniques that are useful according to the theory of “multiple intelligence” by Gardner.
The understanding of these forms of intelligence helps the teachers and students know themselves better in terms of their abilities. It leaves the teacher knowing that the performance of certain individuals in class is the way it is because of difference in endowment and that they require deferent methods of instruction. This also demonstrates to the students where their strengths lie as well as their weaknesses. They concentrate on building up their strength as well as addressing their weakness (D. M. Fetterman)
The Students benefits from the boosting of their self-esteem, making them feel good about themselves. The students develop the ability to take risks when it comes to learning, and through making mistakes, they get first hand learning as well as deep learning of important principles in life (M. M. Pearn)
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In general, the main beneficiaries are the different types of learners, namely the visual learners, kinesthetic learners, musical learners, interpersonal learners, intrapersonal learners, and naturalist learners. The teachers also benefit from the fulfillment of transferring knowledge from books and the environment to the learners and society benefits from the application of the abilities possessed by the learners to the improvement of the same.
Walter Samuel Hunter compared the application of direct instruction to “multiple intelligence” teaching in the " American Psychological Association” and realized that the latter resulted in better results after assessment (S. W. Hunter)
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