Multiple Intelligences,  part 1
 
         In Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind, he proposes that there are seven main areas in which all people have special skills; he calls them intelligences. His research at Harvard University was in response to the work that Alfred Binet had done in France around 1900. Binet’s work led to the formation of an intelligence test; we are all familiar with the “intelligence quotient,” or “IQ,”  the way that intelligence is measured on his test.
 
        This type of IQ test was used as the basis of another one with which most of us are familiar: the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), which is taken my most college-bound high school students. 
 
        Both of these tests look predominantly at two types of intelligences: verbal and math. If a person does well on these, s/he is considered “intelligent,” and is a candidate for one of the better colleges or universities. But what about everyone else? How many of you who are reading these words have used the phrase “not good at taking tests,” when talking either about yourself or your child?

        The Multiple Intelligences (MI) theory proposes that there are other measures of intelligence beside these two. I offer this information to you so that you can understand that while many teachers have some knowledge of MI theory, most of our schools are not fully set up to use it to the advantage of all students. 
 
        That being the case, perhaps you can either (1) be involved in helping your child’s teachers and school to provide a more balanced program that develops his intelligences that are not more included in the curriculum or (2) find activities outside of the school environment in which your child can develop his dominant areas of intelligence.

        You should also know that MI theory posits that each of us has, to some degree or another, all of these intelligences. Some of them are simply more developed than others. Furthermore, we are all able to improve our ability in each of these areas.
  
        In next week’s column, I will give a brief description of each of the intelligences.

        This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacher’s  Advice for Parents.

 
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