Multiple Intelligences

Methods and means of supporting critical thinking in education
Kiless
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Multiple Intelligences

Post by Kiless » Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:03 am

In reviewing over my initial opening post on Critical Thinking for young people (and responding to Mr Dominic's post about Bloom's taxonomy and how it is linked to the PLC education guide called 'Bloomgarde'), I've reviewed again over the 1999 additions to original 1983 Multiple Intelligences. Since Gardner questions them himself, they make me consider again the relevance of MI and just how useful it is.

The ones (mentioned previously in the Bloom's taxonomy post) I'm familiar with are published in guides and posters, lesson plans et al, include: Kinaesthetic, Linguistic, Logical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Musical, Visual/Spatial and Naturalistic.

In 1999 however, the following were debated, as you can see here: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm#additions - Spiritual, Existential and Moralistic. About now I start going 'WTF?' and pose the question - is this more about talents or personality rather than an 'intelligence'?

Some of the criticisms that I've heard of the system as a whole are raised here: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm#issues

Having looked at Sternberg's work as a part of a class on Intelligence and Emotion for my MEd., I've ended up being more critical of Gardner over time, not only because of these points but also the practicality of implementing all of the strategies in the class as suggested... I've seen a five-minute concept stretches out twenty as a prac teacher tried to use all of the versions!

Could it be, rather like the link above, that 'Multiple Intelligences' could be just considered 'learning styles' that are of more relevance to the teacher in considering their strengths in the classroom rather than some sort of prescriptive label given to the student?

I say this as it is the first year that I've taught a student with Turner's Syndrome and I'm aware that my tendency to mindmap, draw charts, brainstorm and use illustrations and overheads / powerpoints are totally bewildering to this student and doesn't actually get the message across until I've spoken to her (what does Turner's syndrome involve: http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/medica ... urner.html)

Kiless
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Post by Kiless » Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:08 am

Another site of interest - the author here also says 'For me, Gardner offers us a chance to deepen and expand our instructional practices to reach all learners in the classroom. Marketing traditional instructional media to reach multiple intelligences is pandering to what is familiar and comfortable, but not what is true to the spirit of Gardner's work.:
http://surfaquarium.com/newsletter/mi.htm
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Kiless
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Post by Kiless » Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:18 am

May also be of interest - Project Zero's newsletter has two interesting articles, one on 'Artful Thinking' (which holds some points about 'thinking dispositions and thinking routines' that are rather similar to what Athon is investigating - 'A reasoning routine - Make a Claim / Identify Support / Ask a Question related to the Claim) and the 'Cultures of Thinking' project at the Australian Bialik College and how they are working to develop a school-wide culture of thinking.

http://www.pz.harvard.edu/PZis39.pdf
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USAskeptic
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Post by USAskeptic » Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:55 pm

In my opinion, from what I have observed among many individuals possessing high levels of one or more of the MI’s, is that quantities of theories have been proposed by non-MI talented individuals about what is what, but precious little attention has focused onto the how and why, and even less attention has been given to asking the MI individuals themselves how they achieved the talents. The act of non-talented individuals creating theories about talented individuals is just plain silly and always leads to errors.

The spiritual and moralistic ‘intelligences’ are simply an individual’s recognition and use of logic applied to inward intrapersonal standards (ethics) which are then applied externally to interpersonal behavior (morals). (The common interpretation of “spiritual” has almost no relevance to what Gardner’s spirituality is pointing to, and the spiritual MI most definitely does not relate to anything religious: ethics, morals, and spirituality are not created by, owned by, nor standardized by any religion or philosophy).

As the naturalistic intelligence is simply the width and acuity of intellectual and sensorial capacity (genetic/nature) personally chosen (personality/self-will) to be applied to the environment (nurture), so would the spiritual and moralistic be similar except with additional personal inner focus on applying logical analysis to how the individual would best react/harmonize within the environment (an ethic, an inward standard of mental behavior choosing external behavior, a moral).

The existential intelligence would be little different than the spatial and naturalistic intelligences except for existential being able to further mentally analyze (consciously or subconsciously) the gathered information to derive a reasonable future conclusion of the patterns and interactions of the environment. As a person can discern what a fourth musical note will likely be by first listening to three descending notes, existential intelligence can discern similar rhythmic symmetrical patterns in Nature and quickly conclude how the patterns will develop a new conceptual whole in the future. Existential intelligence therefore would show a greater capacity for sensorial input, memory retention, logical association of memories, and natural non-symbolic mathematical and geometrical capacity. As one individual can mentally conceptualize how a house is built from foundation to framing to completion, so might a high existential intelligence individual mentally conceptualize how the interaction of numerous variables will result in a specific future pattern. Both he who mentally conceptualizes the patterning of a house and he who conceptualizes the patterning of the environment are thinking existentially, but the latter individual is working with greater quantities of information and greater capacities for analysis.

Kiless wrote: Could it be, rather like the link above, that 'Multiple Intelligences' could be just considered 'learning styles' that are of more relevance to the teacher in considering their strengths in the classroom rather than some sort of prescriptive label given to the student?


I feel your idea has merit and is more correct than the general concepts about MI. Aside from an individual first possessing the necessary genetic capacity for a MI, the rest depends on the person’s self-will to use the abilities, and what sort of environment the person has available to express the abilities within will greatly influence how well the MI develops and is expressed. The musical intelligence is similar to existential, spatial, and naturalistic, but has found an outlet and enjoyment in music. Without a musical instrument, the MI might find expression within the naturalistic style, but of course each person is genetically different and with different personality/environmental variables. Individuals with high MI happen to have variables set to work best within the specific MI.

The several MI perhaps ought to first be viewed as variables of expressed talents, where the capacity for the talents themselves should be given primary attention as the cause, and then later have the variables and results looked at.

SCITEACH
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Post by SCITEACH » Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:13 am

The idea of multiple intelligences is at its core a valid and strong idea. However, many people who have jumped up on this horse have ridden it into the ground. The list of MI becomes longer and longer as time goes by.

Kiless has it right with the statment- Could it be, rather like the link above, that 'Multiple Intelligences' could be just considered 'learning styles' that are of more relevance to the teacher in considering their strengths in the classroom rather than some sort of prescriptive label given to the student?

As long as the classroom teacher makes the effort to incorporate strategies to address various learning styles (i.e. visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc.) most of the students should be able to incorporate the concepts being taught.
Evolution has been very very good to us

Athon
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Post by Athon » Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:55 am

Formalising anything into categories is typically a dangerous act. Nowhere is this more tragic than in education, where students accumulate labels left right and centre.

At its most positive, this helps teachers to quickly interpret their class in terms of differentiation, allowing them to adapt their resources and teaching styles to suit the variation in their class. However, the reality rarely lives up to this.

The fact that the skills we adopt in learning are all different is hardly debatable. For instance, I learn best through sitting and listening, followed by practicing and then learning from my own mistakes. Yet does that make me aural? Kinesthetic? I also learn quite well from reading and seeing diagrams...

Extending this into a ranking of methods only further blurs the lines. In the end, you are no better off as a teacher for having a bold statement of whether your class is aural, visual, kinesthetic etc. If I'm to be cynical, I'd say more teachers simply have to make an effort to get to know their students and see the shades of personality rather than understand boxes of categorisation.

The message from MI should not be 'we are a category of intelligence', but rather than teachers need to teach the same thing from multiple angles. Obviously time and curriculum demands conflict with this, but I think it's an important message.

We all have variable skills in how we interpret the world. To label them all is nonsense. To know that there is a spectrum of learning styles is damn important.

Athon