Are you smart? Are your students smart?
I believe every person on the planet is smart. I also believe there are different kinds of smart. I also believe it may be difficult to measure all kinds of smart with a pencil and paper test.
Over 25 years ago, Harvard University professor Howard Gardner began a book titled Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. He hypothesized there were multiples types of intelligence. The eight most widely recognized intelligences are: spatial-visual, linguistic verbal, interpersonal, musical-rhythmic, naturalistic, bodily-kinesthetic, intrapersonal, and logical-mathematical. Emerging brain research is supporting the idea of diverse intelligences. Neuroimaging is highlighting the facts that students learn and express themselves differently.
I have been aware of this theory for many years, though I have not done as much with it in the classroom as I believe I should. I am aware of some schools that have built their entire curricula on the theory of multiple intelligences. Many other educators are not familiar with the theory at all. As a teacher, what do I do with this information? First, I think it important for all teachers to internalize the notion of multiple intelligences. A recognition of this theory will surely affect all aspects of our teaching. Second, analyze your teaching methods to identify the intelligences you emphasize (and deemphasize). Third, make plans to incorporate more of the intelligences into your day: teach things in different ways; present activities in different ways; and allow students to express their learning in different ways. As you teach in new ways, you will likely learn many new things about your students.
Our quest is to help students discover HOW they are smart!