The concept of Dr. Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory has been around since 1983. To reiterate, it suggest that the traditional notion of intelligence based on IQ testing alone is limiting. The progress of an individual in a traditional setup seems to depend on this perception of intelligence. It is becoming clear as we move away from the notion of IQ that, given the right environment and encouragement, every individual can achieve his/her true potential. Gardner says, the goal for a society at large “should be to develop intelligences and to help people reach vocational and avocational goals that are appropriate to their particular spectrum of intelligences. People who are helped to do so, [he] believe[s], feel more engaged and competent and therefore more inclined to serve society in a constructive way.”
So what smart describes you best? Are you Word-smart, Logic-smart, Picture-smart, Body-smart, Music-smart, People-smart, Self-smart, Nature-smart, Spiritual-smart?
The more I understand this, the various possibilities of addressing learning challenges is mind boggling. It is the answer to address all the labels of ‘learning disabled’ or someone with and ‘attention deficit disorder’ or any other ‘underachiever’. The same concept can be learnt in so many different ways. Each student learning it in a method that is his/her strong hold – by listening, by reading, through pictures and visual aids, hands-on experience/activity, by discussion, by analysing statistics, etc. This is not only useful to address the shortcomings of our current education system, but also for an adult to lead a complete life. The theory gives us a whole new way to look at our lives, examine potentials and look at possibilities that can be developed at any time in our lives.
From a personal experience, be it a deeper understanding of myself, or interacting with people, or facilitating a life skills workshop at a corporate house or a similar one for children, I have begun to understand this concept at a more practical level. We seem to be born with a higher level of one or two kinds of intelligences from the above group, but that does not mean that we are a zero at the others. It is just the percentage that varies. Our basic nature mostly remains the same, but depending on what we are doing at different phases of life, there may be variations. If it is important to our current context, we could still work towards what we may think is our weak point, but through a method that is our own strength. For eg: I always thought I was bad numbers. Struggled with it through formal education, and basic calculations made me go into a brain freeze. But there was one place I loved numbers – when it was to do with classical music & dance! Here the numbers became my best friends – so much easier since the medium of my learning was through Music and the Body’s natural sense of rhythm. Once I experienced this, I could comfortably deal with numbers in daily life and the brain freezes are few and far between :-)
The examples are endless! We will all find such examples if we delve deeper.
The Possibilities through these examples, theory, practical approach into actual Teaching Methodologies is what we aim at as part of this Community Engagement initiative of NaVaRaSa.
Pic credit: http://adorofejeva.blogspot.in/