Category Archives: Uncategorized

Too much digital??

from Branton Shearer’s MI Blog, April 21, 2019

On Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport.  What does it have to do with MI?

I heard Cal Newport interviewed recently on NPR’s Innovation Hub about how to minimize the negative impact of “social media” overload. He describes how platforms such as Facebook engineer their sites to be addictive by capitalizing on our human need to be accepted (Liked) and belong. He offers some good suggestions for controlling our addiction to our smart phones. However, some people might find these tips more easier said than done. Decreasing our stress and anxiety brought about by social media addiction requires something more than the desire to do so. What is this something more that can help us manage our social media compulsion?

Cal describes the essential first step is a 30 day “detox” from all social media where you delete every app from your phone and computer. The second step is where the Intrapersonal intelligence of the multiple intelligences comes in, but he doesn’t call it that.

Instead, he says, “Wipe the slate clean … of digital media…then rebuild that digital life with real intention… only bring in those things that give you serious benefit or things that you really value. The 30-day detox gives you time to think and get back in touch with

‘What am I all about? What do I care about? What are the things I actually want to spend my time doing? What are activities that give me a lot of value?

So that when those 30 days are over you can start from a foundation of real self-reflection and then you can ask, ‘What do I really need in my life? What’s going to give me a big win?”

Hands-On Learning beyond Elementary School

From Branton Shearer, MIDAS Blog,  April 8, 2019

I want to share this interesting article from the ASCD Update newsletter with you because it nicely illustrates how to engage the kinesthetic intelligence to enhance learning in an important academic skill.

by Rachael Priore

Some people wonder how MI can be applied beyond elementary school when learning becomes more academic and textbook based. This is especially so for students in English Language Arts (ELA) who struggle to maintain attention, engagement and retention of material.

“Hands-on, movement-based learning represents a shift in the traditional style of learning in an ELA classroom, but from my experience, it is a shift that benefits all learners – not just those who struggle… weave multimodal learning into the instructional methods of your classroom.”

Priore offers several practical tips for activating more than the linguistic intelligence in the ELA classroom:

  • Activate Prior Knowledge (4 Corners Activity, Find Somebody Who…)
  • Model Content and Skills
  • Moving and Reviewing (Centers, Gallery walks)
  • Beyond Written Assessments (Conferencing, Socratic seminars, Peer Teaching)

Activating the kinesthetic intelligence in middle and high school classes may sound intimidating at first but a little at first can mean a lot to students. As you see students’ engagement increase you can be more daring in your use of movement to connect your content with the power of kinesthetic learning.

ASCD Education Update December, 2018 .


The Gardener Parent vs. the Carpenter Parent

from Branton Shearer, MIDAS Blog, Mar. 2, 2019

by Kristen Mae

“According to Alison Gopnik, (a psychology and philosophy professor at the University of California), the carpenter parent believes they have the power to shape who their child will become. Much like a carpenter with his truckload of specialized tools, the carpenter parent believes that as long as they parent their child the “right” way, they can influence a particular outcome. That was me, trying to turn my son into a violin prodigy. You see how well that worked out.

The gardener parent, on the other hand, knows and accepts that many variables are out of their control. The gardener parent provides a nurturing environment but understands that you can’t force an outcome any more than a gardener can control when the sun shines or how big a plant will grow or whether it will yield fruit. “

I was struck by this article that embodies the spirit of an MI-inspired education (beyond the obvious connection of gardener and Howard Gardner!). This idea is embedded in The MIDAS process.



Developing Good People


From Branton Shearer, MIDAS Blog,  Feb. 26, 2019

Tom Hoerr, former principal of New City School, has published an excellent Commentary in Education Week entitled, How We Can Develop Good People. It is a piece full of common-sense wisdom as illustrated by this quote . . .

“regardless of what technology or the workplace may require – it’s the ability to know oneself and work with others, out human literacy, that is essential for success. . .  people with strong intrapersonal and interpersonal success skills will be better able to solve just about every problem.”

The online version of this article is called: The Five Success Skills Every Student Should Master

Education Week, Dec. 12, 2018

Click here:



Empathy is Academic

+From Branton Shearer, MIDAS Blog,  Feb. 19, 2019

Empathy is Academic: Lessons from Lotus Slippers by Naomi Priddy.

This recent article in ASCD’s Education Update spotlights the importance of interpersonal intelligence.  

How can teachers draw students out of their point of view and break through cultural stereotypes when becoming familiar with other cultures?

This is a challenge not easily overcome by the standard lecture or reading the chapter in the text. Facts alone do not engage one’s interpersonal intelligence.

Priddy summarizes her approach in her book China Educator’s Toolkit this way:  

“I divide academic empathy in the social sciences into three categories: historical empathy, pushing students outside presentism to understand people living in other times; cultural empathy, engaging with contemporary cultures outside of students’ experiences and challenging students’ cultural biases; and social empathy, building activities in which students learn to listen to one another’s perspectives and collaborate to form new learning.”




What does it mean to be MIDAS Certified?

from Branton Shearer at

With the help of colleagues in the Netherlands, Singapore and China we are now organizing MIDAS Certification training workshops. Certification ensures that MIDAS users are familiar with proper administration and interpretation procedures. MIDAS is different from most tests and assessments and so for students to get the most benefit from their profiles, it is necessary for them to receive the right guidance.

There are four levels of Certification: Foundations, Practitioner, Mentor & Master Mentor.  Feedback from MIDAS Practitioner, Dionne Heng Cheng Peng describes very well the goals of the training.

From Dionne Heng Cheng Peng, 11-7-18, Singapore

“After knowing MI, I have learnt to see my kids with a different lens, knowing that each one of them is unique and crafted differently. Individual has their different learning preferences as individual intelligences are scaled differently. I am excited and motivated to partner my students’ parents in bringing out the best of their child with the MIDAS report. Many parents are frustrated and having this power struggle with their kids due to a clash of their intellectual styles with their kids. Being able to work together with parents deriving the best way to communicate with their child and to guide the child finding their best study skill that intrigues their learning are my motivation for now!

I am definitely intrigued to know that even the most difficult or not recognized child is smart in their own way who can also contribute in their small ways to give back to society. Helping individuals to find their confidence, motivation and ownership to learning is so exciting. As a parent myself, I am so thankful that MI has opened my mind and changed my ways in responding to my own kids, helping them to take ownership of their learning as this is a life-long learning skill. I have learned to ask “How are you smart?” instead of “How smart are you?” now.”





The Realities of Teaching

From:  Branton Shearer at www.

The sun is rising, and teachers are arriving…ordinary men and women,” as educational reformer John Dewey put it, “...of whom we expect the extraordinary”.

The sobering realities of life as a modern-day teacher and educator in America, USA Today.

USA Today coordinated with reporters from 15 cites to describe how teachers are feeling about their profession and public attitudes towards teachers.

This is a touching and rather disturbing description of the state of teachers and public perception in America today. It provides a stark contrast with the situation in Denmark where teachers are well-educated, highly paid and very respected. Their educational approach is nearly the polar opposite of the US (no testing) but still their students score very highly on the PISA tests.

The article concludes:

Respect and disrespect

“Teachers hold our hands and wipe our noses, tell us we can be more than we are, maybe more than we think we can be.

In return, we tell pollsters that they’re underpaid, without being sure what they actually make; that we endorse collective bargaining, yet often resist higher taxes; that we even support their right to strike, preferably in someone else’s district.

A day with American public school teachers ends with this irony: These people, whom opinion polls show to be among the nation’s most respected, feel disrespected.”

Read article here:


Social, Emotional Issues and Academics & MI

From The MIDAS Blog. 11/14/2018

Speaking of Mary Helen Immordino-Yang… she is the president of the International Mind, Brain and Education Society. She and her colleagues organized a fine conference in Los Angeles in September.

She co-authored a very impressive monograph with Linda Darling-Hammond and Christina Krone entitled, The Brain Basis for Integrated Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. The Aspen Institute, 2018



Download PDF here.







Mind Brain and Education in Los Angeles

I am happy to report that the International Mind Brain and Education Society hosted a fine conference with many great speakers in Sept. I presented a poster overview of my MI – neuroscience investigations and the response was quite positive.

My poster was titled: Intelligence: Intelligence: Neural Architectures and Educational Bridges to the Future Multiple Intelligences After 35 Years

Thinking about Thinking about Howard Gardner

Gary Stager.… has an interesting blog worth checking out. His commentary on Howard Gardner is thought provoking – “Is Howard Gardner the most misunderstood and misappropriated educationalist (his preferred term) in the world today or he just the only theorist most educators have heard of?”

Also I very much appreciate his shout out to my book, MI@25 which he describes as ‘an incredibly important and sadly overlooked anthology”.

Thinking about Thinking about Howard Gardner