Table of contents
2 The MIDAS in High Schools by Branton Shearer
3 A Walk Around the Block With a Kinesthetic Kid by Debra Jones
4 Interview between Barbara Kelsey-Warren and Clifford Morris
5 Enhancing Education with MI by Howard Gardner
6 A Lesson Learned from Multiple Intelligences by Sharon Sweet
7 Research References associated with Multiple Intelligences by Clifford Morris
Welcome to Volume 1 Issue 1 of the Multiple Intelligences (MI) News (hereinafter simply "MI-News"). The MI-News is a newsletter provided free of charge by Multiple Intelligences Research and Consulting. Its mission is to provide useful information to those interested in Howard Gardner's MI Theory and to explore its applications via discussion and sharing. In exchange for receiving the MI-News, we request that you consider making a contribution in the form of a good idea, thoughtful response, question, or an inspirational MI learning activity.
But who are we? We are all "teachers" in one way or another who seek the best for learning, knowledge, and education. More specifically, we are mainstream university professors, cognitive developmental psychologists, avid parents, practicing classroom and retired teachers, and others who live spread across the two largest countries in North America but who work together daily thanks to the modern miracle of the Internet. But regardless of our backgrounds or locations, we all share the same commitment to improving the knowledge of our web site visitors.
As our above title implies, this newsletter is, in the main, all about Gardner's MI. In an attempt to cover the wide range of knowledge information concerning the practical implications of MI, we have compiled what we believe to be a balanced series of articles for this inaugural issue. We hope that you find our newsletter interesting, informative, and practical.
2. The MIDAS in High Schools by Branton Shearer
Dr. Branton Shearer is a developmental psychologist. In his private practice he counsels adults, adolescents, and families to improve educational and vocational achievement and personal satisfaction. He conducts workshops for teachers and school administrators interested in MI theory. He has been developing, refining, and implementing the Multiple Intelligences Developmental Assessment Scales (MIDAS) for over 10 years. His MIDAS is a 119 item self report that can be easily completed in about 35 minutes. Numerous studies of it reliability and validity have indicated that it can provide a reasonable estimate of one's MI strengths and weaknesses that correspond with external rating and criteria. Many high schools around the United States are currently using The MIDAS with their faculty to build an appreciation for the educational applications of MI theory.
Here, we only introduce the MIDAS to you and a few comments about its current usage in some secondary schools. Future issues of this newsletter will highlight powerful ways in which The MIDAS has been used by teachers, counselors, and researchers to enhance classroom learning and education.
The MIDAS in American High Schools
The MIDAS was recently adopted by five (5) high schools in Ohio, Kansas, and in Illinois. For example, in Hudson, Ohio, over 1400 students in grades 9 through 12 (and the faculty) completed recently received their MIDAS Profiles. This is the first step in a three (3) year commitment by the administration to infuse MI into the curriculum and students' total high school experience. This first year will focus on increasing MI awareness and years two and three will work to increase acceptance and integration of MI thinking both in and out of the classroom. Parent materials and informational programs will guide appropriate parent involvement in their child's education.
The goals of this ambitious project are many, but the primary objectives are:
1. to enhance students' intrapersonal awareness so they may become intrinsically motivated and self directed lifelong learners
2. to integrate MIDAS Profiles into the creation of powerful Individual Career Plans (ICP) so that students' post-graduation decisions will accentuate the development of their intellectual strengths
3. to assist teachers in the creation of dynamic and engaging MI-inspired curriculum and instruction.
At Olathe East High School in Olathe, Kansas, the 10th grade class has received the MIDAS Profiles for the second year. This Blue Ribbon award winning school hopes to improve post-graduation planning by students through enhanced self-understanding and curriculum development during their high school careers.
After using the MIDAS in the Vocational Education program for three years, twenty-five teachers at Mentor High School in Mentor, Ohio decided to have over 1000 students complete the MIDAS. Students will be assisted in creating effective strategies for communicating their learning strengths to their various teachers. Teachers will also receive assistance in creating whole class MI profiles so they may better understand the learning needs and strengths of their students. Many other high schools around the United States are using The MIDAS with their faculty to build an appreciation for the educational applications of MI theory.
3. A Walk Around the Block With a Kinaesthetic Kid by Debra Jones
Debra West Jones is a mother of five year old twin girls. She and her husband Jim, an educational researcher for Ball State University, have been home schooling their daughters, using Howard Gardner's MI theory as a guide for customizing the girls' education. Prior to becoming a mother, Debra worked in the banking industry for several years, received an M.B.A. from Kent State University and later taught in the college of business at Ball State University.
In her own words ...
Five years ago my husband and I were thrilled by the birth of our twin daughters. I was also delighted to discover they were both girls because then I knew that I could just teach them everything they needed to know at the same time. This was going to be much more efficient than raising two daughters of different ages, right?!
WRONG! What I did not realize is that two children born at the same time to the same parents did not translate into the same kid. In fact, my daughters seemed to go out of their way to do things differently than the other. I was so perplexed at what was happening that I decided I had to do some research, and this was how I came across Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
What I had observed in my then three (3) year old daughters was that Michelle loved sitting with me, reading books and repeating back everything I wanted to teach her. She was a delight! It was all happening the way I thought it should. But looking across the room, I would see her sister, Chantelle, running around the couch not really paying any attention to what I was saying.
When it was time to learn the numbers, Michelle, as usual, picked up on it with great ease. She would proudly recite for her father our lessons of the day. Chantelle, on the other hand, would not remember any of the numbers we had talked about just minutes before. This went on for weeks, until I realized that Chantelle was just not going to learn in the same way that Michelle was learning.
One day after dinner I asked my husband to spend some time with Michelle. Chantelle and I took a walk around the block. She was so excited to have this time alone with me (which is rare when raising twins). As we walked around the block, I started to discover numbers everywhere. I would point to a mailbox or the numbers on the street and Chantelle would run up to them as if we had found a hidden treasure. Finally, my kinesthetic kid had found something FUN that involved numbers. We continued our private walks and our quest for hidden numbers throughout the summer. Soon, she knew her numbers as well as her sister. It wasn't that she couldn't learn them; I wasn't teaching them to her in a way that worked for her.
After that experience I realized that even within a family, we are all individuals and we all have different gifts and talents to share. We all can learn things in many different ways. I stopped thinking about teaching "the twins", and instead, began thinking about teaching "Michelle" and teaching "Chantelle". In closing, if you wish to check out more MI tips for parents, get the details by visiting the Family Education Network at http://www.families.com/article/0,1120,1-618,00.html
4 Interview with Barbara Kelsey-Warren by Clifford Morris
Each issue of the MI-News will highlight an exclusive interview with someone currently associated with Howard Gardner's "many kinds of minds" theory. For this inaugural issue, MI-News was most pleased to have the privilege of interviewing Barbara Kelsey-Warren, a parent of a child who is currently attending a MI school. She was interviewed by Clifford Morris. Correspondence concerning this interview should be addressed to Barb Kelsey-Warren, 4163 Connel Lane, Orlando, FL, 32822. She may also be reached by email at: BarbKW@aol.com.
If you are or know of a MI-inspired teacher, we would be interested in interviewing you regarding your use of MI for instruction and curriculum planning. MI-inspired lesson / unit plans are especially welcomed. Future issues of the MI-News will highlight such MI educators. Here then is our interview.
MI-NEWS: When did you first come to know about Howard
Gardner and his Multiple Intelligences (MI) model?
BARB KELSEY-WARREN: I first became aware of Howard Gardner and MI in 1996. There was an article regarding the school that my sons now attend and it made mention of how the school utilized the MI theory.
MI-NEWS: What made you finally decide to place your
child in an MI school?
BARB KELSEY-WARREN: My children were in a gifted pull-out program for approximately five (5) hours per week. There were quite a few weeks that the gifted pull-out program did not even meet. My children were losing their love of learning. Then I read about the school in the Sunday magazine in our local paper. I went to an open house and received some material from them regarding the school and MI. I felt that my children's needs would be met, based on THEIR needs, not on the needs of the majority. The school is based near downtown in order to utilize the museums, opera, ballet, library, etc. I felt that it would benefit my children to be exposed to other methods of learning and life.
MI-NEWS: Why do you feel that it is so important to
remind parents of the Gardner model?
BARB KELSEY-WARREN: Not all children learn in the same way. What works for one child may not work for another. However, if you approach the same lesson in a different way, the child may very well excel at something they were previously struggling with. Many parents are not even aware that there are other options available.
MI-NEWS: Why is it vital to foster the development of
more than just the IQ-types of intelligence in others?
BARB KELSEY-WARREN: Real life is not based solely on your IQ. Children need to be recognized for other accomplishments.
MI-NEWS: Why is it so critical not to label students as
intelligent in just one of Gardner's 8 intelligences?
BARB KELSEY-WARREN: By labeling a student in this way, you are not only limiting the student, you are likely to place limitations in how others may view the student and his/her abilities.
MI-NEWS: What can the Gardner model bring to the
current educational arena?
BARB KELSEY-WARREN: I feel that MI recognizes the differences in how children learn. It recognizes the fact that children are individuals and therefore, need to be treated as such. They need the opportunity to try other avenues if one does not work.
BARB KELSEY-WARREN is a parent of children currently attending a MI school. She was especially interviewed for this inaugural issue of MI-News by Clifford Morris. Correspondence concerning this interview should be addressed to Barb Kelsey-Warren, 4163 Connel Lane, Orlando, FL, 32822. She may also be reached by email at: BarbKW@aol.com.
5. ENHANCING EDUCATION WITH MI by Howard Gardner
In the November 1995 issue of Phi Delta Kappan (Vol. 77, No. 3), Howard Gardner wrote an article titled Reflections on Multiple Intelligences: Myths and Messages. MI-News is privileged to have an excerpt from that article reprinted for our viewers. Gardner utilized the first five pages (pp. 200-203, 206) to discuss seven myths that have grown up around his MI theory. And in the final two pages (pp. 207-208), he "attempts to set the record straight by presenting seven complementary realities." The following section has been reprinted with permission from the author.
. . . Let me now indicate three more positive ways in which MI can be -- and has been -- used in the schools.
1. The cultivation of desired capabilities. Schools should cultivate those skills and capacities that are valued in the community and in the broader society. Some of these desired roles are likely to highlight specific intelligences, including ones that have usually been given short shrift in the schools. If, say, the community believes that children should be able to perform on a musical instrument, then the cultivation of musical intelligence toward that end becomes a value of the school. Similarly, emphasis on such capacities as taking into account the feelings of others, being able to plan one's own life in a reflective manner, or being able to find one's way around unfamiliar terrain are likely to result in an emphasis on the cultivation of interpersonal, intrapersonal, and spatial intelligences respectively.
2. Approaching a concept, subject matter, or discipline in a variety of ways. Along with many other school reformers, I am convinced that schools attempt to cover far too much material and that superficial understandings (or nonunderstandings) are the inevitable result. It makes far more sense to spend a significant amount of time on key concepts, generative ideas, and essential questions and to allow students to become thoroughly familiar with these notions and their implications.
Once the decision has been made to dedicate time to particular items, it then becomes possible to approach those topics or notions in a variety of ways. Not necessarily seven ways, but in a number of ways that prove pedagogically appropriate for the topic at hand. Here is where MI theory comes in . . . nearly every topics can be approached in a variety of ways, ranging from the telling of a story, to a formal argument, to an artistic exploration, to some kind of "hands on" experiment or simulation. Such pluralistic approaches should be encouraged.
... 3. The personalization of education. Without a doubt, one of the reasons that MI theory has attracted attention in the educational community is because of its ringing endorsement of an ensemble of propositions: we are not all the same; we do not all have the same kinds of minds; education works most effectively for most individuals if these differences in mentation and strengths are taken into account rather than denied or ignored.
...The MI endeavor is a continuing and changing one. There have emerged over the years new thoughts and misunderstandings, and new applications, some very inspired, some less so. Especially gratifying to me has been the demonstration that this process is dynamic and interactive: no one, not even its creator, has a monopoly on MI wisdom or foolishness. Practice is enriched by theory, even as theory is transformed in the light of the fruits and frustrations of practice. The burgeoning of a community that takes MI seriously is not only a source of pride to me but also the best guarantor that the theory will continue to live in the years ahead.
6. A Lesson learned from multiple intelligences by Sharon Sweet
Sharon Sweet is a high school teacher who has successfully utilized the MI perspective in her chemistry classes. In a recent issue of ASCD's journal Educational Leadership (Vol 56, No 3, Nov. 1998), she described how encouraging students to work on learning projects in their area of MI strength "promote[d] increased motivation, pride, status and achievement".
She writes: "Any high school classroom is a garden of intelligences." Although plants look similar, each grows and produces in its own way. Just as a gardener identifies the health of the plants, so too must a teacher identify the strength of the logical-mathematical, linguistic, musical, spatial, kinesthetic, naturalist, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences of the students. Only in this way can s/he help students grow and produce successfully. "I now understand that what I know about my students' intelligences is less important than what they know about how they learn best. My experience with Tim and Jarrod taught me that it is best to ask my students how they learn."
7 Research references and multiple intelligences by Clifford Morris
Over the years, I have gathered many of the references and writings of Howard Gardner. To view them, feel free to go to http://www.igs.net/~cmorris/gref.html. I have been fortunate to locate some Special Issues of journals that have been devoted exclusively to his theory of multiple intelligences. To view them, go to http://www.igs.net/~cmorris/intref_si15.html To cite a most recent issue, the monthly journal Scientific American published a Special (Winter 1998) Issue, Volume 9, Number 4. The issue's editor, Philip Yam, has well arranged sixteen informative articles all around the term 'intelligence. You can read more about these interesting articles by going to http://www.sciam.com/specialissues/1198intelligence/1198quicksummary.html>.
The initial eight articles comment on the broad and vast spectrum titled "human intelligence". In one of these articles, A Multiplicity of Intelligences, the author, Howard Gardner argues that his eight and possibly nine intelligences are "just as important as the intelligence measured by paper-and-pencil tests." Then, four more interesting articles focus on animal intelligence, followed by three articles outlining different forms of machine intelligence. The final section, extraterrestrial intelligence, asks if there is intelligent life out there.
In closing, we hope that you
have enjoyed this inaugural issue of the MI-News. If you subscribe, you
will receive subsequent issues at semi-regular intervals dependent upon time,
energy and input from our readers. Stay tuned as we plunge into the 21st
century better aware of the intellectual potential within all of us.