a strong case against multiple intelligences

10 Dec

i am in the midst of one of the biggest brain knots in recent times, but i’m not interested in thinking bout that right now.  in fact, i’m sure a strong case could be made for me to let my subconscious work through it as i engage my conscious efforts on something else…so here i am.  i was looking through my professional books when i came across a book i hadn’t looked at in a while, but happens to be one of my favorites.  if someone asked me for a book to read regarding gifted education, there is a strong chance i would pull this one, it’s just a great read and talks about issues in such an easy way to engage your mind.  the book is barefoot irreverence and is written by a guy who was someone whose thoughts i really connected with many years ago when i began my work in gifted education, jim delisle…or James Deslisle, Ph.D. as the cover reflects (credit where credit is due).  anyhow, he has a position in regards to multiple intelligences that you don’t often run across and i suspect that is because we don’t think of what the theory of multiple intelligences “does” to the view of gifted education.  carol dweck, a behaviorist, tells us that the way we perceive things will strongly influence the way we act.  if a teacher gets a hold of howard gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence and connects with the idea of asking the question how are you smart as opposed to the question of how smart are you, there probably isn’t a crime committed.  however, and this is a big however, if a teacher takes the theory and then translates that into the idea that somehow everyone is gifted in someway, then i am going to stand shoulder to shoulder with mr. delisle and say something is seriously wrong here.  i have always believed that adopting gardner’s views is like looking at people half-full; that there is something that everyone is strong in and as a teacher allowing students to play to their strengths, at times, can be beneficial.  i have never adopted the idea that somehow being strong in a particular area of MI makes you gifted, let alone in that area.  to be honest, until i read delisle’s article i never thought about it in those terms, but i realized others might.  look out your window and you’ll find lots of people who see gifted education as elitist.  these people have a very narrow understanding of what it means to be gifted and the social/emotional baggage that can come with it.  delisle makes a great point in regards giftedness not being a skill that can be nurtured, rather a characteristic that needs to be recognized and honored.

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Posted by on December 10, 2009 in Uncategorized


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