Multiple Intelligences Newsletter, Vol 26, No 5

February 6, 2018


I hope that the beginning of 2018 has started in fine fashion for you. As you think about your classroom and school, remember that life-long learning begins with student engagement and student success. None of us want to continue to beat our head against the wall. With that in mind, I often talk about a school’s “smile quotient.” When I visit a school, I hope to see kids and adults smiling. Those smiles don’t mean a lack of rigor or an absence of challenge. They mean that everyone wants to be there because they’re learning! I wrote about this a couple of years ago in St. Louis Magazine: Joyful Learning.

This issue of Intelligence Connections contains an article by Marta Ancarani and Mariana Falco from the Universidad Nacional de Villa María in Córdoba Province, Argentina. It’s exciting to read how researchers pursue knowledge in learning how students learn.

Thinking about how students learn, 2018 marks the 35th anniversary of the publication of the book that sets out the theory of multiple intelligences. In 1983, Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind was published, and it moved the educational tectonic needle quite a bit! The theory of MI was welcomed by many, many educators because it helped to explain what they saw in their classrooms: students have different strengths and learn differently. The school where I worked, the New City School, used MI in designing curriculum, planning instruction, and creating assessment tools, and I know first-hand what a powerful tool MI was for both student and teacher success.

Unfortunately, over time, that burst of enthusiasm and pragmatic approach to learning has been vitiated by an inordinate focus on the 3 R’s and standardized test scores. As we focus more on how students learn, I am hopeful that the MI pendulum will begin to swing the other way!

A panel that reviews and salutes this history. “Multiple Intelligences After 35 Years: Here to Stay or Fading Away?” will be held at the ASCD Annual Conference in Boston on Saturday, March 24, at 1:30pm. Led by Branton Shearer, creator of MIDAS, the panel will include Thomas Armstrong, Jie-qi Chen, and me. Please join us!

On the next day, Sunday, March 25, I will be presenting a workshop, “The Formative Five and School Culture,” at 1:30pm. I’d love to have you stop by! As you’ll hear, The Formative Five – the Success Skills of empathy, self-control, integrity, embracing diversity, and grit – have a very strong basis in the interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences.

Finally, another way that the power of MI can be demonstrated is that the eight intelligences were referred to quite specifically in an automobile commercial for Audi! MI in Audi. Oddly, although titled “The Power of Eight: Intelligence That Drives You!” the advertisement never says “multiple intelligences.” But as you’ll see, they’re surely there!

Finally, there is an administrative opening for the upper school Division Head at the New City School in St. Louis (the advertisement is at the end of this newsletter). New City began implementing MI in 1988, and continues as the longest standing MI school. If you believe in MI and if you’d like to consider working at an MI school as a Division Head, shoot an email to Alexis Wright, the head of school.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, and I hope to see you in Boston.


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