Multiple Intelligences Newsletter, Vol 28, No 5
December 1, 2018
Greetings, MI Fans!
Will you be using your Naturalist Intelligence in the near future? Howard Gardner states that intelligence is the ability to solve problems or to create products that are valued within one or more cultural settings, and my experience is that today people give less attention to the Naturalist than other intelligences. This lack of cultural recognition is a reflection of the times in which we live.
After all, years ago your life chances were significantly diminished without a strong Naturalist intelligence. Today, in most of the world that is far less the case because we are surrounded by – engulfed in – various creature comforts. As a result, children may grow up without a real sense of nature, and that’s a loss.
In referring to how our use of the Naturalist intelligence has changed, Gardner says, “I always add that most of us don’t hunt, fish, or gather anymore to survive. But we make use of our ‘naturalist’ computational equipment when we go to the supermarket and choose one tomato over another, or look at shoes on amazon.com and decide which one pleases our taste.” Classifying, comparing, and sorting are important aspects of the Naturalist intelligence.
Our views of the Naturalist may have changed, but it remains an important problem-solving capacity, and this is shown in the following article. Arthur Culbert illustrates a wonderful way to cultivate the Naturalist Intelligence in an urban setting. More, children are contributing to their community and learning philanthropy.
Although Arthur didn’t mention it in his article, he has just written a book designed for children, A Gift Garden, that recounts these experiences! (I included a photo of the cover in his article.) Here’s a photo from the evening when Arthur and Nancy Culbert (his wife who co-authored the book, standing next to him) celebrated its publication. Also on the stage are three amazing New City School fourth-grade teachers who worked with Arthur in creating the “Giving Garden”: (L to R) Denise Willis, Mary McDevitt, and Carla Mash. (Thanks to Gary Brandenburger for this photo.) In fact, the book was featured in on a local St. Louis news show: KMOV-St. Louis Proud
Here’s another piece on the Naturalist intelligence from The Huffington Post: “Was Darwin Really A Genius?” Darwin & Naturalist (Hint: Yes!) In fact, Howard Gardner is currently thinking and writing about the “synthesizing mind,” and as this article notes, this was one of Darwin’s strengths.
Thanks for reading, and let me know what ideas or questions you may have.