Multiple Intelligences Newsletter, Vol 33, No 3
November 27, 2023
Dear MI Friends,
This issue of Intelligence Connections offers thoughts from two teachers who used MI while working at New City School. No surprise, their testimony and enthusiasm speaks volumes! After all, who can speak better to the power of MI than those who taught with and through various intelligences and saw their students grow? Thanks to Eileen Griffiths and Joy Poole for sharing their experiences.
First, though, while noting that MI is not a panacea, I was struck by both what was said and what was missing in a November 18, 2023, New York Times editorial. “The Startling Evidence on Learning Loss Is In” raised alarms about the impact of Covid-19 on education. After stating that school closures “set student progress in math and reading back by two decades and widened the achievement gap that separates poor and wealthy children,” the editorial addresses student engagement. It said: “Researchers have long known that American students grow more alienated from school the longer they attend — and that they often fall off the school engagement cliff, at which point they no longer care.”
We focus on a decline in test scores, understandably, but the student engagement gap is also very concerning. I often say that we should be preparing students to succeed in life, not simply to do well in school, and students being alienated makes that much, much more difficult. Learning should be joyful! That doesn’t mean that school is easy; rather, it means that students are enjoying learning because they are succeeding. That’s where MI comes in.
When MI is used in pedagogy and assessment, students’ pathways to learning skills and gaining knowledge are increased. Students can learn by using their stronger intelligences, not only through their linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences. When this happens, children learn more and they are engaged. Using MI increases a school’s “smile quotient” and help students to become life-long learners. If we want to increase student achievement and reduce student alienation, we need to enable students to use all of their multiple intelligences in learning.
The previous issue of Intelligence Connections included reflections from Diane Davenport, New City School’s Performing Arts Teacher. This issue features thoughts from Joy Poole and Eileen Griffiths, two other New City School teachers.
What teachers say about using MI!
Joy Poole: Looking back on my years at New City School gives me such peace, as I was encouraged and supported in developing a deeper relationship with each of my students and families. I knew I was able to connect with each student as, together, we explored the eight intelligences in their school experience. That’s because information only from linguistic and logical-mathematical reviews gives us only a small snippet of a child’s depth of intelligence. To communicate in the other intelligences and set goals with the children, using them as a lens, definitely provided a clearer understanding of who they are/were and where they could continue to prosper and/or grow. In many ways, I felt like I was able to watch someone bloom while they weren’t even aware it was happening.
The intelligences that sealed them all were the personal intelligences, the intrapersonal and interpersonal. To see a child understand how they learned and grew while interacting with other children who were understanding that about themselves was priceless. It was almost like giving them another key to view their environment and relationship with themselves, peers and the world. Truly, it was a feeling of empowerment.
Eileen Griffiths: My perspective comes from my early childhood education and teaching experience. Early childhood supports the theory that we are teaching the whole child, and MI is about teaching the whole child. We observe a child for the ways they learn — hands on, watching, listening, etc. We observe their interests to engage them. What makes them laugh, does music bring them to life? Do they prefer drawing or building with blocks? Do they gravitate to specific center areas during choice time? How comfortable are they playing with others, or do they prefer to play alone? MI helps us, as educators, begin to guide and encourage students, as they begin their life journey.
They are just beginning to bloom and will grow and change in the years to come. Who they will become and finding their strengths is a long process. Using MI in educating is a process where students learn about themselves, learn to work with others, and eventually become an adult who knows who they are and what they want out of life.
Again, thanks to Eileen and Joy!
Finally, if you’d like to hear a bit about MI, check out an interview with me by Heather Rose from WROE-LP, Radio Free Roanoke:
MI – Radio Free Roanoke
Thanks so much for your interest. I’d love to hear from you!
Facilitator of the ASCD MI PIC
UM-St. Louis Scholar In Residence
ASCD PICs are member-initiated groups designed to unite people around a common area of interest in the field of education. PICs allow participants to exchange ideas, share information, identify and solve problems, grow professionally, and establish collegial relationships. You can learn about ASCD’s networks, publications, conferences, workshops, and the dialogues sponsored by ASCD at www.ascd.org. You can also register for the free, daily ASCD SmartBrief.