Posts tagged Howard Gardner

Insights about Multiple Intelligences in KZ (Part II)

More insights from my students after listening to a guest lecturer talk about something that is close to my heart.  I remember having a student in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan while I was teaching at the very first year of AUCA.  His name was Stas and he was NOT a very good student, but he WAS a very good classical piano player.  Once I found out that he had other strengths in other intelligences, I had grace towards Stas.  The same could be said of some of my slouchy footballers, who weren’t good students in my classroom but they were stars on the soccer field.  As a teacher, I like multiple intelligences because it embraces the students as a whole person and not just testing them on their reading, writing and math scores.  Here are three more insights from my adult learner students about Josh’s talk:

Student #4 – Okay, so we had Josh to talk to us and I actually made a long and thorough and good comment on it, but Moodle decided it was wrong and even did not do me favor to save a draft!
He talked a lot. And he talked long. Much information was given, but still I think he tried to express two main opinions about MI.
First, I took intelligences wrong. For example, If it says you are musical intelligent it doesn’t necessarily you have to like music. And if you like music very much it doesn’t mean you are musical smart.
Second, multiple intelligence is not learning style. If you have 5 minutes test and you have totally different result from what you expected, well it yet is not the end of world and you are not sentenced to live along only with your good intelligences. I like what he said: “Multiple intelligence is the beginning of learning, not the end.
From his words I was impressed when he said “This is not what we are doing at schools. This is not what we do in general. Even at UCL at NU. We do not work on students’ strengths, but on weaknesses.” Indeed, I also accentuate ss’ weak sides and I am much worried about that and work much on that rather than strengths. So I think this is a part of discussion I have to get back as I want to be a perfect teacher.
As for Josh’s talk. I had a bad headache afterward, because I was trying hard to follow him. I felt myself as a student at a very difficult lecture as he was talking about something I am not really good at. But anyway, I think he did great job with MI. Thing I liked most is his smile. He was smiling and this was special. His smile was “a process, rather than an event.”
As for using the MI at my teaching, I think the books he left could be of great help to me [hint ] in shaping something out.


Student #5 I was convinced one more time that I’m a very privileged student to have such a wonderful teacher who invites ex-pat guests as often as it is possible. And we learn a lot from these speakers. Today we had one UCL teacher speaking on Multiple Intelligences. The time went so fast, I really liked the class. While listening to him I realized that I had an unclear, or let me say incorrect idea about this conception. A few days ago I wrote about the results of my MI (Multiple Intelligence) test and made an incorrect decision. As far as I learned today a man can’t be perfect in every intelligence, or judge like: “If I can move my body quickly or very often I should have high scores in Bodily/Kinesthetic intelligence”. Or “If I can’t sing or play musical instruments I’m not musical”. That’s not right. Intelligence is not a skill or ability. And I should advise the teachers not to confuse the intelligences with learning style. Learning style is passive, as our guest said, and the intelligence – active. What I liked the most is that the teachers should pay attention on the strength of the students and work on in it, but not at the weaknesses, as we do. The weakness of a student must be improved using his strength. That’s the point of MI! That’s the answer of many of my questions. And I think our new skill, like Nazarbayev Intellectual School, are relying on this theory. The students there do a lot of project works, design some things like bridges, machines. And the teachers there really appreciate the interest of a student and try to improve. At least some teachers that I know act like this. And this makes me happy. Wew! So many ideas! So many interesting things that I can use while teaching! I really grateful to my teacher. No one is lucky in the world as I am and my group mates are!


Student #6 – I got to know that there are several intelligences. I tried to pass the IQ test on line, but it was so nervous (because of timing) and so long (perhaps it checked my patience J ) But I did not remember my result, only that it was not high or low. But when I answered the Multiple Intelligence test I did not notice how much time it took. It was quick and easy to answer. But I was not sure which variant was better and suitable for me. They could be differently interpreted. I tried to answer honestly and I agree with the result. I have known my strengths and weaknesses. It did not surprise me strongly. I wanted to read more practical ideas how to use these results and how to improve some intelligences (if I really need it). I suppose that such test can be very useful for senior students to choose what profession is better to choose. Because there is a list of occupations which are more suitable.

Josh’s talk was really interesting and important for us, teachers. The most I like was a thought that we should not panic or worry if we had a low score in any intelligence. It can be considered as a normal phenomenon. We are people, NOT robots.

Before using this MI info with my own students, I must make them have this test. But I am not sure that they can do it by themselves. And so it is great to have a little interview and do the test together with a child explaining every question at the beginning. After four month’s teaching I can say about my students with the help of trial-and-error technique. I wasted time to get to know them better. This test should be conducted while entering school. Sometimes I communicate with students’ curators to know more information about them. It is more effective to teach if you know whoa re your students, what they like doing, what they prefer doing in spare time


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Insights about Multiple Intelligences in Kazakhstan

I’ve been interested in this theory by Howard Gardner for some time.  I gave this inventory to Ukrainian teachers at the Linguistics University in Kyiv, Ukraine about ten years ago and thought they would all be high in linguistic intelligences.  Turns out they were high in music instead.  Typically students who take this Muliple Intelligence inventory come out high in InTERpersonal whereas teachers usually are high in inTRApersonal, as I am.  Of course, those good in sports will be high in kinesthetic and others who prefer numbers over words will be high in logic and math.  A new one that I haven’t paid to much attention to is Naturalist.  I’ll let my adult learner students share their insights about themselves after a fellow American talked about Multiple Intelligences in our classroom the other day.

Student #1 – Josh Lange is one of the teachers at our university, who came to our class today to represent us his presentation on Multiple Intelligence. Most of his talk is written in the 21 page reading we have read before he came. Even though we have read the 21 page reading there were still a lot to learn from him and understand MI better. I really liked the way Josh spoke because of his positive reaction and atmosphere he created in the classroom was very good, and the speech itself was clear enough to understand him, and his words of praise towards our teacher Kristina. However, the best that I liked about MI is that its purpose is not to define your weaknesses, but to define strengths. And then to make those strengths work for the benefits of the world. Unfortunately, now it is hard for me to think of the ways to use MI with my own students, but I think I will work on it as it is very essential especially when they are still very young

Student #2 – There were so much information given by Josh, which were useful and interesting to use. The most important thing for me was the assessment criteria, which is really show our students’ multiple intelligence. Sometimes it is very difficult to assess the students’ MI. And I think this assessment criteria will give me an idea how to assess my students.
I liked his speech, it was fantastic. For a short time he could introduce his work informatively. Also, he could work with us, no one was apart. I especially liked when we worked in pairs describing who my pair is. Everything was understandable and clear for me. May be because he was speaking about teaching and learning processes.
I’ m sure using MI will encourage all students to know themselves, who really they are. Moreover, adults could do it themselves and it would be a good topic for discussion, as Josh did with us.
So, I would like to say that any new things should be used with good preparation, not like if we don’t know MI ourselves and make our students do this. It requires analysis to do first by ourselves, then to experiment it with students.

Student #3 – Today we had a quest speaker from UCL to talk about multiple intelligences. As usual we were glad to see him in our classroom. Multiple intelligences was a new thing I learnt from our PDP teacher. When I studied at the institute I read something about it, but I didn’t pay so much attention to it, because it was not emphasized so much to use it with my future students. Actually, if I wasn’t introduced to it by Kristina and Josh, I wouldn’t come to it myself. Now I am glad to know more about MI than my teachers at the institute and at school as well.

I learned many new tings from Josh’s talk, but the most interesting info for me was implication of multiple intelligences to practice. It is good if you have an idea of students’ intelligences, it is better to put what you know into practice. A few days before Josh gave us URL to define our MI and 21 page reading to get deeper understanding of MI basics. In addition, we had him to speak in front of us and ask our questions. In what Josh gave us to read I read MI theory, IQ and eight intelligences, but today we found out one more intelligence, that is called existential – existence intelligence. In the beginning of his presentation Josh pointed out to three intelligences out of nine, that can be tested at school: verbal, logical and numerical reasoning. As a matter of fact, Gradner, a scientist, who investigated intelligences so much says that there are eight and a half intelligences.

During our conversation, I noticed that we called intelligences ‘skills’, ‘interests’, and even ‘abilities’. However, Josh explained that the word ‘ability’ cannot replace “intelligence’, because we have capabilies IN intelligences.
Further, Josh assured us that we shouldn’t take our results in MI test seriously and definitive for as Gardner said “No definite intelligence profile exist. And ther is no need for them.”

Once you know the intelligences your students possess you can easily use the results to organize your lesson plans. It helps to find appropriate activity for your students. And one more thing that Josh told us about is that your lowest score in a definite intelligence. If you are weak in musical intelligences, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t study music. MI test is only a tool that helps to define your intelligences.
Once you give MI test to the students, you can find out their weaknesses and strengths. And here is an interesting moment: what do teachers usually do? If they know that a students is good at Maths, they give them more and more mathematical tasks to further develop their ability. However, once you have your student’s intelligences in your hands, you should focus your attention on thei weaknesses. That is what Westerners do with their students. They focus on weaknesses to turn them into strengths. It is a very good approach to cope with weak poins of the students. In this way a teacher is capable of balancing their multiple intelligences.

Concerning the implication of MI to practice, every teacher should know that MI can be used in any context. MI cannot be used in isolation from each other.
That is what i got from Josh’s 1 hour speech. His speech is very understandable and his language is clear. He is young and lively, and he has a good sense of humor. His body language is very “sociable”, what he did and didn’t say he showed it with gestures. After Josh’s talk, I think we found out answer how to use it in the classroom. For me I am for trying it with NIS students and try to put into as soon as possible.

(to be continued)

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Fourth Movie and Howard Gardner’s “Five Minds”

I’m up early with my jetlag here in Boston. I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog that I watched a fourth movie starring Matt Damon in “The Informant.” Must have been a sleeper movie for me since I didn’t even remember to add it to the list of movies I watched on my Lufthansa flight coming to Boston.  The theme of this satirical comedy based on a real life story has something to do with ethics and respect, something that Howard Gardner talked about last night.

Backing up a bit, I am really enjoying this TESOL conference in Boston thus far. I have a mile and half walk from my hotel to the big conference center and met some nice people in the research session I attended all day yesterday. I also won a book in a raffle, added bonus! Unfortunately, I haven’t hooked up with my friends I want to see yet who have come to Boston from parts scattered throughout the U.S.  I have to make a concerted effort to do so.  One must use great strategy to find people in the mass of 8,000 gathered ESL/EFL teachers.  Last night I saw the biggest crowd ever for the first plenary session with Harvard’s own Howard Gardner.  He is a TESOL favorite because he wrote a book years ago that many educators have read about “multiple intelligences.”  Funny, erudite and self-deprecating.

The following is what Howard Gardner said about “Five Minds for the Future” he is famous for coming up with multiple intelligences (logic/math, music, spatial, emotional, interpersonal, intrapersonal, bodily/kinesthetic, naturalist).

Here’s Gardner’s latest titled “The Five Minds”

1)   Disciplined mind – working steadily to improve oneself, becoming an expert, learn major ways of thinking (historic, artistic, scientific, mathematic)

2)   Synthesizer mind – Early philosophers such as Aristotle, Aquinas or Augustine.  One has to decide what to pay attention to.  Need to have criteria, how does all the information make sense to me.  We need to develop a course called “Synthesis 101” for teachers and students, so much information in our digital age that is largely undigested and unevaluated, we must teach students to synthesize.

3)   Creative mind – Einstein and Virginia Wolff, these two synthesized what is known in the box itself, but they went beyond that.  They thought of good questions and new questions.  Mastering one or more disciplines using the 10 year rule

Begin being a master at something when you are young.  Ultimate judgment of the field.  Take on new things and be willing to fail, but one must have a robust and iconoclastic temperament thinking “I regard every defeat as an opportunity.” One can say, “It didn’t work out, now what?”  Back in our formative days, failure was tolerated.  One Chinese student asked Gardner “give me the 23 steps in order on how to be creative.”  Creativity is messy and not orderly!

Gardner wrote “To Open Minds” in mid-1980s.  IN China discipline is very good but not creative.  Whereas now in the U.S. we have a desire to be creative but don’t have the discipline or mastery of the discipline.

Depth = Discipline

Breadth = Synthesize

Stretch = Creativity

The next two minds are how we deal with fellow human beings

4)   Respectful minds – diversity is a fact of life, at home and abroad that goes beyond mere tolerance.  We need to understand others’ perspectives.  The motivation is emotional and interpersonal intelligence.  There is an inappropriateness of “corporate, top-down model” for schools and even corporations

5)   Ethical minds – Higher level of abstraction than respectful mind

Conceptualizing oneself as a (good) worker

Conceptualizing oneself as a (good) citizen

Acting appropriately in both roles

How things play out in the community (like school)

The Three “E”s of a Good worker

1)   excellent, expert

2)   Ethical, socially responsible, moral

3)   Engaging, meaningful, intrinsically motivated

Instead of DNA he showed a triple helix model with the three “E”s Excellence, Ethics and Engagement

“We respect those persons who behave ethically.”

Last response we have is shame (wish I had written more on this because it relates to Kazakhstan but Gardner was running out of time)

Howard Gardner had much more to say and went through his slides so quickly that I was doing like many in the audience around me, I was taking photos of his slides for later review.  Here’s an example.  I now wish I had taken a photo of Gardner on the stage and showing the size of the audience behind me.

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