Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Adding an "s" to Intelligence

Dr. Debra Pickering talks about one of the most important occurrences in recent educational history being when Howard Gardner added an "s" to the word intelligence. Although I enveloped children having many varied learning styles long ago, I didn't have any research to back my belief. When Gardner published his works on multiple intelligences, I felt a sense of relief. I felt immediate affirmation by my practise of using a variety of instructional strategies in order to reach more students, from the one young fellow who was so physical, to the environmental learner that needed to delve into nature to make sense of his world.

The strong physical learner was so active that every time he and I conversed about the learnings, he was in constant motion. He was five years old and when the KinderKids recessed, he would be so immersed in his physical play that he would go out of his way to save a ball from entering the soccer net by diving towards it, often getting cuts and bruises and breaking his glasses - yet again. Benson was such a unique physical learner and if he would have been asked to "sit and git" he would have struggled to be successful.

The environmental learner, Donovan, was also a unique youngster who came to school immaculately dressed and went home with dirt caked to his knees, sand under his fingernails and may have had a conversation with a butterfly that day. He could become so involved in his messy work/play that he would not hear others around him.

Both of these boys needed to be honoured for the learners that they were, possibly are, in order to feel success.

One of the strategies that I used was that time outside had to be at least 30 minutes long. I refused to recess with the rest of the school and ignored bells. The students who needed less physical time, were offered books and clipboards with paper to sit and draw, write or read and I would happily sit in a shady spot to do this with them if they needed me to or requested this of me.

I feel fortunate that I have been able to stand firmly for what I believe to be so and feel that, as a society, "we worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today." (S. Tauscher)