In the process of tossing pages of information that have been saved over the years, an interesting article related to intelligence appeared. It ‘s so old it is now extremely discolored, but hopefully you might find it interesting. Are you aware there are seven kinds of intelligence?
This article was written by Harvard University Psychologist Howard Gardner years ago for the U.S. News and World Report. At that time, Dr. Gardner said the two most valued forms of intelligence were linguistic and logical mathematics. People who possessed these abilities did well on tests that supposedly measured intelligence. He maintained these tests have been successful and popular because they measured how well students did in school in the short term. He thought intelligence wasn’t fixed for many years, and the earlier a strength was discovered, the more time there was to develop it.
Yet, Gardener pointed out that there were five other kinds of intelligence which were just as important. They were spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal (which is knowing how to deal with others), and intrapersonal (which is knowledge of self). He believed that not one of these ought to be considered more important than any of the others. He thought too much human potential was being wasted by focusing on only linguistic and logical mathematics. Children who took the usual IQ tests and didn’t do well were often labeled not very bright. As a result these children were not encouraged to advance to a higher level. How tragic that thinking was! Children need to be encouraged to do the best they can at all times.
After reading his thoughts about tests, I have no doubt that Dr. Gardner’s thinking was correct. When teaching, I placed little importance on the results of an IQ test. But when I had taken classes to become a teacher, one requirement was to take tests and measurements. In that class, students were required to take all kinds of tests. That was because, as future teachers, they’d be giving similar tests to their students. It appears testing always has been too important in schools in the United States.
There are many factors that can affect scores when a test is administered. They include being ill, worrying about something over which you have no control, failing to get enough sleep, skipping breakfast, being distracted by unusual sounds, having students bother others during a test, or being a member of a dysfunctional family.
As a result, I never placed too much importance on one test of a student’s ability. Some students are overachievers who do well in all the classes. Others are underachievers. They receive grades that prove that thinking. When I was teaching, often the students who excelled in language arts didn’t do well with mathematics. Those who didn’t enjoy reading or writing had little difficulty learning to add, subtract, multiply, or divide.