As part of our NGO effort to improve teaching and learning in schools at the Buduburam Refugee Settlement here in Ghana, a workshop was conducted on Intelligence and Multiple Intelligence concept of Teaching and Learning. Forty One (41) teachers and parents from schools, Educational Board of Buduburam were invited in a random fashion to participate, however, only ten (10) turn up.

The workshop thrown adequate light in the erstwhile chronic problem of thousands of children, especially in deprived sub-Saharan Africa becoming dead-end kids just because  their hidden intelligence have not yet been discovered by their parents and Teachers or been provided with enough room to sprout and provide opportunity for their vessels to grown into useful instruments of development in society.

The workshop was able to highlight the role of parents and Teachers, who are incidentally the primary players in the process of child development. It included efforts by them to identify and appreciate the Career-Specific Intelligence that has been laid dormant in our children.

It was observed that, many at time, Parents vision of their children do not match their children’s career-Specific Intelligence, whereupon such scenarios have resulted in many children not been adequately supported to emerge as success stories in society.

The Workshop therefore created a situation where participants, most of whom happened to be teachers, were able to see their own failings in the past as human resources developers and their individual evaluations of the exercise tells the rest of the story.

The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. These intelligences are:

  • Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”)
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)
  • Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)
  • Musical intelligence (“music smart”)
  • Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)
  • Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)
  • Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)

Dr. Gardner says that our schools and culture focus most of their attention on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. We esteem the highly articulate or logical people of our culture. However, Dr. Gardner says that we should also place equal attention on individuals who show gifts in the other intelligences: the artists, architects, musicians, naturalists, designers, dancers, therapists, entrepreneurs, and others who enrich the world in which we live. Unfortunately, many children who have these gifts don’t receive much reinforcement for them in school. Many of these kids, in fact, end up being labeled “learning disabled,” “ADD (attention deficit disorder,” or simply underachievers, when their unique ways of thinking and learning aren’t addressed by a heavily linguistic or logical-mathematical classroom.

The theory of multiple intelligences proposes a major transformation in the way our schools are run. It suggests that teachers be trained to present their lessons in a wide variety of ways using music, cooperative learning, art activities, role play, multimedia, field trips, inner reflection, and much more (see Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, 4th ed.). The good news is that the theory of multiple intelligences has grabbed the attention of many educators around the country, and hundreds of schools are currently using its philosophy to redesign the way it educates children. The bad news is that there are thousands of schools still out there that teach in the same old dull way, through dry lectures, and boring worksheets and textbooks. The challenge is to get this information out to many more teachers, school administrators, and others who work with children, so that each child has the opportunity to learn in ways harmonious with their unique minds (see In Their Own Way).

Ideally, when the environment is prepared by Government, Parents and Teachers who complete the trio of the Natural Human Resource Developers of every country, take over the responsibility to take the children through the process of development from childhood to adulthood.

The results of what Parents and teachers do, taking into account their individual differences and biases, have to a large extent, contributed to the various levels of development we see in human communities around the world. Some are highly industrialized and rich; some are moderately industrialized and partially dependent on the good will of other communities to give them support.

Others, like most in Sub-Saharan Africa, are abysmally poor and primarily dependent on handouts from the developed world. One of the reasons for these differences is because when children start schooling, (which is a cross roads in the lives of most human beings), the ambitious parent whose objective is to have his son be  a Medical  doctor,  sees no alternative for him but to be a Medical doctor. This objective is pursued single-mindedly and without regards to the child’s peculiarity as an individual who has a career-specific intelligence. In such a case, if the child happens to carry intelligence for spatial design, he will be doomed to being denied the support he needs from his parents to become a successful.

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