August 1, 2008

How intelligent are you?

Or rather, this question should be re-phrased as, what is your type of intelligence? I am citing from the theory of multiple intelligences by Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University (1983). This theory suggest that traditional I.Q testing is too limited and there are eight different intelligences to account for human potential in children and adults.

How well a child learns may be dependent on their in-born intelligence, according to the theory of multiple intelligence. Your child may have a greater potential for learning through a combination of areas;

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")

Our local school culture focus more on the areas of linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. Thus have neglected children who show gifts in the other intelligences: the potential artists, architects, musicians, naturalists, designers, sports people, therapists, entrepreneurs, etc. So what usually happens to them? They get labelled as; a hyperactive child, not a logical thinker or child with attention deficit syndrome. Some don't ever get a chance to discover their learning styles throughout their lives and end up being buried at the bottom in the heap of worker ants in the society. Just because of the lack of academic inclination and the child is sieved out of the system for being an underachiever or just plain mediocre.

My parents sure did not have an easy time with me at school. I was probably the most challenging child for my teachers in math and chinese class (definitely not number smart). My rebellious nature also played a fairly big part in my behaviour. When I was in primary 5, i refused to study for chinese 'ting xie' or spelling tests just because I felt that it was ridiculous and a waste of my time. As a result, the stubborn mule got punished severly by her parents. Thinking back on my own childhood, I really hope that my son will not be like me, wonder if stubborness run in the genes? Well, temperament is a whole new different subject matter all together...I really should not digress.

So then, how do you determine your toddler or pre-schooler's area of intelligence? Instead of just using flashcards (which seem to be in thing with parents nowadays), consider these other ways to teach your child through this techniques :

- music and movement
- cooperative learning
- art activities
- role play
- multimedia
- sensory experiences
- field trips

Gardner suggests that virtually everyone has the capacity to develop all eight intelligences to a reasonably high level of performance, if given the appropriate encouragement, enrichment, and instruction. So you just might be nurturing a brilliant mind in the making, don't just leave it to the teachers to manage your child's cognitive development.

Kyle sure have no issues using the multimedia approach

** more on Multiple Intelligence, go to


Mockingbird said...

Wah! So small know how to use computer already ah! Looks like your son is going to be a computer whiz :)

Rachel said...

haha, he is somehow obsessed over computers and phones, a potential techie in the making