Multiple intelligences (MI) theory leads to a personalized Education, preparing the student for real life, according to their individual skills.
Even though all students are different, with distinct minds and intellect, the reality is that schools have traditionally chosen to adopt a singular style of learning. Standard educational practice has been based on or given priority to linguistic and logical-mathematical capabilities, leading to the evaluation of students based solely on these criteria, leaving other areas of intelligence neglected. In the same way, these two types of intelligence have come for the most part to dominate the curriculum. According to the theory of Howard Gardner, whom we interview on the subsequent page, the traditional concept of intelligence is very limited. He defends the existence of multiple intelligences (see table), all of which are important, and that the school should consider a balanced approach in order for the children to develop their unique individual capacities. He has also speculated the existence of other possible types of intelligence: the existential “intelligence of great questions”, and according to him; pedagogic intelligence, “that which permits individuals to transmit abilities and knowledge to others”. Howard Gardner, who was given the Prince of Asturias award for Social Sciences in Oviedo (Asturias, Spain) in 2011, defines intelligence not as an unchanging, innate capacity, but as something that can be developed by stimulation. This is where the teacher’s role comes into play, not only requiring an intimate theoretical knowledge, but also keen observation of the student in order to draw an all-encompassing vision of each child and how their multiple intelligences can be developed.
The infant stage is key.
According to Montserrat del Pozo, expert in educational innovation and previously director of “Montserrat” College in Barcelona, “during the first six years of life conditions are the most favourable, as the mind is disposed to developing to its full potential, and it is in this key stage that sensorial stimulation should begin”. In fact, according to Del Pozo, this stage lies at the heart of future academic success and the prevention of failure for the students. Gardner comments that brilliance in mathematics or linguistics, those two areas most favoured by traditional Education, are not sufficient for development in life. That is to say, one can be excellent at making mental calculations, but if they cannot relate to people, they will certainly fall short in their professional and personal lives. In short, it involves transmitting a teaching for life. According to Montserrat del Pozo, infantile Education can range from the immersion in a third language, to learning personal and social skills, through to mathematics, chess, experiments, reading and writing skills, meta-cognition, understanding of people and nature, information technology, art workshops, music and theatre, development of the five senses, and psychomotor skills.
The teacher, a guide.
A new role is required of the teacher, not to be solely a transmitter of knowledge, but to play the role of guide for the students. According to Montserrat del Pozo, “the teacher has become a Sherpa, who accompanies and guides each student up the mountain, but cannot climb for them”. Del Pozo emphasizes the success in the performance of each child: “This individualized Education leads each student to pave their own path in learning, each child can pick their preferred methodology, in order to develop their understanding of the curriculum, and this aspect will both make them satisfied with their work and inspire them to continue learning and advancing”. Project-based learning provides students with opportunities to improve their understanding of concepts and abilities in the service of new goals, mainly for the purpose of preparing themselves for adult life, all in favor of interdisciplinary activities that motivate the student over a long timeframe, as opposed to the typical short or stand alone lessons.