What comes to your mind when you hear the word intelligent? Probably someone with a high IQ, someone who’s really good at math, has an eidetic memory and can come up with a solution to everything, right?
Do we have a lot of them? Nope, not really. A lot of them died unknown, some got Nobel prizes, admirers from all over the world and loads of pictures in our course books and probably some framed photos on walls. But is that all there is to intelligence?
Contrary to the popular narrative, the characteristics we label as “intelligent” are just one or two forms of intelligence, unlike what we love to adhere to; there are multiple forms of intelligence that is found amongst the human population. Proposed by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner, the theory of multiple intelligence states that there are actually EIGHT types of intelligence. These are;
- musical-rhythmic intelligence,
- visual-spatial intelligence,
- verbal-linguistic intelligence,
- logical-mathematical intelligence,
- bodily-kinesthetic intelligence,
- interpersonal intelligence,
- intra-personal intelligence, and
- naturalistic intelligence
Gardner argues that since human beings have different minds it would be unfair to try and train them in the same way. By doing this we’re telling the children “if you think like this; great, if not, we don’t have a place for you on this train.” He further states that we need a system which is inclusive and deals with this wonderful diversity in an adequate manner.
Not everyone is supposed to be good at our universal favorite logical mathematical intelligence and the sooner we swallow this pill, the better.
Our education system is competing with some countries for the worst possible education system around the world and not just that we have the gifts of corruption and lack of law and order as a cherry on the top. What we should be doing instead is trying to polish not one but all kinds of bits of intelligence and prizing all equally as all are significant.
The first step towards that would be to recognize and accept the fact that not everyone has to be good at math and logic. We have different minds and hence different aptitudes.
Let’s try and make this life an enjoyable journey for all who embark on it, instead of imposing systems on them which are not what they are good at or would have a chance of making a mark in.