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New Vision for Teachers
“There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fills you with so much quail shot that you can’t move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind you jump to the skies” -- Robert Frost
It’s important for a teacher to think carefully about children, education, and how they personally intend to go about teaching. A good teacher is the one after, encouraged and provided appropriate educational programme that builds on previous learning and addresses areas of learning deficits. A teacher must, therefore, ensure that effective learning is occurring for all children. This can only be done when a teacher understands the multiple intelligences his/her students have.
The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, it is time for a new academic year. In March-April our schools will re-open with new vision and new mission for students. The challenges are many for teachers. The country is still waiting to see teaching as a vying choice for our graduates. All that is good and bad in the society is seen in the schools too. In fact, school is a miniature society. Today’s students are more distracted due to various reasons. Communication technology has brought drastic changes in the field of education. Knowledge is available to a large section of our students through Information Technology. In spite of all the digital and technological outpour of information, teachers’ role is more and more significant in who develops clear ideas about education, and confidently put what one believes into practice.
Education is concerned with the development of the whole person. It involves the student acquiring knowledge and skills, and values in the areas of intellectual, emotional, social and physical development. Today all of us are aware that education is the right of every child and the responsibility of both society and parents. A major way society fulfills this obligation is through providing schools and delegating the responsibility for children’s education to school teachers. All children are capable of learning, but each of them is unique and is different from each other in personality, experiences and learning. It is the teachers’ responsibility to try and ensure that each child is carefully looked 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:
1. Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”)
2. Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/ reasoning smart”)
3. Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)
4. Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)
5. Musical intelligence (“music smart”)
6. Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)
7. Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)
8. Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)
Dr. Gardner says that our schools and culture focus most of their attention on linguistic and Schools cannot continue and categorize children as “intelligent” based on their performance in examinations alone. Ability to perform well in a written examination alone cannot indicate that the student is intelligent.
We esteem the highly articulate or logical people of our culture. However, he says that we should also place equal attention on individuals who show gifts in the other intelligences: 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 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. 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.
A positive class room environment is an important aspect of successful schools. The teacher can foster a happy, harmonious learning situation where successful learning occurs for each child by being positive, taking children seriously, providing clear guidelines, being firm, consistent, fair, taking into account individual needs, and having an interesting, well organized programme. Many so called schools assess their success only on the basis of cognitic or intellectual development of the children. Today the craving is for IITs and IIMs. However, they forget that there are other areas one can succeed. If intelligence alone is enough one can use a computer or even develop a mind like world’s notorious criminals. In fact, intelligence coupled with character must be the aim of every school and teacher. According to Gardner, “intelligence entails the ability to solve problems or fashion products that are of consequence in a particular cultural setting”. Recent discoveries about the nature of human intelligence and its limits have literally “blown the lid off” all previous understanding of humanity and its potentials. Intelligence is not a fixed thing at birth. It can be enhanced with a positive environment. It is not only changeable but also be taught to others. Intelligence is a multiple reality that occurs in different parts of the brain/mind system. Teaching is an art as well as a science. For a teacher teaching is a complex activity that requires the right blend of human skills, managerial skills and scientific skills of teaching to be executed by the teacher in and out of the classroom. Perhaps here are a few inputs for all the teachers for this new academic year to practice:
* Creating an interesting and stimulating class room.
* Developing a positive relationship with individual students.
* Developing a positive class tone and a class identity.
* Maintain an orderly, well managed class.
* Avoid negative punishments.
* Make sure that effective learning occurring for all in the class.
Happy teaching includes: a sense of humour, a positive attitude, consistency, fairness, flexibility, and class room control. Schools cannot continue and categorize children as “intelligent” based on their performance in examinations alone. Ability to perform well in a written examination alone cannot indicate that the student is intelligent. Score in a test does not define who we are. So should we continue to follow our old system to categorizes students intelligent or not, based on a test? In summary, a teacher can foster a happy, harmonious learning situation where successful learning occurs for each child by being positive, taking children seriously, providing clear guidelines, being firm, consistent and fair taking into consideration of individual unique way of learning.
Sunny Jacob SJ,