A New Vision for Teachers

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.

Multiple Intelligences

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,

JEA Secretary