February 22, 2010
I enjoy writing these letters and looking ahead at the week to come. It is with anticipation of the learning, spending time with our children and the joy of being a teacher that excites me most each week.
It was wonderful meeting with all of you last week. It is always nice to have the time to sit down and celebrate with you. I am very appreciative of all of the support and love that I witness coming from you. We have very blessed children in 5D! Thank you for making the time to come in and share.
As we finish our last week in February, we are beginning a new unit. In science, we will be studying the brain and the nervous system. I love this unit because it allows me to integrate the Multiple Intelligences from Howard Gardner into our studies. This is one of my favorite things to discuss and explore with children. “The essence of the Multiple Intelligence theory is to respect the many differences among people, the multiple variations in the ways that they learn, the several modes by which they can be assessed, and the most infinite number of ways in which they can leave a mark on the world (Gardner 1994).”
This notion of “many kinds of minds” is often thought of as a progressive theory toward learning. Gardner also suggests, “It is the utmost importance that we recognize and nurture all of the varied human intelligences, and all of the combinations of intelligences. We are all so different largely because we all have different combinations of intelligences. If we recognize this, he (I) thinks we will have at least a better chance of dealing appropriately with the many problems that we face in the world.”
The theory suggests that intelligence has more to do with solving problems and fashioning products in a context-rich and naturalistic setting than the traditional intelligence assessments were designed to identify. Thomas Armstrong adds support to the theory by the notion of a “paralyzing experience” that occurs when the intelligences aren’t being used properly, the complement of this being a “crystallizing experience” where intelligences are being used.
In Multiple Intelligences and Student Achievement, Linda and Bruce Campbell share examinations of success stories from six different schools using the multiple intelligences. They say that…”gains are possible even though the teachers do not teach to the test. Instead, they believe that all students come to believe in themselves as well. Moreover, teachers have discovered that instruction through MI is so positive and engaging that students – all students- can’t help but learn.”
Assessment needs to be authentic, many evaluations are based on experiences that are often accomplished through taking a person out of his natural learning environment and asking him to do isolated tasks that he’d never done before and probably would never choose to do again.
The MI theory encourages the celebration of students’ products through a variety of opportunities and outcomes. The change I am going to make in our classroom is one of documentation and assessment through the multiple intelligences. I want to encourage our children to demonstrate their competency in a number of ways, which will have meaning and value for them.
I will focus on individualized growth progress rather than comparing them to each other or other students. This whole approach is very appealing as valuing the humanistic qualities of our children are a priority for me. Celebrating and nurturing them is the key. This theory integrates character education beautifully and fits very well with my teaching style of honoring the individual. I am aware of the “big, bad” views and fears of tests our children have so this lends itself to inspire children to live into the possibilities of success rather than limiting them to failure in unmet expectations.
I am excited to begin this work with our children.
Please note that there will be no school on Friday.
Ms. Amy Branch
About the Blogger
Ever since I was a child, I wanted to travel the world and to make a difference in other people's lives. I truly didn't believe I would become a teacher though; however, I am so glad that I am 5D's teacher! I am originally from Washington state but have enjoyed living in both West Africa and Lebanon. I am very blessed to have lived such an incredible life thus far.
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