There seems to be a continuum of intelligence testing that goes on the one extreme of the Stanford-Binet intelligence test (IQ) to the information processing theories to Sternberg’s triarchic theory of intelligence and ending with Gardner’s multiple intelligences (Bee & Boyd, 2010). The standard IQ test only measures the intellectual and academic dimensions of intelligence and Gardner’s multiple intelligences proposes eight separate domains of intelligence, each with their strategies for measurement. On this continuum the teacher went so far as to employ the precepts of Sternberg’s triatric theory of intelligence, but not so far as to try and cover Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. I observed the class on a Friday, so it was test day. There was a comprehension test and a spelling test. Both tests specifically gauge intellectual ability to the absence of any type of measure about practical or creative intelligence. However, after the tests the students were asked to color, cut out, and paste a large caterpillar to their folders (creative), and then the teacher had a story time where the class talked about the dangers of lightning (practical). As per Gardner’s multiple intelligences, the naturalistic and intrapersonal aspects of intelligence were those that were addressed the least in the class I observed. The class is almost entirely indoors—only having outside time at the playground—so there is no time to develop the ability to recognize patterns in nature. I think the teacher tries to compensate by covering activities that invoice nature themes, such as the lightning worksheet, but there is only so much of nature that can be studied in the air conditioning, under fluorescent lights. Also, there was very little development of intrapersonal intelligence. The teacher mostly relied on consequences as a means to control behavior, rarely trying to develop the personal strengths and goals of the students. I think that the application of Sternbergs’ triarchic theory is extremely practical. Public school already attempts to cover all three domains of intelligence through the use of band, athletics, music, art, workshop, and work-study programs. I think that some of the areas of Gardner’s multiple intelligences might be outside the prevue of public education, such as naturalistic intelligence or intrapersonal intelligence. Both of these areas of intelligence require a large investment of time to develop properly and require special circumstance to be implemented adequately. For instance, a naturalistic education would include a lot of time in nature itself, which goes again the classroom environment of current-day education. Also, intrapersonal development requires quite a bit of alone time to think, which is not readily available in a classroom setting. There appear to be two forces at work when discussing the application of information processing: 1) innate ability; 2) acquired knowledge (Bee & Boyd, 2010). So, a large volume of acquired knowledge can compensate for a lower IQ, but only to a point. An expert with a higher IQ will still performance better than an expert with a middle or low IQ. As this applies to student learning, children with lower IQs, and therefore less effective and efficient strategies for processing information—must acquire a largely body of information on a given subject before they can perform as well on testing as students who have higher IQs. Information processing theory also explains that, “…children are born with some basic, inborn cognitive strategies [that] change during the early years of life, with more complex ones emerging and old ones being used more flexibly” (Bee & Boyd, 2010, p. 197). The text goes on to explain that as adolescents engage more in a particular activity, say building blocks, they develop more complex and efficient ways of accomplishing their creative goals. The classroom environment should foster the development of these complex...
References: Bee, H., & Boyd, D. (2010). The developing child (12th ed.) Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal. New York, NY: Pearson Prentice Hall.
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