in curricular design. And by that I mean the multiple intelligences of the learners and the curriculum designers.
The theory of multiple intelligences put forth by Howard Gardner (1983) has been generally accepted by educators as a more accurate portrayal of human intelligence than the traditional, general intelligence theorized by proponents of the Stanford-Binet and Weschler Intelligence scales. Human intelligence, it says, is not that simple.
Briefly, Gardner’s theory posits that each human being has a specific intelligence profile that can be measured along at least nine different dimensions of intelligence. These dimensions are: linguistic, mathematical-logical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, existential, and naturalist. The concept says that, to a greater or lesser degree, all humans posess each of the intelligences. And each individual
human possesses a unique intelligence profile. The online self-survey supplied by the class resulted in a colorful “snowflake” that depicts the taker’s unique intelligence make-up. (Mine, pictured, is high in linguistic and musical intelligence, low in logical-mathematical, and moderate in intrapersonal, spatial, and bodily-kinesthetic.)
For curriculum designers to create courses that ignore all of the intelligence dimensions would be tantamount to only teaching students who come from specific races or ethnic backgrounds–it would be to effectively deny their 14th amendment rights to equal protection rights, specifically their rights to a high quality public education guaranteed under state law. It would thus be actionable. Since the composition of each class in a school is unique, so the overall distribution of intelligences in any given classroom is unique. A teacher is well-advised to assess in advance his students’ intelligence in order to align curricular activities with his their learning styles. In creating curricular activities, designers should allow for students operating in their areas of relative intellectual “strength” to receive course credit. But there might also be encouragement for students to attempt what Eisner calls “expressive outcomes” in areas of intelligence they do not currently possess.
Finally, it is useful for educators to be aware of their own intelligence “constellations,” so that they may guard against creating self-serving curricula that align with their own, and possibly not students’ intelligences. I know I can get carried away in music and literature, and lose the non verbal-linguistic and musical students who are my responsibility.