Who wants Brinjal Curry every day?

Suppose your mother cooks good Bringal curry. Now the only problem is that she makes it every day. Yes, every day the same Brinjal curry. Ahhhhhh! Who wants Bringal curry EVERY DAY.

Now tell me who is more intelligent: C V Raman, M F Husain, A R Rehman, Sachin Tendulkar, or Mahatma Gandhi. “Its not fair. You really can’t compare such geniuses”. True but still, who is the most intelligent? “Each one is differently intelligent”. In which case, why do we have such a fixation of HOW MUCH a child is intelligent. Isn’t it more important to find out HOW a child is intelligent. Is the extent more important, or “in-which-way” is more important.

In 1983, through his book “Frames of Mind: The theory of Multiple Intelligence”, (MI) Howard Gardner, challenges the notion that intelligence is singular. Since we are all different, we are also differently intelligent. And the moment I know ‘how I am intelligent’ it is easier for me to excel in that field – in terms of learning, specialization and potential career. In fact IQ tests, etc., tend to look at intelligence in one dimension only. The moment we consider a child good in music at par with a child good in maths, at par with a child good in sports, at par with a child good in making friends and dealing with others – we open up a new vista of opportunities for children to succeed.

Multiple Intelligence (MI) looks at Intelligence in seven ways: If you’re good at reading, writing, telling stories you are Linguistically Intelligent. However if use your body through sports, dancing, acting, crafts, tools, etc then you are Bodily-KinestheticIntelligent. Somebody good at visualizing, designing, painting, arranging, etc., isVisually Intelligent. WhileMath-Logically Intelligent people are strong in logic, reasoning, problem solving, analytic thinking, etc., Musically Intelligent people show talent in singing, playing instruments, rhythms, composing, etc.

Two Intelligences given prominence for the first time wereInterpersonalIntelligence which is about relating to other people – leading, organising, communicating, selling, etc., andIntrapersonalIntelligence which is about understanding self, setting goals, philosophizing, meditating, etc.

So what do all these seven intelligences lead us to – specially as teachers and educators.

One – Acceptance
Once we acknowledge that there are more than one ways of being intelligent, we start acceptingeach child as uniquely intelligent. If the measurement and comparison on the scale of intelligence is removed, rather an effort is made to identify the child’s unique strengths, the boost she gets in terms of self esteem and self confidence is immeasurable. What happens to the child who sits at the back row and almost always sings but scorns at maths. The moment he is ALSO accepted as intelligent the teacher as well as the child’s approach towards learning changes.

Two – All round development
Today’s is a world which demands multiple skills from successful people. Early exposure to all intelligences automatically leads to a more comprehensive development for the child. Which means that the best learning environment will have learning opportunities for the children around all the multiple intelligences.

Three: Accelerated Learning
Consider this: Whatever the child needs to learn if each child can learn in the child’s most preferred intelligence then wouldn’t he learn best? Hence the most efficient way of learning would happen if a singer can learn through music, a dancer through movement, a visual through painting, a intrapersonal through interacting with others.

So how do you teach your child – do you teach him the way you learned (your intelligence) orcan you customise and teach through your child’s intelligence. Think of adding some spices, changing some ingredients and presenting the Brinjal Curry differently – so that its suddenly more fun to eat!

Lets take the example of Digestive system to illustrate.

Linguistic Intelligence:Letter writing – child becomes one organ and writes a letter to the heart – explaining why that organ is the most important. Alternatively children can also form fun rhymes on each organ or the whole system.

Kinesthetic Intelligence:Child creates a small play based on one of them entering the digestive system to investigate some malfunction in the system. They may also make clay models or 3-D models of the different organs.

Visual Intelligence:Child can redraw the complete digestive system and food journey in form of cartoons.

Mathematical Intelligence:Child can take the task of collecting as many facts in form of figures as possible about each organ (e.g.: size, duration of food, amount of bile, etc.) These are presented as graphs or charts.

Musical Intelligence:Take a popular song and compose a parody using the organs, their uses and the effects of malfunctioning.

Interpersonal Intelligence:Child chooses one digestive organ and debates with you (or with another child) as to why their organ is more important or more beautiful.

Intrapersonal Intelligence:Child can dream of a substitute to the digestive system. Then compare it with the current system. They can also talk about the effects of a condition on earth where suddenly we do not have to eat.

The best thing about above examples is that they require little time and effort for preparation and so much more involving to do leading them to be interested and motivated learners.

Can we make the Brinjal curry more interesting just by thinking in seven intelligences format. MI forces us to think out of box and innovate. MI forces learning to become enjoyable. MI ensures that all the children are getting to learn through their strengths. With MI we don’t eat Brinjal curry everyday!