GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY
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VOLUME FIFTEEN, NUMBER FOUR
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MEMBERS OF NATIONAL ADVISORY PANEL
Dr. James Delisle -- Professor and Co-Director of SENG, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Dr. Jerry Flack --Univ. Of Colorado-Colorado Springs
Dr. Howard Gardner -- Professor, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Ms. Diane D. Grybek -- Supervisor of Secondary Gifted Programs (Retired), Hillsborough County Schools, Tampa, Florida
Ms. Dorothy Knopper -- Publisher, Open Space Communications, Boulder, Colorado
Mr. James LoGiudice -- Director, Program and Staff Development, Bucks County, Pennsylvania Intermediate Unit No. 22 and Past President of the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education
Dr. Mary Meeker -- President of SOI Systems, Vida, Oregon
Dr. Adrienne O'Neill - Chief Education Officer, Timken Regional Campus, Canton, Ohio
Dr. Stephen Schroeder-Davis -- Coordinator of Gifted Programs, Elk River, Minnesota Schools and Past President of the Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented
Dr. Bruce Shore -- Professor and Director, Giftedness Centre, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Ms. Joan Smutny -- Professor and Director, Center for Gifted, National-Louis University, Evanston, Illinois
Dr. Virgil S. Ward -- Emeritus Professor of Gifted Education, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
Dr. Colleen Willard-Holt - Associate Professor, Penn State University, Harrisburg
Ms. Susan Winebrenner -- Consultant, Brooklyn, Michigan
Dr. Ellen Winner - Professor, Boston College
Best wishes for a successful 2001-2002 school year! During the last several years, I have observed the following increasing interests among parents, teachers and administrators: (1) Early childhood programs for young gifted children. Although most school districts do not usually identify children for gifted programs until the second or third grade, the need for more stimulating primary programs in grades K-2 is obvious when talking with parents and early childhood educators. In the Spring 2001 issue of GEPQ, Susan Grammer presented an excellent article on some of the problems that parents face in obtaining a stimulating public school program for their young gifted children. We welcome more articles on this topic.
(2) Challenging mathematics and science books and materials. Unfortunately, this has been the weakest area of our publishing activities, primarily because we have received few inquiries from qualified authors.. We currently publish three books that address some of the issues related to teaching mathematics and science to gifted children: Bright Child (1999) by Lynn Fox and Andrea Prejean, Earth, Wind and Sky (1994) by William Glenn, and Dare to Differentiate (2000) by Brendan Miller and Colleen Willard-Holt.
(3) Guides for homeschooling the gifted. Although most parents of the gifted want their children to receive an appropriate public school education, increasing numbers prefer to engage in homeschooling. There are few teaching materials or guides that can help these parents to effectively educate their gifted children at home. Gifted Education Press has been fortunate to publish Gifted Education Comes Home (2000) by Lisa Rivero, an outstanding writer and homeschooler.
Multiple Intelligences theory as applied to identifying and educating the gifted has produced much controversy among teachers, administrators and parents. Fortunately, there have been a few level-headed approaches such as Applying Multiple Intelligences to Gifted Education (1998, GEP) by Colleen Willard-Holt and Dan Holt. In this issue of GEPQ, we present a practical discussion of the MI topic by Lynn Fox (Dean, School of Education, American University) and two of her colleagues -- Sarah Belson and Deborah Thompson. This article presents a rational and well-planned approach to using the MI framework for training teachers to educate the gifted. The second article by Joseph Grispino is a discussion of his new book, Chats with Gifted Students on Life Ahead (2001). Interesting comments by Charlton Heston and Dr. Ben Carson provide insights into their giftedness, and Michael Walters writes about Eudora Welty and Larry McMurtry.
Maurice D. Fisher, Ph.D., Publisher
Click below to locate the article you want to read first:
1. Explanation of a rigorous Multiple Intelligences model for training teachers of the gifted by Lynn Fox, Sarah Irvine Belson and Deborah L. Thompson.
2. Discussion of a new philosophy book for gifted students by the author, Joseph A. Grispino.
3. Comments from Charlton Heston and Dr. Ben Carson on some of the factors that helped them to be successful.
4. Essay by Dr. Michael Walters on two great American authors, Larry McMurtry and Eudora Welty.
Teaching Gifted Children: Multiple Intelligences as a Framework in Pre-Service Teacher Preparation
|Lynn H. Fox, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Education
|Sarah Irvine Belson, Ph.D.
School of Education
|Deborah L. Thompson, Ph.D.
School of Education
The College of New Jersey
The current demand for new teachers in grades K to 12 has undergraduates and career switchers entering teacher preparation programs in record numbers. This presents an opportunity to educate a new generation of teachers about the special needs of gifted students. An opportunity that must, however, be carefully crafted since it is not inherent in most teacher preparation curricula. For example, most teacher education programs require a course in Special Education, but typically only one lecture and one chapter in a textbook is devoted to understanding the gifted child. Introductory courses such as Educational Psychology or Foundations of Education may not cover this topic at all or at best may contain two or three pages in a textbook.
This lack of attention to gifted education in the mainstream of teacher preparation is interesting given that many of the "new trends" in education have long been advocated by gifted education. For example, teachers now entering the profession are being asked to move away from traditional instructional strategies such as lectures and teacher-directed discussions to techniques that incorporate more opportunities for experiential learning such as project-based learning and cooperative learning. Such approaches are viewed as better able to encompass the wide range of individual differences found in today's classrooms including students with physical challenges, learning disabilities, and for whom English is a second language. These strategies have been at the heart of many program models for the gifted such as the Enrichment Triad (Renzuilli, 1999). Although efforts aimed at reform speak of the differences in learning preferences and cultural backgrounds of students as critical issues for teacher preparation (Burstein, Cabello; & Hamann, 1993; Obiakor & Ford, 1995), they often ignore the effects of mainstreaming and de-tracking on the opportunities for the gifted learner. Teachers need assistance in developing strategies to deal with the gifted learner in an inclusion model.
This paper presents a series of techniques designed for pre-service teachers using Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI) as a framework to think about learning and teaching for all children in ways that can address both the gifted learner and the student with learning-disabilities as well as the "regular" child in the classroom. The MI framework, which necessitates both creative and metaphorical thinking on the part of the educator, helps teachers think about diversity in terms of student ability, experience, and culture within a manageable matrix of approaches to instructional design.
Traditional teaching paradigms were based in traditional views of intelligence that focused on linguistic and logical reasoning abilities. These views conceptualized intelligence as mental energy (Spearman, 1904/1967) or as a more dichotomized set of verbal and non-verbal skills such as those presented in the Welcher Intelligence tests for Children-Revised (WISC-R). When children had difficulty learning a subject such as mathematics, but their tests of general intelligence were in the average or above average range, they were often called under-achievers. Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences (1983, 1999) suggests the following two important changes to our view of intelligence and learning. First, the arenas in which one can be intelligent are expanded from the traditional view of linguistic and logical thinking to seven different areas: bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, logical, musical, and spatial. Although Gardner has added more areas of intelligence, the focus of this paper is on these seven. Second, the question of interest for educators becomes "how are you intelligent?" rather than "how intelligent are you?"
This paper describes how Multiple Intelligences (MI) theory has been incorporated into a program of teacher preparation. The theory meshes well with three other reform efforts emphasized in the program:
a. Integrating curriculum, instruction, and assessment (Jacobs, 1998)
b. Teaching standards in mathematics developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics which emphasize communication and problem-solving (National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), 1989); and
c. Uses of computer-based technology for instruction (Kerr, 1996).
MI theory was integrated into courses in the teacher education program including educational psychology, mathematics, reading, and language arts instructional methods courses, and educational technology. Education undergraduate and graduate majors in this program are introduced to MI theory in a required introductory course in educational psychology. The introductory course is followed by courses that emphasize the application of the theory to practice. In a methods course in reading, for example, elementary school majors are encouraged to see the relationships between MI theory and a whole language approach to language arts and reading. A methods course in elementary school mathematics helps students discover the link between MI theory and NCTM standards. An introductory course in educational technology allows students to apply the MI theory as they construct their own technology-based educational web pages and software applications.
Educational Psychology: Portal for Theory to Practice
In the Educational Psychology course, the discussion of individual differences and special education includes material on the history of assessment in education and compares early efforts to define and measure intelligence with more recent efforts by Gardner (1991, 1993), Sternberg (1981), and Guilford (1988). These modern views of intellect help connect patterns of cognitive abilities to implications for instructional practice. Students read about the theories before viewing a video about the Key School in Indianapolis, a school designed around the MI theory. Student teachers explore their own patterns of intelligence based on a checklist system developed by Armstrong (1994). Interestingly, each semester there are few pre-service teachers who score highest on logical or linguistic scales. Instead, the students' dominant areas are bodily-kinesthetic, musical, and interpersonal intelligences.
Grouped by their preferred "intelligence," students create an activity or presentation to teach a construct from their textbook about special education to the class as a whole as if the class was a PTA meeting or a similar gathering. Some examples are shown in Table 1. The activity is followed by reflections and discussion about the activity, the theory, and the practical concerns in developing activities around the theory. Thus, for example, the musical group must think of a way to teach about the concept of "inclusion" to teachers in a way that utilizes musical intelligences. The bodily-kinesthetic group may act out a skit they prepared to demonstrate the characteristics of a child with a learning disability. The intra-personal group may share their own reflections of being in a program for the gifted.
Table 1: Teaching Assignments for a Lesson on Multiple Intelligences
|Musical||Elementary school teachers||Pros and cons of "inclusion"|
|Spatial||Parents||What is an IEP?|
|Interpersonal||Secondary teachers||Pros and cons of between class ability groupings|
|Intrapersonal||Undergraduate Education Majors||Recognizing emotional/behavioral disorders|
|Logical||Ninth graders||Accommodations for physical disabilities in schools|
|Linguistic||School Board||Acceleration vs enrichment for gifted children|
|Bodily-kinesthetic||Second graders||Characteristics of children with "learning disabilities"|
According to Gardner, it is important to distinguish the construct of intelligence from domains within a culture that represent areas of content knowledge. Thus, logical intelligence may be involved in mathematical problem-solving, communication, and reasoning. Logical intelligence can be put to use in a large number of domains. Conversely, in mathematics one can use logical abilities to solve problems, but one can also use bodily-kinesthetic, spatial and linguistic abilities as well (Gardner 1991, 1993; Gardner & Hatch, 1989). Thus, it is important that the student teacher's first introduction to the concept allows for reflection in terms of his/her personal experience. A reflective journal entry works well for this purpose. Class discussions explore the pre-service teachers' feelings about teaching the class using their dominant intelligences. Using a journal exercise, each student then has the opportunity to reflect on the relationship between the theory and their own personal experiences as a pre-service teacher. The student teachers are also asked to reflect on both formal and informal ways they can assess the areas of giftedness present among the students they will be teaching.
Different Ways of Knowing and Doing in Children's Literature: The Language Arts/Reading Methods Block
Nowhere is there a better niche for examining multiple intelligences than in children's literature and language arts/reading methods courses. It is in these courses that students should be pressed to show different ways of knowing. Eisner (1978) notes that knowing something means "knowing it in the variety of ways it can be known" (p. 15). Thus, if it is known that certain foods contain starch, this knowing can be shown in a variety of ways, e.g., traditional paper and pencil answers, common science experiments with iodine, mathematically with a formula, spatially with a model of a starch molecule or a three-dimensional computer model. A student may show she "knows" about the concepts of light and dark through the traditional written response or her "knowledge" can be manifested through several dimensions: photography, printing, painting, growing plants in different strengths of light or writing a musical composition using sharps and major keys to represent light and flats and minor keys to represent dark.
In children's literature and the language arts/reading methods courses, pre-service students are motivated to use language and their intelligences in a variety of ways. Pappas, Kiefer, and Levstik (1995) propose a variety of activities that tap students' different intelligences. There are several particularly effective activities that work well in children's literature and reading/language arts: book talks, jackdaws, discussion groups, and drama experiences. The jackdaw is impressive as a means of tapping a variety of intellectual capabilities. The jackdaw provides excellent motivation for students to learn about a historical period using a well-written piece of historical fiction as a point of departure (Lehr & Thompson, 1991). Named for an English blackbird that collects a myriad of objects, the jackdaw is a collection of anything real or imagined that relates to a book, time, or theme. The jackdaw can contain any or all of the following: maps of the time period, time lines, food from the period, music and games popular during the period, artifacts such as newspapers, clothes, menus, books, currency. The idea is for students to tap primary and secondary sources to extend the underlying themes of a book. Here student teachers begin to recognize ways they could individualize for children with different reading skills levels while still allowing for whole class instruction as needed.
Another mode of expression that works in children's literature is the book talk. Instead of giving a traditional book report, the student gives a different representation of the book. In some classes students have presented books in the following manner: M.C. Higgins, the Great (Hamilton, 1974) -- composed a song and created a sitting pole, The Great Gilly Hopkins (Paterson, 1979) -- created a local newscast about Gilly's antics complete with TV set, Maniac Magee (Spinelli, 1990) -- created a large string ball and unraveled it as the tale of Maniac's life is told, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (O'Brien, 1973) -- dressed up as Mrs. Frisby (a field mouse) and presented a case against animal testing used at the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), Frog and Toad Together (Lobel, 1972) -- created and video-taped a puppet show. Group book talks have elicited such performances as The Mary Godly Show, a talk show on which the participants discussed the merits of Memoirs of a Bookbat (Lasky, 1994) and other controversial or censored titles.
Hot seating is another excellent way to tap the various intelligences. It is a drama technique in which a student volunteers to become one of the book's characters and is interviewed by the other students. The purpose of hot seating is to get students thinking about characters' decisions, problem solving strategies, and perspectives. No rules apply except that the student must stay in character and react as she or he thinks the character might. A student may take on a role in either gender, e.g., a female can be Mr. Tom Bee, a boy, Cassie). Before the book character takes the hot seat, the other students write down several interview questions. They may also ask spontaneous questions or a series of questions as the situation occurs. Hot seating can be used at any point in the book when the students know a character well enough to question her or his internal motivation. Interviewers must also ask fair and relevant questions, but can make inferences based on the book (Lehr & Thompson, 2000).
Students who participate in these activities can more than satisfy the questions as to whether they have understood the author's purpose, identified the main idea or detected theme, plot, character and setting. The ways of knowing a book are limitless. The student teachers begin to grasp the notion that when a teacher becomes open to the possibilities, their students may surprise them with their high levels of creativity and enthusiasm. By foregoing the more traditional methods of responding to books, students have opportunities to tap several different intelligences.
Table 2 shows how the intelligences can be used with The Friendship (Taylor, 1987) as a focus. In this exercise students reflect upon the different ways giftedness can be manifested through a creative approach to sharing a reading experience other than a "traditional book report.
Table 2: Reader Responses Using the MI Framework for the Friendship
Possible Reader Response
|Logical-mathematical||Run the Wallace general store, complete with price listing for the 1930s.|
|Linguistic||Write an editorial for the local newspaper either condemning or supporting John Wallace's response to Mr. Tom Bee's calling him by his first name.|
|Musical||Compare the different styles of music popular during the 1930s.|
|Spatial||Create a collage of the book's events.|
|Interpersonal||Pretend to be a salesman who has to sell to both White and African American customers in the Wallace store. Consider how your services would differ.|
|Intrapersonal||Create diary entries for John Wallace and Mr. Tom Bee for the following dates: the day Mr. Tom Bee saved John Wallace, the time Mr. Tom Bee nursed John Wallace back to health, the day John Wallace shot Mr. Tom Bee for calling him by his first name in front of the Simms Brothers.|
|Naturalist||Recreate how young John Wallace could have survived the elements had Mr. Tom Bee not found him.|
The NCTM Standards and MI Theory
The teaching of mathematics is another area in which there are many ways to help pre-service teachers experience the applications of MI theory. Students can use all the different areas of intelligence as they play games, create lessons and construct learning stations. In addition, these activities are linked to the general standards for the teaching of mathematics put forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM): reasoning, problem-solving, connectedness, and communication. Some activities used for in-class and outside assignments for pre-service teachers are shown in Table 3.
Table 3: A Variety of Activities for a Math Methods Course Using MI Theory
|Multiple Intelligences||Pre-service class activity or assignment|
|Logical||Brainstorm ways to link MI theory to NCTM standards.|
|Linguistic||Select a children's story and build a math lesson based around the story.|
|Bodily-Kinesthetic||Create a dance or skit about fractions.|
|Spatial||Warm up activity at the start of a class. Estimate the number of jellybeans in a jar. Describe the ways you tried to visually estimate. Create some problems involving fractions and the colors of the jellybeans.|
|Interpersonal||Work in a group. Use jigsaw method and have students read articles about portfolios, diagnostic testing, and authentic assessment.|
|Intrapersonal||Write a mathematical autobiography.|
|Musical||Create a learning station for children (choose the age group you want) that involves musical instruments tied to a mathematical lesson. Example: Make drums out of containers such as oatmeal boxes, coffee cans, etc. Tie to problems of surface area or volume.|
Connections between mathematics and the real world lead to ideas for an integrated curriculum. MI theory gives a framework for seeing the connections between mathematics and science, language arts, music, art, history, and geography. For example, MI theory can link mathematical patterns using spatial models of blocks to rhythmic or tonal patterns in music. Connecting mathematics to other curricular domains can be done in ways that tap the different intelligences. The computer software program Oregon Trail by MECC makes a nice bridge between logical and linguistic intelligences by simulating life on the trail and by providing many reasoning and mathematical problems within an historical setting (Fox, Thompson & Chan, 1995; Fox, 1996).
Communication, in terms of the NCTM standards for mathematics, taps both inter and intra-personal intelligences, as well as linguistic intelligence, across a wide range of specific content and activities. For example, a cooperative learning activity could center on problem-solving using language, pictures, manipulatives, and body movements, all of which can be related to one or more specific mathematical concepts such as: sets, shapes, ratio, or fractions. Problem-solving and reasoning are tied closely to logical intelligence but may be more broadly conceived in ways to make problem-solving and reasoning draw on other types of intelligences. Concept maps, for example, use spatial ability, while creating story problems for others to solve taps both interpersonal and linguistic skills.
To help pre-service teachers learn how to incorporate the MI model into actual teaching activities, students in the mathematics methods course are assigned the task of creating learning stations. Using these activities, the class becomes a "Math Fair." In a recent semester, pre-service teachers conducted a "Math Fair" at a local elementary school. First and second graders were rotated through the activities in groups of four or five. These teachers in training were able to see the positive reactions the children had to mathematics when they could experience it in such an active and varied way.
Tapping MI Through Educational Technologies
The use of technology itself is changing the way we think about the teaching-learning process. Students in schools today are using the Internet to do research, learn about new communities, and have the opportunity to experience the unlimited resources that are available (Negroponte, 1995). Consensus is growing that an increase in educational technology is not only inevitable, but that it has the potential to serve as a powerful tool in the quest to improve the educational process for all learners (Edwards, 1997). For gifted and talented students, educational technology can allow opportunities to develop and use higher order thinking skills while engaging in real problems (Jones, 1990). New technologies of communication can provide an answer to issues of school isolation, individualized instructional needs, and authentic assessment. Advocates believe that technology can provide support for powerful new models of teaching and learning (Herman, 1994). In order for technology in education to be useful and effective, it must be grounded in current principles and paradigms of learning and intelligence. To integrate technology and reform classroom practice, one must focus on teachers' practices and beliefs about the teaching and learning processes (Carney, 1998). Technology can offer the user a personalized interface by incorporating principles of multiple intelligences. Animation, sound, graphics and hypertext can offer a multitude of instructional options within any computer-based application, and telecommunications, namely the Internet, can provide the medium by which these applications can be shared and utilized. However, the missing link in the successful use of technology is professional development that is matched to teachers' needs (Cognition and Technology Group of Vanderbilt, 1994).
In an introductory course on educational technology, pre-service teachers are able to tap their own intelligences and creativity, as well as create applications with many types of activities for an end-user by applying MI theory to the creation of an instructional web site. The purpose of the web site design project in this course is to develop a mechanism in which teacher-educators can be trained to use current and emerging technologies to model instructional strategies and to coordinate these activities with Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences. The project provides pre-service teachers with the opportunity to develop interactive multimedia instructional modules with World Wide Web access, known as instructional web sites. The project objectives for the assignment include the following: creating multimedia web sites designed to strengthen particular intelligences; developing an interactive resource guide for web page development; finding Internet applications related to various intelligences; modeling the use of telecommunications as an instructional tool; and linking technology to principles of active learning and multiple learning styles.
Pre-service teachers explore the Internet and discuss the use of the Internet as a teaching tool. One key activity in which students engage is completing an "on-line" MI inventory to refresh their understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses, such as those listed in the references by Blackman (2000), McKenzie (2000) and Sauer (2001). After examining their own multiple intelligences, the teachers are trained in the development of instructional web sites, which includes HTML (Hypertext Mark-Up Language) editing and using current web design tools ranging from Netscape Composer to Macromedia Dreamweaver. Following a preliminary training session, the teachers develop a rubric for the evaluation of a web site. This includes identifying the objectives of the site, the population for which the site is designed, and the source of the site information. Evaluative criteria are developed to rate the site on the following: creativity of design and graphics, interactivity, instructional value, and completeness of coverage of the topic.
In the educational technology course, many students had not before had the opportunity to view technology through the lens of Multiple Intelligences. Because Internet resources tend to be textual in nature, classroom teachers often report that the presentation of material on the Internet does not allow for direct application to lessons, and may not be easy for students to use without assistance or reformatting. By allowing pre-service teachers to design webpages that meet the needs of diverse learners, they not only contribute more useful material to the web, but they gain skills in adapting the plethora of material available to make the Internet more classroom accessible.
Table 4 shows examples of types of activities related to each of Gardner's intelligences used in the creation of instructional web sites, the content of each web site, and the end-users skills needed to complete the activities on each site. In addition to examining how MI can be used in web site design, students in the educational technology course also evaluate educational software with an eye toward what types of "intelligences" are tapped by the programs (Veenema & Gardner, 1996).
Technology can be viewed as a tool that when used in combination with MI theory can generate highly sophisticated interactive learning environments that are appropriate for gifted students. As we prepare teachers to use technology-based tools it is important to ground the practices in sound pedagogical theory. MI theory is a meaningful way to help students begin to make the connections between theory and practice.
Table 4: Multiple Intelligences Utilized in Web Site Creation, Content, and End-User Activities
|Intelligence||Development of Web site||Content/Topics on Web sites||End-user intelligences needed to complete Web site activities|
|Linguistic||Writing content, background information on content area.||How to be a journalist||Reading, e-mail comments in response to a web site|
|Logical-Mathematical||HTML Coding||Using a Calculator||
Complete math problems on the
How to Mortgage your Home
|Spatial||Page Layout, Graphics||Tourism sites, digitizing video Scavenger hunt||Follow the hypertext and maps on each site. Complete a jigsaw puzzle|
|Bodily-Kinesthetic||Use of a mouse, scanner, digital camera||
Math through Movement site
|Practice a swimming stroke, play hopscotch|
|Musical||Creation of MIDI files, other audio files on web sites||
How to play a guitar site
Travel and tourism sites
Learn the chords on a Guitar
Listen to music
|Interpersonal||Working with others for assistance with technical, content areas of sites||The Best Washington, DC date restaurants site Dormitory Site||Collaborate with other interested in travel, selecting a university, completing a dissertation|
|Intrapersonal||Selecting the content of each site, providing personal history on each site||
So you want to be a
Alcohol Fun & Safety site
|Selecting instructional path|
The impact of the efforts to systematically incorporate MI theory and practice in undergraduate teacher-training courses was assessed in several ways, with particular focus on how this approach would allow future teachers to incorporate students with gifts and talents into the classroom. Each instructor analyzed student projects and products during the courses in terms of evidence of knowledge and understanding of MI theory; awareness of the range of individual differences among the children they would teach including gifted students; and how to individualize instruction using the MI framework. The instructors also looked for evidence of students' understanding of the MI framework in terms of:
Appreciation of integrated curriculum,
Application of technology for instruction,
Awareness of emerging standards in the disciplines.
In the Educational Psychology course, most of the evidence of impact came in the weekly reflective journal writing where students responded to assigned readings and to case studies. In the technology course, the interactive webpage project required students to attend to multiple intelligences directly in the design and explanation of their interactive teaching tool. The language arts course instructor looked for evidence of understanding of the range of individual differences in students' approaches to creating jackdaw kits that focused historical fiction for children and multiple ways for children to respond to the book.
In the educational technology course, 90% of the students were able to develop instructional websites that directly tapped each of the Multiple Intelligences. Through activities that required the user to print out an activity and to try out steps and procedures, some materials allowed the use of kinesthetic and spatial intelligence. Through incorporating rhythm and patterns, other materials enabled the use of musical intelligence. Through activities that required the user to talk about the content and to organize ideas, the materials tapped interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences. Students who were unable to develop materials that directly tapped the seven intelligences found they were able and willing to adapt and embellish later course projects to accommodate different styles of learning. Students also reported confidence in adapting other technology-based materials to meet the needs of diverse learners. By examining educational software through the lens of MI, students were able to make better decisions about what types of computer experiences were appropriate for different students.
The instructors felt that they too had been transformed by this experience. All three reported trying new approaches in their own teaching as they sought to model the practices they were advocating. In educational psychology, for example, the instructor created more options for projects that included ways to respond using a variety of intelligences in ways she had not before this effort. For example, bodily-kinesthetic projects, web page projects, and visual products were incorporated into options for group projects. One final project allowed students to create a mural for a hallway in a building on campus that incorporated art and writing developed by students in response to the theme "teaching for diversity."
Educators have a unique opportunity to educate a large number of teachers entering the field about individual differences, especially giftedness, through the use of the MI framework. It is easy to conceptualize and to remember. The use of this framework for developing learning activities helps students incorporate many ideas relevant to a cognitive constructivist classroom, which can allow for enriching and accelerated instruction for all students, including the gifted. It encourages teachers to develop ways for students to respond to curricular material depending on their prior knowledge, learning preferences, and interests. It lends itself to introducing students to planning lessons that are built around thematic teaching and active learning. The emphasis on responding to different intelligences helps student teachers create lessons that incorporate technology while focusing on the adaptation of technology to individual differences in interests and experience, including the too-often forgotten "bright" child.
The instructors of all four courses felt their own understanding of the problems, the pitfalls, and the benefits of this conceptual approach to teaching was greatly enhanced by their own struggles to develop applications of MI theory and cognitive constructivist teaching in their own classroom. Incorporating the MI framework into planning and activities for the college classroom forces the teacher educator to model what they teach. For the future teachers in inclusion classrooms, the need for pre-service experiences that address diverse learning needs has never been more significant. b b b
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Let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to find out the natural bent. Plato, c. 428-348 B.C.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. Jack London, 1896-1916
The investigation of the meaning of words is the beginning of education. Antisthenes, c.445-c. 365 B.C.
If a little knowledge is dangerous, where is the man who has so much as to be out of danger? Thomas Henry Huxley, 1825-1895
CHATS WITH GIFTED STUDENTS ON LIFE AHEAD: Philosophy for Non-Philosophers at the Middle and High School Levels*
By Joseph A. Grispino Tucson, Arizona
Why is this book, CHATS, important? First, because it's sui generis, the only one of its kind, at least as far as I'm aware. It fills a gap in the scholastic literature written for middle and high school children gifted. To tout CHATS as filling a gap means that although philosophy is taught in some middle and high schools, philosophy is not taught as it is in CHATS. As far as I can determine, when philosophy is taught on these levels, the textbooks chosen are either those commonly used for first year college courses or they are selected readings from traditional philosophers. Both types of textbooks may be too difficult and impractical for pre-college students. The teachers, through no fault of their own, lack the necessary degrees, philosophical background, education and training.
CHATS is sui generis not only because it fills a gap but because it's a philosophy book in English, for gifted youngsters, written in non-technical language, covering a wide range of practical issues which traditional philosophers love to discuss.
I specify "in English" because there is de facto a comparable book in French. France is the only country in the world that requires philosophy to be taught at what roughly corresponds to our high school level. Are not American students equally gifted in intelligence and worthy of philosophy?
"In English" also implies that there is no such book published in any English speaking country -- Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
CHATS IS A BOOK ON "PRACTICAL ISSUES," NOT ON THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY. These are the two major ways that college courses teach philosophy. In courses on the history of philosophy, each philosopher's specific answers are presented for each problem he chooses to investigate. By contrast, in a philosophy course as problems, like CHATS the problems themselves are selected and the best answers are proposed regardless which philosopher gave them.
Second, CHATS is important because it will defend gifted children from the sharks of deception lurking in the alleyways of life. I mean sharks like advertisers (when they create desires for things we don't need), business men (when they hope that we don't read their fine print), lawyers (when they suggest suing), politicians (when they represent lobbyists instead of their constituents), and reporters on TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines (when they slant the news).
Third, CHATS is important because it will prepare youngsters for life ahead by alerting them to issues that will deeply influence their lives: the issue of religion (God) and problem of evil (Ch.10), nature of human happiness (Ch. 11), elements of democracy (Ch. 7), death penalty (Ch. 8), civil disobedience (Ch. 9), abortion (Ch. 16), euthanasia (Ch. 17), pornography, gays/ lesbians (Ch. 18).
Fourth, perhaps CHATS's most important contribution in assisting youngsters to meet life's problems is an adoption of a logical method and an ethical style.
The logical method (Ch. 3) instructs how to recognize arguments (different from explanations) with their assumptions, premises, conclusion and how to detect fallacies camouflaged in clever wordings. Man may be born free but everywhere he is in the chains of fallacies. It's amazing how many educated people get strangled in a web of fallacies spun by corporations and the spin doctors of the media.
Besides the logical method, there is the equally if not more important ethical method (Ch. 13). This chapter is a compressed course on practical ethics with succinct guidelines on living a life of integrity. Within this chapter lies a cameo presentation of a practical ethical style of living. It consists of three ethical yardsticks (the greatest good for the greatest number, rights, burdens vs. benefits) to solve problems, be they personal or societal. This homespun ethical yardstick style may serve as a supplement to any religious ethical style or in place of it if one does not espouse any religion.
The fifth reason why CHATS is important lies in its emphasis on objectivity in the quest for truth and in tolerance for the views of others.
Objectivity in discussions and conversations forms the heart of philosophy. Irrespective of all the wranglings about the correct theoretical definition of philosophy, there looms one constant from the hoary days of classical antiquity to the present, namely -- the mind ought to admit evidence even to the point of excruciating pains of abandoning cherished prejudices or unexamined traditions.
Of eminently urgent importance in present-day America is the virtue of tolerance. In the discussions of abortion and euthanasia, for example, tolerance for the views of others is stressed. The tolerance theme beckons youths to make the American experiment succeed -- that the only nation in the history of the world with so many cohabiting different religions may live in peace. We are reminded of the importance for this experiment to succeed as we watch daily on TV the self-destruction of nations with only two religions.
The sixth reason why CHATS is an important book is because of its Epilogue: What's the biggest headache of the human race? I submit that the answer is: how to control its feelings/how to get along in peace with one another as individuals and as nations.
I have never seen nor heard the question and the answer anywhere. In this sense I consider the epilogue an original essay.
Some years ago I presented this question and answer in the Proceedings of The American Philosophical Association. The response was anemic.
In conclusion, the gifted child must not only be thought of as endowed with exceptional intelligence but also with exceptional virtue. CHATS is most important if it adds luster to these two jewels, intelligence and virtue, which balance the coronet of the genuine gifted child. c c c
*Book published by Gifted Education Press, Summer 2001.
What factors in your background have contributed to your giftedness? How?
In the Summer 2001 issue we asked these questions of the acclaimed historian, Jacques Barzun. Now, here are the responses of two other highly accomplished individuals:
Charlton Heston is best known for his staring roles in such movies as "The Ten Commandments" (1956), "Ben-Hur" (1959, Academy Award) and "The Agony and the Ecstacy" (1965).
Dr. Ben Carson is Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. We highly recommend his autobiography, Gifted Hands (1990, Zondervan Publishing House), and his latest book mentioned below. In addition, please see Time Magazine's tribute to him (Super Pediatrics Surgeon) in the August 20, 2001 issue, pp. 34-35.
Charlton Heston -
Thanks for your letter: I applaud your efforts on behalf of the teaching profession, one I respect a great deal.
I grew up being read to and then reading on my own. I've never stopped. I read everything including cereal boxes if there isn't anything else available. I never leave my home without at least one book. I think it's the single most important skill any of us can master.
Aside from reading and basic life experience, I've always adhered to Spencer Tracy's immortal advice to actors: "Show up on time, know your words and don't bump into anything."
My best wishes to you and your readers.
Dr. Ben Carson -
One of the key factors to success is accepting personal responsibility and never giving room to the victims' mentality. When a person can find circumstances or people to blame for their lack of achievement, they have no reason to strive for excellence. My philosophy can be summed up with my frequent advice to people which is, "Do your best and let God do the rest."
You can find significant expansion of these ideas in my latest book entitled The Big Picture by Zondervan publishing which came out in 1999. Good luck with your project.
The Lives of Two Great American Authors: Larry McMurtry and Eudora Welty
By Michael E. Walters
Center for the Study of the Humanities in the Schools
". . .First I try to herd a few desirable words into a sentence, and then I corral them into small pastures called paragraphs, before spreading them across the spacious ranges of a novel." From Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen: Reflections at Sixty and Beyond (1999, Simon & Schuster) by Larry McMurtry. p. 54.
"As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life. A sheltered life can be a daring life as well. For all serious daring starts from within." From One Writer's Beginnings (1984, Harvard University Press paperback edition) by Eudora Welty. p. 104.
These quotations are from two classic American memoirs that provide insights into some of the factors related to giftedness.. Larry McMurtry (1936- ) has written numerous works of fiction (e.g., Lonesome Dove, 1985, Pulitzer Prize) and screenplays (The Last Picture Show, 1971). Eudora Welty (1909-2001) also won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel, Optimist's Daughter (1972), and is considered to be one of the masters of American short stories. After her recent death in July 2001, she received appreciative obituaries in the New York Times, Time Magazine and U.S. News and World Report.
McMurtry grew up in a small town, Archer City, located in the Texas plains that was previously an area of small ranches, farms and oil wells. Welty spent most of her life in Jackson, Mississippi, the state capital. However, they demonstrated similar characteristics during their development as gifted individuals. The first characteristic both of these writers possessed was a type of sensibility that enabled them to take rich memories, folklore and personal interactions they encountered, and to use this information to create outstanding literature. Whatever they saw, heard or felt became transformed into themes and imagery containing universal meanings for all readers. Welty describes this sensibility in the following terms: "The events in our lives happened in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable not necessarily - perhaps not possibly - chronological. The time as we know it subjectively is often the chronology that stories and novels follow: it is the continuous thread of revelation." (Eudora Welty, One Writer's Beginnings, 1984, pp. 68-69). McMurtry used the metaphor of the cowboy as a meditation upon the interpretation of myth and reality. The myth of the cowboy is an American icon which has assumed a reality for both the American and universal imagination. His books would create many sagas about this icon.
The second characteristic shared by both of these writers is the role of mentors in their lives. The mentors in Welty's life were mainly various family members who encouraged her to perceive herself as a writer -- their lives became her themes and plots. In a similar manner as Emily Dickinson's poetry and Jane Austin's novels, Welty found the history of the human race in her family's world. McMurtry's mentors were professors he encountered at both Rice and Stanford universities. For example, he participated in the writing seminar at Stanford conducted by the outstanding writer of the American West, Wallace Stegner (1909-93). This Stegner class of 1960-61 has produced between 70 and 80 books. Another one of his mentor's was the American literary critic and "great reader," Edmund Wilson, who taught McMurtry how to use what one reads as a basis for literary productivity.
The third characteristic shown by both of these writers is their love of and devotion to books. Both had seminal encounters with books as children. Welty was constantly read to as a child. Her house contained many novels and resource books such as Charles Dickens' and Mark Twain's novels and the Book of Knowledge. When McMurtry was six years old, his cousin dropped off a box of nineteen boys' books on his way to army boot camp during World War II. These nineteen books led to his interest in writing and collecting books. After his heart quadruple-bypass surgery in 1991, he eventually returned to his work as a "book scout" in the rare book trade and opened book stores in his home town of Archer City, Texas. The title of McMurtry's memoir is related to the impact that Walter Benjamin had on his psyche after reading Benjamin's famous essay on story-telling (in Illuminations, 1961). Welty's memoir was the result of a series of lectures she delivered at Harvard University in April 1983 to inaugurate the William E. Massey lecture series. She was invited to speak by the History of American Civilization program at this university.
The two memoirs should be used in creative writing courses for gifted students. By studying these writings by McMurtry and Welty, they will learn something about the dynamics of sensibility, mentoring and the significance of reading in the development of giftdeness.
". . .I still believe that books are the fuel of genius. Leaving a million or so in Archer City is as good a legacy as I can think of for that region and indeed for the West." (Larry McMurtry, Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen: Reflections at Sixty and Beyond, 1999, p. 179).
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