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Frames of Mind: the Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Joe Biden has few skills in assimilating new information or in solving problems. What type of intelligence does he have? Hmm… hard to say.

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By now, everyone knows that Joe Biden has few if any skills in assimilating new information or in solving new problems. If only his “81” million voters knew this in advance. What type of intelligence does he have? Hmm… hard to say. Perhaps excerpts and key notes from the award-winning book Frames of Mind: the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, third edition, 2011, by Professor Howard Gardner, will shed some light on the matter.

Contemporary methods of assessing the intellect are not sufficiently well developed to allow assessment of an individual’s potentials or achievements in, say, navigating by the stars, mastering a new language, or composing music with a computer, among 100s of other tasks.

Previous efforts to establish independent intelligences have been unconvincing, chiefly because they rely on only one or, at the most, two lines of evidence. Separate “minds” or “faculties” have been posited solely on the basis of logical analysis, on the history of educational disciplines, on the results of intelligence testing, or on the insights obtained from brain study.

Psychology and Testing

Until recent decades, most psychologists would agree with the assessment that intelligence testing was psychology’s greatest achievement, its chief claim to social utility, and an important scientific discovery in its own right.  Most scholars within psychology, and most outside the field, are now convinced that enthusiasm over intelligence tests has been excessive and that there are many limitations in the instruments themselves and in their uses.

▪ Much of the information sought in intelligence tests reflects knowledge gained from living in a specific social and educational milieu. In contrast, intelligence tests rarely assess skill in assimilating new information or in solving new problems. This bias toward “crystallized” rather than “fluid” knowledge can have astounding consequences. No existing technology is explicitly designed to test an individual’s intellectual profile.

▪ The idea of a single “horizontal” problem-solving apparatus is attractive, in fact the carefully selected problems to which it is said to apply turn out to be disturbingly similar to one another. In common with Piagetian psychology, nearly all the problems examined by information-processing psychologists prove to be of the logical-mathematical sort.

▪ It is time that our understanding of human intellect be informed by the findings that have accrued in the biological sciences since the time of Franz Joseph Gall. Yet, because psychologists and biologists inhabit different environments, the task of marshaling biology to explain human intelligence has barely begun.

Individual Adaption

When it comes to the most complex of human capacities, such as language, the individual can withstand even massive damage, including the removal of an entire hemisphere, during the first few years of life and still acquire the ability to speak in a reasonably normal fashion: this recovery suggests that large portions of the cortex remain uncommitted (and thus available for diverse uses) during early childhood.

▪ Numerous studies with rats and other species have confirmed that an enriched environment produces more elaborate behavior as well as palpable changes in brain size. Effects can be surprisingly specific.

▪ Of all the gifts with which individuals might be endowed, none emerges earlier than musical talent. Though speculation on this matter has been rife, it remains uncertain just why musical talent emerges so early and what the nature of this gift might be.

▪ An emerging sense of self proves to be a key element in the realm of the personal intelligences, one of overriding importance to individuals the world over.

An Indispensable Component

Various forms of personal intelligence clearly arise from the bond between the infant and its caretaker — in almost all cases, the infant and its mother. Evolutionary and cultural history have combined to make this attachment link an indispensable component of normal growth.

Comparative psychologists are sympathetic to the possibility that even the most treasured facets of human nature may be found, if in simpler forms, in other animals.

For every goal currently being pursued, there is presumably a set of intelligences which could readily be mobilized for its realization, as well as a set of intelligences whose mobilization would pose a greater challenge.

Viewing Intelligence in a Different Light

We have become much more aware of the roles of history, politics, and culture in circumscribing or thwarting our ambitious plans and in guiding them down paths that could not have been anticipated.

Intelligence should not be assessed in the same ways at different ages. The methods used with an infant or a preschooler ought to be tailored to the particular ways of knowing that typify these individuals and may be different from those employed with older individuals.

Even as computers offer a useful way to think about the marshaling of intelligences to master educational goals, the potential use of computers in the process of matching individuals to modes of instruction is substantial.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Business

Work-life Balance: The Enduring Quest

Organizations today recognize the importance of supporting employees’ well-being while maintaining productivity

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Thank goodness that organizations today increasingly recognize the importance of supporting employees’ well-being while maintaining productivity. As such, the corporate quest for work-life balance, harmony, and integration has gained great prominence.

Key Aspects

Here are 12 key aspects of this pursuit gleaned from a variety of programs:

1. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements: Offering flexible work schedules, remote work options, and part-time opportunities allows employees to better balance their professional and personal lives.

2. Have Clear Policies: Establishing clear policies and guidelines regarding work hours, overtime, and expectations helps employees manage their time effectively.

3. Support Mental Health: Providing access to mental health resources, counseling, and stress management programs can address employees’ emotional well-being.

4. Give Leave: Offering generous paid time off, including vacation, sick leave, and parental leave, allows employees to address personal and family needs without fear of repercussions.

5. Prevent Burnout: Encouraging employees to disconnect from work-related technology after hours helps prevent burnout and supports work-life separation.

6. Support Workload Management: Ensuring that employees have manageable workloads and realistic deadlines prevents excessive stress and long working hours.

7. Provide Wellness Programs: Implementing wellness initiatives, such as fitness facilities, nutrition programs, and health screenings, promotes a healthier work-life balance.

8. Enable Employee Assistance Programs: Such programs provide confidential counseling and support services for employees facing personal challenges.

9. Promote a Culture of Balance: Company culture plays a significant role in work-life balance. Leaders should model a balanced lifestyle, and the organization should celebrate accomplishments beyond work.

10. Maintain Continuous Communication: Engaging in open dialogues with employees about their needs and concerns regarding work-life balance fosters a supportive and responsive corporate culture.

11. Empower Workers with Training and Education: Providing training on time management, stress reduction, and resilience equips employees with the skills to better balance their lives.

12. Leverage Remote Work Policies: Crafting clear remote work policies and expectations ensures that remote employees have a structured work-life balance.

Bringing in the Hired Gun

As the world’s only holder of the title, “The Work-Life Balance Expert®,” as issued by the USPTO,  I am often summoned by organizations to enhance work-life balance for their troops. In all, I’ve delivered programs and spoken to 960 groups. Below depicts an encounter with a company who shall remain nameless for reasons of confidentiality. See if this squares up with your experience in your organization.

The following responses were derived as a result of my sending a questionnaire to the conference meeting planner where I was to be their keynote speaker. I requested the names of 10 people who would be in the audience. I called each of them to discuss their current challenges. Here are their actual replies to three of my questions:

1) If you could magically resolve a work-life balance issue, what would it be?

* Have more breathing room between high-level projects.
* Accomplish more during the workday and leave mentally free.
* Hire more staff!
* Take vacations and time off with no big pile ups when returning.

* Be allowed to take some Fridays off and catch up on much needed appointments.
* Reduce the number of pop-up requests and questions flying at me all day long so that I could ACTUALLY do what I need to do each day.
* Be approved to work from home or adjust my hours. My personal time isn’t respected.

2) What do you seek to derive from attending a session such as mine?

* Manage my time more effectively.
* Gain tools to embrace life while living it
* Develop stronger skills.
* Make work-life balance a reality in our company’s work-first culture.

* Acquire strategies, tips, or ideas to re-think my approach.
* Learn to change my focus, to be more productive, balanced, and focused.
* Be able to balance the few things that I do control during my day.
* Discover tips for keeping my staff in balance.

* Gain a realistic expectation of what we can achieve or experience.
* Develop a more positive outlook for the group.

3) Are there any observations you could offer?

* Work-life balance is a huge topic organization-wide. We are high performers who want to do a good job. We compromise our personal lives to meet work demands. We have to keep pace with the leaders and teams we support. If we don’t, we’ll be deemed unresponsive.

* A frenetic pace seems to be inherent in this company. Our team does a good job of emphasizing work-life balance; the problem lies with the surrounding divisions that thrive on working all the time, for no good reason. Yes, we are in a global space, working in different time zones, but some of these people are beyond the pale.

* What I love about this organization are the people. They are dedicated to the cause and truly want to deliver reliable, affordable, dynamic, and versatile solutions to our customers. However, our frenetic pace isn’t necessary. Not every project is the most vital. Not every problem is an emergency. Not every request has to be filled now.

* If in charge, I’d implement a more efficient, logical pace organization-wide. If we all took a breath and reevaluated how we work, in a more focused environment, we might find that we could produce better results with less stress.

Resonates Strongly

As you can see, the topic of work-life balance resonates strongly among today’s career professionals. Going forward, may more organization recognize and acknowledge the critical role that employee wellness and work-life balance has on the organization’s overall effectiveness.

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Education

HPU, Harvard Plagiarist University

To be fair, Harvard ought to be inclusive and welcome all plagiarists with open arms

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Peter, from Milton, MA, just outside of Boston and Cambridge, posed the following dilemma:

In keeping Claudine Gay on the faculty at nearly $1m per year, and lauding her, Harvard appears to be announcing to future students and faculty, as well as the world, that every category of plagiarism which she committed is acceptable.

I will defer to others who have so comprehensively catalogued her forms of plagiarism that Harvard deems acceptable.  I am more interested in the application of the Harvard’s plagiarism ideal.

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

To be helpful, I would ask these questions in order to better assure that the guidelines are clear: Is plagiarism good for everybody or only good for blacks, or is it female blacks?

What about the other near endless permutations of sex, sexual preference, race, and ethnicity?  Or is it good for everybody but whites? What is white, however? Are Israelis whiter than Arabs or Persians?  Israelis come from all sorts of races while Arabs do not. Elizabeth Warren self-identified as a native American; could she self-identify as a black and attain plagiarism protection?

Non Malevolent Plagiarism

Are certain whites exempt? President Joe Biden says that his plagiarism in college was okay because it wasn’t malevolent. My bad. I did not know there was a “not malevolent exception.” Is that for all whites, or only progressive whites, or only for progressive whites who become president decades later?

How would we know he would become a progressive white president decades later, particularly when he was a notable southern bigot much of his time in the senate?

The High Achieving Minority

What about Asians?  They are a minority in the U.S. As a group, they consistently achieve on merit, undermining the notion of oppressed minorities. Are they allowed to plagiarize but only in lesser forms, or not nearly as much? Or do they get no pass at all because they have the temerity to achieve?

What about the quality of plagiarism? Should some plagiarism be more appreciated than others? To employ the Boston vernacular, my brain is starting to hurt wicked bad.

Oh hell, Harvard simply ought to be inclusive and welcome all plagiarists with open arms regardless of their background or plagiarist skill set, and maybe make a name change. I suggest Harvard Plagiarist University.

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