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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

Justice, not ‘Social’ Justice, Improves Society

If we ignore existing laws simply in favor of what we want, society will soon break down

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Thomas Jefferson wrote that, “The most sacred of the duties of government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.” The hallowed duty to fulfill the promise of justice for all remains, or ideally should remain, as the guiding ideal for the people we elect to government.

A friend of mine recently commented that the ‘social’ justice movement in America is alive and well, and that great things have been happening. However, when you put any word in front of the word ‘justice,’ the true meaning of justice is altered. Social justice is some group’s attempt at righting what they consider to be wrong.

I asked my friend for an example of social justice and was told that power lines being installed near poor neighborhoods instead of wealthier neighborhoods was a prime example. I then explained that that was not an issue related to ‘social’ justice but to justice itself.

Express Lanes for Redress

This is not 1860, or 1960. Today, many avenues exist for illuminating any issue of merit. Locally, there are zoning boards in every municipality, city councils usually with members on the left and the right, town hall meetings, public forums, newspapers, local television stations – a variety of entities that can be brought to bear to examine an issue and to forge some type of equitable redress if needed.

To be sure, no form of political government is anywhere near perfect or even equitable, much of the time. Democracy is difficult, but all other forms of government are worse.

In a democracy, or representative republic, such as we have in the U.S., you can’t go off half-cocked and do exactly what you want because you think that a particular law is bad. You have to work to change the law, to change policies, to address inequities within the framework of democracy, and within the bound of the justice system.

A Sanctuary for Whom?

Consider the phenomenon of sanctuary cities. For a sanctuary city to exist, one has to have a mayor, an alderman, city council members,  and other committee members, including those whose were elected as well as as appointed, to believe that what they’re espousing is right, while ignoring what has been passed into law. This ruling class thus usurps that which a majority of citizens rely upon each day.

A sanctuary city, by definition, is a city that is breaking the law. The Left will rationalize that ‘social’ justice requires breaking the law and that not all laws are good laws. True: not all laws are good laws. Laws, nevertheless, were passed as a result of a process in place for tens if not hundreds of years.

If laws routinely discriminate against one segment of the population versus another, then by all means work to change the law. When you insert catchphrases into the mix, such as ‘social’ justice, what that actually means is that you have another viewpoint of an issue. Further, you deem that your view and your actions are more meritorious than whatever came before them.

Vigilantism isn’t Pretty

Years ago, by exhibiting such behavior, you would be called a vigilante. Vigilantes are a self-appointed group who engage in policy enforcement without having legal authority, usually because they deem the legal agencies to be inadequate.

We dwell in a society where the media is distinctly liberal, and even leftist – as we have witnessed with big tech, the big TV networks, nearly all newspapers, and, unfortunately, a variety of government agencies. Thus, those advocating for ‘social’ justice have the wind at their backs. Yet, they violate the rights, and votes, of half the population and perhaps much more.

Welcome to My Two Cents

Any one of us could offer a long list of social issues that we’d like to change. If we decide, willy-nilly, to start ignoring existing laws in favor of what we want, how long will it take before society breaks down completely? Taking the law into your own hands is the essence of what it means to be a vigilante. Vigilante-dominated societies are not healthy. Many of their residents live in constant fear.

Taking the law into your own hands is an ill-advised shortcut to seeking what you want without working through the system, however imperfect the system might be. This country, any country, does not need more vigilantism.

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Education

Texas School District Says Enough is Enough

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Photo by MChe Lee on Unsplash

BREAKING: The Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District in North Texas voted last night to:

1) Ban the teaching of critical race theory. 

2) Wait until students are in the fifth grade to teach them sexual orientation and gender identity. 

3) Ban boys from playing in girls’ sports.

4) Encourage the use of pronouns that align with student’s biological gender and require them to use restrooms and locker rooms that align with their biological gender.

5) Require that library materials be posted online and readily available for review by parents.

6) Not teach The New York Times “1619 Project”.

7) Implement a strict process for reviewing library books, so as to allow To Kill A Mockingbird and disallow Daddy, Papa, and Me and others.

It seems nearly incomprehensible that a school district would have to vote on measures like these. In fact, to many thoughtful Americans, it seems utterly Orwellian. How can truths about gender and the proper use of pronouns suddenly seem controversial rather than commonsensical?

Why does it seem radical to return power to parents and reaffirm biological reality? Or to keep boys from dominating girls in sports? Or to let students read revisionist history and propaganda about their nation on their own time? Why teach something that cannot withstand even the lightest objective criticism? 

Perhaps the school district’s 4-3 vote is a sign that there’s hope, that the pendulum has reached its arc and is beginning to move back toward truth and reality. Maybe the radicals are on the run.

No matter what, kudos to North Texas educators for pushing back against the absurdity and reaffirming responsible education.

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