Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. -Yeats
 Expanding Our Vision of ‘the Whole Child’ GARDNER'S THEORY OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE Multiple Intelligences Theory has become a major force in education throughout the world, revolutionizing our thinking and educational practices. Teachers must no longer see their task as filling the capacity of one's intelligence, but rather facilitating the development of a child's whole self, including his/her multiple intelligences.

 

SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE

 

Another impact on the reform of education for 'the whole child' is the social and emotional learning movement popularized by the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence (1995) by Daniel Goleman. Goleman has contributed much to our thinking about the need to nurture the social and emotional lives of children by identifying emotional intelligence (or EQ as it is often called in the popular press) as being more important than IQ in terms of children's healthy development and future life success. He writes: One of psychology's open secrets is the relative inability of grades, IQ, or SAT scores, despite their popular mystiques, to predict unerringly who will succeed in life. . . There are widespread exceptions to the rule that IQ predicts success – many (or more) exceptions than cases that fit the rule. At best IQ contributes about 20 percent to the factors that determine life success, which leaves 80 percent to other forces.

Goleman helped educators make the important link between one's emotional intelligence as a basic requirement for the effective use of one's IQ – that is, our cognitive skills and knowledge – and success in later life. As a result of Goleman's work, schools across the country began helping children strengthen their emotional intelligence by equipping them with concrete skills for identifying and addressing their emotions, understanding their own and others' needs, communicating effectively, and resolving conflicts nonviolently. These skills help children to be more empathetic, to make good decisions, to be optimistic in the face of setbacks, and to accept and honor diversity. Educators are responding to the call to integrate the cognitive and affective domains because the academic and personal success of students depend on it.

 

HABITS OF MIND

 

In a series of books called Habits of Mind: A Developmental Series (2000), Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick suggest that, beyond intelligences – whether cognitive, emotional, or existential/spiritual – intelligent human action, particularly creative problem solving, requires a set of mental dispositions or habits of mind which allow us to respond to "problems, dilemmas, and enigmas, the resolutions of which are not immediately apparent." They are:

• Persisting

• Managing impulsivity

• Listening with understanding and empathy

• Thinking flexibly

• Thinking about thinking

• Striving for accuracy

• Questioning and posing problems

• Applying past knowledge to new situations

• Thinking and communicating with clarity and precision

• Gathering data through all senses

• Creating, imagining and innovating

• Responding with wonderment and awe

• Taking responsible risks

• Finding humor

• Thinking interdependently

• Remaining open to continuous learning

The authors caution that their list is not complete and invite readers to add to the list.

 

A listing of all the human capacities and virtues is not our goal in this section, but rather to make it clear that there is a necessity for education to focus not only on the intellect, but also on the numerous other important aspects of 'the whole child.’

 

EDUCATING THE 'WHOLE CHILD'

Thanks to the work of Gardner and others, there has been an increasing understanding of what it means to educate 'the whole child.’ At del Sol we are not only committed to recognizing the value of the logical and linguistic intelligences, typically accepted as the core responsibility of school, but also to the spectrum of intelligences, capacities, and virtues considered by some to be outside the role of school. In regards to nurturing children's personal character and inner lives, it should be stressed that del Sol does not advocate any particular religion or spiritual path, but joins with all the major religions and spiritual paths in recognizing and connecting each of us. Our goal, simply put, is to foster the development of wholeness -- in body, mind and spirit, which in turn propels self-actualization -- del Sol's Mission. Each person's compelling journey toward self-actualization is truly a constructive, developmental process. All paths are held in esteem.

“Education in our time should provide the basis for enhanced understanding of our several worlds – the physical world, the biological world, the world of human beings, the world of human artifacts, and the world of the self.” (Gardner, 1999, p.158)

del Sol’s vision of education for 'the whole child' has expanded since our first school year. We expect that ongoing research will unearth additional understandings that will continue to revolutionize the world of education. We are committed to our exciting role of facilitating students' highest potential in becoming not only academically confident and socially and emotionally skillful, but also in possessing central virtues and a clear direction and purpose in life.

 

References and further reading:

1 Salon.com Magazine, January 5, 2000, Future Smart and

Teachers.net September 28, 1999, A Conversation with Dr. Howard Gardner.

1. Howard Gardner, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (New York: Basic Books, 1993)

2. Howard Gardner, Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the Twenty-first Century (New York: Basic Books, 1999).

3. Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence (New York: Bantam Books, 1995).

4. Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick, Habits of Mind: A Developmental Series (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2000)

5. Linda Lantieri, editor, Schools with Spirit: Nurturing the Inner Lives of Children and Teachers (Boston: Beacon Press, 2001)