The History of ancient Egyptian Civilizations records an explicit desire of people for the issue of Intelligence and its physical location in the human body.
The Concept of Unique Intelligence, rarely questioned throughout history, has solidified itself decisively influencing the entire structure of the traditional Teaching System. For a Unique Intelligence, nothing more natural than a uniform educational system.
In this perspective the IQ and School Aptitude tests were structured were quite successful. They measured intelligence, predicted performance and reinforced the model. The ideal of scientific thought gradually became sacralized among us.
Celebrities such as, Piaget and many others, introduced important advances and new approaches to the old model, which already showed signs of exhaustion.
Important issues regarding personal performance demanded more convincing answers that not even previous theorists or IQ tests could satisfy. IQ tests effectively predicted performance at school but failed clamorously regarding “performance in life.”
How to explain the mediocre life of people with very high IQs? How can we understand the fact that many exponents of humanity – in the various branches of activity have only medium IQs? Why aren’t the best students necessarily the best professionals on the market?
The old model focused on the concept of unique intelligence by not being able to answer the main questions of the TEACHING-LEARNING-ACTION process, is evidence that we are reaching a breaking point. It is worth remembering the classic concept of George Land on the BREAKING POINT AND TRANSFORMATION. A new concept of Intelligence would therefore need to be formulated.
Dutch Foundation, Bernard Van Leer Foundation of the Hague, interested in investigating the nature of human achievement potential, in 1979 hired the Harvard Graduate School of Education to develop a project in this direction. That is precisely when a new era began.
Using the recent discoveries of science in the study of the brain and mind, based on the countless studies developed up to 1983, a group of scientists led by Howard Gardner formulated the “palpitating” Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
Not even Gardner himself, when he published Structures of the Mind in 1983, imagined the depth of implications that the concept of Multiple Intelligences would cause in the educational world.
More than scientifically and judiciously mapping the Seven Intelligences (Musical, Logical-Mathematical, Linguistic, Spatial, Corporal, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal), Howard Gardner debunks the harmful assumption of hierarchy among the multiple human capacities. Intelligences are Multiple while abilities have equal importance and therefore need to be considered and worked.
Gardner therefore defines a new concept according to which intelligence is the ability to solve problems or create products.
Multiple Intelligences in a way collide with the Traditional Teaching System by questioning the “ideal of scientific thought” and the exaggerated importance attached to logical-mathematical and language intelligence.
Assuming the equality of multiple intelligences and thus allow people to manifest themselves using those capacities that are more ‘familiar’ is absolutely decisive in the best use of human potential.
Rather than developing geniuses, the proposal is not to mutilate people. Especially children, who need to have their self-esteem reinforced and receive positive stimuli for the development of their different intelligences.
Thus, the concept of Uniform Education linked to the concept of unique Intelligence no longer holds.
The proof that the Intelligences are multiple, that people learn in different ways and that knowledge nowadays evolves in a new dimension are demanding a new Model, notably centered on the Individual. This is perhaps the greatest contribution of Gardner’s theory to education.
There is an awareness of the difficulties in its implementation, but also the certainty that this is the only Education for which it would be worth fighting.
When education specialists, heads of organizations and opinion leaders in general begin to talk and think about the possibility of transforming the TEACHING-LEARNING-ACTION process by using the same assumptions, the decisive step will have been taken.
Organizations also need to learn how to “learn” in a different manner. The new character who will replace teachers in the classroom, and will replace managers in companies. This character is the f a c i l i t a t o r.
This is a character whose resume isn’t quite complete, who is being carefully studied by major corporations. They are looking for someone who is able to deal with multiple intelligences and build competent problem-solving teams that relate to each other in a new perspective.
They need HR professionals who are able to work as Organizational Educators. Attention! The moment is not demanding a “teacher”, but a “facilitator”. More than a “job”, this is a concrete possibility of ending the millennium by making an effective difference in life and in the company. Developing bold, creative entrepreneurs that use their full potential, will be critical so that organizations can survive in the future, which is already here.
The corporate rationalism itself will certainly have to be rethought along with the entire current system of reward versus punishment. Now, in an urgent and radical manner.
The possibility for today’s organizations to step out of their rhetoric and proactively participate in the construction and implementation of this model that will be producing the professionals of the new century is absolutely strategic.
For many Teaching Institutions that have believed in Multiple Intelligences, this new reality is coming sooner.
During a recent “workshop” that I had the privilege of attending in the United States along with educators who work in schools that are practicing this new teaching proposal, I found that through the approaches presented, the lesson plans and the work developed by the students, which among other things, the new model is contributing significantly to the development of people with higher self-esteem and greater ability and flexibility in their choice processes.
This new reality proposes a revision of our own concept of Creativity and its learning. To produce Innovative, Useful and Relevant Solutions – the essence of the creative process, it takes more than those wonderful creative games – the main proposal of many creative workshops. Creativity is emotion, imagination, boldness and especially, a work methodology.
For the past 42 years, CEF- Creative Education Foundation (USA) has developed and improved CPS-Creative Problem Solving, which contains a set of techniques that make it easier to exploit creative potential in problem solving.
It is common sense among American researchers who have been following us for three years in our facilitator training course at that institution, the understanding that using Multiple Intelligences in the creative process, more than knowledge, demands the facilitation attitude. Presumptuousness, superstar complex and cunningness are absolutely incompatible with this attitude, because, more than a technique for dealing with groups, facilitation must be a vital option.
It is “a way of being within life” and in the relationships with others. A way that recognizes the multiple skills of individuals, that perceives the different rhythms of each one, which respects these differences, that (truly) believes in the strength of groups and teams, and that has a deep commitment to human existence. This is, in essence, Howard Gardner’s belief in formulating his theory.
Many are the insights that this rich moment in the history of humanity offers to all those who manage to have an active perception.
In a country that, according to many surveys, is characterized by a debilitated self-esteem, the possibility of recognizing and working with the multiple intelligences of our professionals is a concrete possibility of redemption of citizenship and the Integral Human Being.
It is therefore time for educational institutions, companies and educators, including HR professionals, who are the educators responsible for continuing the teaching process inside organizations, to appropriate these new concepts that, if applied in an integrated and competent manner, can enable the desired full achievement of human potential.
(*)Administrator – TELEMIG, Director of the CRIAR-Institute of Creativity and Development and member of the Creative Education Foundation – USA
Text published by EM on 04.14.1996