I cannot see Gardner’s ideas as adding any real value to understanding intelligence, as there is a marked difference between intelligence (cognitive abilities) and areas of strength. As you have observed, people with multiple strength areas are disserved by the notion that they should have only one or two, and that all have equal value. It certainly does not seem to be that way to me, as I rate myself (oh, the methodology flaws!) above 8/10 in at least 3 areas, and above 6 in all but two. Also, let’s not forget that there’s no good research that support Gardner’s idea (that’s why I insist on calling it an idea rather than a theory).
I agree that Steve Jobs was a genius, but I find the term “magician genius” offensive, to tell the truth. Instinctive imaginative leaps at unexpected moments is not uncommon among people with above-average cognitive abilities (normally called “gifted”, of which there is a category that is simply called “genious”). That’s just the way such brains work. Instead of following the more common “highway system” way of thinking, gifted people’s thought processes are more like the internet. It’s that simple. Do we really need to mess it up by adding multiple “intelligences” and “geniouses”?
I’ve been playing around with Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences in my mind. First, they are the basis for Color Me Smart, my current children’s book manuscript, which I may (or may not) publish in 2012. Second, as I’ve been reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, I couldn’t help trying to categorize Jobs within the eight intelligence types.
When I’m working on my book, it is with a degree of certainty — children need to be recognized and encouraged for all kinds of abilities. Teaching the multiple intelligences framework to children and their caregivers should help us, as a society, to be more appreciative of children’s innate strengths. Further, we could then be expected to encourage a greater degree of excellence in education and production. But there is also a degree of uncertainty. Many children are multiply intelligent, and to typecast them could potentially limit others’ understanding of them. I…
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