Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Multiple intellegences

The other day, I heard about a mother telling her son’s class teacher, “You do realise, don’t you that my son doesn’t really know his multiplication tables. He just multiplies them and gives you the answer.”
The story sounded too hilarious to be true, but given how rote learning is so deeply ingrained in our education system, I could well believe it. The mother learnt her multiplication tables by rote, and could only think her son was failing in that endeavour when she noticed him transcending it.

With kids two years apart in age, I see it all the time. Even now, my older son struggles to comprehend number values, but the younger one can happily count any number of anything (upto 21 – till yesterday, he hadn’t learnt to go beyond that). Does that make the younger one smarter than the older one – I think not, because when the older one was the same age as the younger one now is, he could put together six piece jigsaw puzzles – the younger one struggles with three piece ones.
At a little over two and a half years of age, both my sons could identify song from the opening riff and could effortlessly sing entire songs – I still cannot do either. That doesn’t make them ‘better’ than their mother – we are just differently talented.

When I first heard about Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences, I was fascinated. But it is only now when I see my kids in action that I realise how much truth there is in the whole thing.

I have two wonderful kids. Everyone else has kids equally wonderful too.

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