Journeying, Storytelling & Spiritual Intelligence
by Michael Berman
'The Shaman and the Storyteller'
by Michael Berman
Before dealing with what has been called the third form of intelligence, it might be helpful to say a few words about the other two forms – IQ and EQ. IQ Tests were developed by Binet early in the 20 th century and were frequently used to assess the potential of children in schools until quite recently. Tests of this type, however, have now fallen into disrepute. All they test is linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence and this traditional definition of intelligence is now regarded as too narrow. The educational psychologist most responsible for this change of attitude is Howard Gardner, the creator of the Multiple Intelligence Theory.
Gardner’s work at the Boston University School of Medicine lead to the identification of eight criteria for the existence of intelligence types: potential isolation by brain damage, the existence of prodigies such as autistic savants, an identifiable set of core operations, a distinctive developmental history along with a definable set of expert end-state performances, an evolutionary history, support from experimental psychological tasks, support from psychometric findings, and susceptibility to an encoding symbol system. (see Gardner, 1983, for further details).
Gardner originally identified seven intelligence types which satisfy the above criteria and our intelligence profiles consist of combinations of the different types: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal – the way we relate to others, and intrapersonal – our ability to self-evaluate.
The term Emotional Intelligence, popularised by Daniel Goleman (1996), covers what Gardner refers to as interpersonal plus intrapersonal intelligence, sub-divided into five domains – knowing your emotions, managing your emotions, motivating yourself, recognizing emotions in others, and handling relationships.
Gardner refers to intelligences as potentials that will or will not be activated, depending upon the values of a particular culture, the opportunities available in that culture, and the personal decisions made by individuals, their families, schoolteachers, and others.
A student who believes that intelligence can be developed is likely to be persistent and adventurous. However, a learner who thinks that ability is fixed, is more likely to get upset when faced with failure as it can only be construed as evidence of inadequate ability. The fluid “theory” of intelligence advocated by Gardner encourages students to stretch themselves.
In his book “Intelligence Reframed” Gardner adds Naturalist Intelligence, our talent for classifying and categorising, to the original Magnificent Seven. He also speculates on the possibility of their being both a spiritual intelligence and an existential intelligence but comes to no definite conclusions. Danah Zohar, however, makes out a convincing case for their being a Spiritual Intelligence in “Spiritual Intelligence The Ultimate Intelligence” (2000) and the way in which this can be activated in the classroom will be the subject of this article.
Does the fact that we each have a unique profile mean that we should plan individual lessons for everyone in the class to take this into account? Clearly this would be impractical and the solution lies in including material designed to appeal to each of the types in every lesson we give. The table presented below lists classroom activities that cater for the different Intelligence types. However, this classification is clearly subjective and dependent on individual teaching styles. Moreover, it should also be pointed out that a number of the activities cater for more than one Intelligence type and could consequently be placed in more than one category.
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