are the critics of this theory and what do they say?
E.D. Hirsch Jr., author of CULTURAL LITERACY: WHAT EVERY AMERICAN
NEEDS TO KNOW (1988), and others have argued that multiple intelligence
theory doesn't encourage educators to teach "core knowledge"
-- a common collection of "essential facts that every American
needs to know."
Hirsch and Gardner most recently "debated" the state of education
today in the New York Times (9/11/99). Each submitted an article
responding to the issue of what and how students should be taught.
You can find information about the article in the M.I.
Resources section of this workshop.
Responding to advocates of core cultural knowledge, Gardner
proposes that the K-12 curriculum be organized around the most
fundamental questions of existence. Possible courses of study
that he recommends would examine in depth profound topics such
as Darwin's theory of evolution and the Holocaust. In his book
THE DISCIPLINED MIND: WHAT ALL STUDENTS SHOULD UNDERSTAND, Gardner
writes, "students should probe with sufficient depth a manageable
set of examples so that they come to see how one thinks and acts
in the manner of a scientist, a geometer, an artist, an historian."
Advocates of psychometric evaluation who criticize M.I. include
Linda S. Gottfredson, Richard Lynn, Hans Eysenck, and Charles
Murray. Linda Gottfredson, a sociologist by training, is currently
professor of educational studies at the University of Delaware.
She states that most mainstream psychologists have concluded that
there is such a thing as "g", or general intelligence. In other
words, Gottfredson argues that all of us do differ in intelligence
and this difference can be scrupulously measured.
Critics of the theory say that:
- It's not new. Critics of multiple intelligence theory maintain
that Gardner's work isn't groundbreaking -- that what he
calls "intelligences" are primary abilities that educators
and cognitive psychologists have always acknowledged.
- It isn't well defined. Some critics wonder if the number of
"intelligences" will continue to increase. These opposing
theorists believe that notions such as bodily-kinesthetic or
musical ability represent individual aptitude or talent
rather than intelligence. Critics also believe that M.I.
theory lacks the rigor and precision of a real science.
Gardner claims that it would be impossible to guarantee a
definitive list of intelligences.
- It's culturally embedded. M.I. theory states that one's
culture plays an important role in determining the strengths
and weaknesses of one's intelligences. Critics counter that
intelligence is revealed when an individual must confront an
unfamiliar task in an unfamiliar environment.
- It defeats National Standards. Widespread adoption of multiple
intelligence pedagogy would make it difficult to compare and
classify students' skills and abilities across classrooms.
- It is impractical. Educators faced with overcrowded
classrooms and lack of resources see multiple intelligence theory
Workshop: Tapping Into Multiple Intelligences
Explanation | Demonstration | Exploration | Implementation | Get Credit
Concept to Classroom | About the Series | Resources | Sitemap | Credits
Thirteen | Thirteen Ed Online | thirteencelebration.org
© 2004 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.