Prepared by Michael J. Thomas
from simply the transmission of information to discussions about learning and student growth.Teaching can change from something that is done by individual teachers to a collaborative,collegial endeavor in which the entire faculty works and grows together. This philosophy(believing in MI really is a philosophy of education) also enables teachers to change the dialoguewith students' parents, both what is discussed and how it is discussed.5. The vision that I have described is true; I see it, elements of it each and every day where Iwork. I also hear about it from educators across the country who send me email messagesabout their progress. But it is also elusive. Indeed, the considerable
of an MI approachaside, it is precisely because MI is so difficult to attain that, realistically, I feel that its use willnever become the norm in most schools. However, the acceptance and use of MI has
over the last five years. (The faculty of New City School began pursuing MI in1988 and for quite a few years our efforts were treated with some skepticism, as if MI was anovelty, a fad. Fortunately, that has changed. For the past several years, more than 700educators have visited New City School each year and I receive between five and twenty emailseach week, from teachers and principals around the world, people I've not met, but people whoare interested in learning more about MI.) But still, despite this enthusiasm, the use of MI hasonly scratched the surface among educators.
6. Why is this? There are several
to the acceptance and use of MI:
1. Parents not seeing the value of an MI approach, not understanding how using MI can helptheir children to be successful.2. Educators, particularly administrators, being so focused on short-term gains and standardizedtest results that they only focus on the scholastic intelligences.3. Teachers being reluctant to expend the time and energy necessary to bring MI to life in theirclassrooms.Fortunately, each of these obstacles can be addressed.7. Parent education, something which should be highly valued in any school, becomes a majorpriority in an MI school. Because none of the students' parents will have attended an MI school,educators need to help them understand how the intelligences are used and that their childrenare learning. (Oddly, sometimes parents are the most
about the soundness of anacademic program because their children tell them that school is fun!) As logical and simple asall of these steps may sound, however, they are difficult to do. This is primarily because mosteducators don't appreciate the value of educating parents. Too often the parent-teacherrelationship becomes us vs. them. Teachers, often with justification, fear that more parentcommunications will lead to more parent criticism. And all too often, when teachers do try toinvolve and educate their students' parents, the parents do not respond.8. To each of these hesitations, I'd argue that an MI approach facilitates teacher-parentcommunication. Parents who are critical of schools are often so because they are wary. Simply