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Intelligence Reframed Review


Intelligence Reframed Book Review

Delilah Montecino
HD 305
Professor Hunter
June 15 20015

Intelligence Reframed Review


“What it means to be intelligent is a profound philosophical question,
one that requires grounding in biological, physical and mathematical
knowledge” (Gardner 1999, p.22). It is clear from his writing that Gardner
does not value any-one intelligence over the other, I enjoyed reading this
book but it was not quite what I expected it to be when I selected it. I
thought that there would be more exploration of the original eight
intelligences that Gardner put forth in his book Frames of Mind. In
Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century Gardener
explores the possibility of 3 new intelligences, I found those chapters very
interesting. Overall I agree with Gardner (1999) that everyone’s minds are
different and process knowledge in different ways, that standardize tests do
not test the full range of human intelligences and the importance of “genetic
and environmental interactions” on intelligence (p.87).
In chapter 2 of Intelligence Reframed, Gardner (1999) points out “some
investigators believe that nervous systems differ from one another in the
speed and efficiency of neural signaling, and that this characteristic may
underlie differences in individuals’ measured intelligence” (p.20). I thought
that this was a very interesting idea; if each individual’s brain works
differently and at different rates it would not be a leap, at least in my
opinion, to imagine those differences in brain functioning and processing to
result in multiple intelligences. It is not easy to observe the subtle
differences of individuals’ brain functions and certainly the layperson would
find it difficult to observe how those differences result in different types of

Intelligence Reframed Review


thinking or problem solving. Something that is very observable is that we all
“obviously look different from one another and have different personalities
and temperaments”(Gardner 1999, p.150). Even within immediate families
we all look different, with the exception of identical twins, I agree with
Gardner that it would stand to reason that our intelligences can be just as
varied as our appearances.
In chapter 9 of Intelligence Reframed, Gardner (1999) explores the
implications of multiple intelligences in schools and brings up the idea of
individually configured education (p.151). I think that this is an important
chapter because many of us in this class are educators, would be educators
or in some other way working with children/adolescents. Gardner (1999) says
that educators have the difficult decision of ignoring the cognitive differences
or embracing them (p.150). In the Q & A portion of his book Gardner (1999)
tackled the question of whether or not each intelligence could be infinitely
broken down into sub categories his response was that more categories
“might be more accurate scientifically, but the construct would then be
unwieldy for educational uses” (p. 103). As we discussed the first week of
class theories are tools to help educators and are of no use if educators don’t
understand them and cannot transition theory into practice.
Gardner (1999) also presented the idea of individually configured
education for all children, writing that the key ingredient would be educators
taking time to really know each individual student, “ [their] backgrounds,
strengths, interest, preferences, anxieties, experiences and goals, not to

Intelligence Reframed Review


stereo-type or preordain” (p.151). He presented some strategies that could
possibly aid such an endeavor, for instance he suggested that there should
be more “flexibility” in teachers-students assignments. That flexibility would
hopefully allow for better matches between teaching and learning styles.
(Gardner 1999, p.153) Another suggestion that Gardner made that I strongly
agree with is that teachers and students should be paired for several years
to allow them to get to know each other (Gardner 1999, p.153). I have heard
this suggested before and have always thought it was a good idea and I
often wonder why there has been no major attempt at making this happen,
especially in elementary school. We learn from theorist including Piaget that
attachment to parents and care givers in infancy/early childhood is crucial for
a child’s survival and learning but once that child enters the public education
system they are forced to learn the styles of and bond with a new educator
year after year. I would imagine that pairing teachers with a group of
students for several years would also be beneficial for teachers, giving them
longer periods of time to get to know their students and to derive effective
strategies for teaching a particular group.
I also agreed with Gardner’s (1999) take on intelligence test and
standardize testing, “I value conceptual understanding over accumulation of
facts…By the same token, I have a low regard for the use of standardize
short-answer machine-scored instruments” (p.114). Gardner (1999) points to
the fact that intelligence test have been criticized for being bias and only
testing a limited range of intelligences, especially linguistic and

Intelligence Reframed Review


mathematical knowledge (p.17-19). It has also been pointed out that typical
intelligence test are culturally bias, Gardner (1999) points to experts who
suggest that for a truly accurate test of intelligence one must “look at a
culture’s popular theory of intellect and to devise measures or observations
that catch such forms of thinking on the fly” (p.19).
Gardner (1999) did not look at nature and nurture as competing for
responsibility of a given intelligence, instead he thought that it was a
“constant and dynamic interaction” between genes and the environment
(p.87). Intelligence is described as a “biopsychological potential to process
information that can be activated in a cultural setting”(Garner 1999, p. 34).
Just because a person is inclined to a particular intelligence does not mean
that they will be raised in a time, culture or environment that will support
and nurture that intelligence. “Even people who seem gifted in a particular
intelligence or domain will accomplish little if they are not exposed to
materials that engage the intelligence” (Gardner 1999, p.88). I think that is
important for teachers to keep that in mind when devising lessons that will
hopefully stimulate a variety of intelligences and skills.
I thought that Intelligence Reframed was a fascinating book. I agreed
with many the ideas that Gardner presented; especially that everyone’s
minds have different strengths and weaknesses that result from an intricate
interaction between environment and genetics and that IQ/standardized test
do a poor job at identifying the various intelligences that result. I found the
chapter on leadership to be a little out of place at least for exploring the

Intelligence Reframed Review
cognition of children/adolescents. After reading this book I’m motivated to
read Frames of Mind, I think that it would be a little more on par with what I
was expecting from this book.