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Course One: Education for the New

Unit 1: Aspects of Good Teaching
Bringing New Ideas into the Classroom
A Different Perspective
Real Tasks/Consequences
The 21st century marks the beginning of some key changes in education:


regional views to global views

covering the material to uncovering the material
passive receipt of information to active inquiry
a product orientation to process orientation
compliance and competition to collaboration and inquiry.

It used to be, too, that if one mastered a body of material and memorized
facts, one would be considered a master as well. Some hold strongly to the
belief that standards would be lowered if creativity, innovation,
experimentation, and playfulness were introduced into the curriculum. This
view has held that there is a finite amount to know, and the one who
accumulates the most will succeed.
An educated person, however, is more than the sum of facts; she is able to
think, to solve problems, and to collaborate on new approaches. An educated
person relies on research and experience to uncover new questions, rather
than simply cover the material. This requires an active and imaginative mind,
an appreciation for risk and inquiry, and an ability to learn from one's
Research has borne out that engaged students and teachers learn better and
retain more, for longer periods of time. Engaged students in a sequenced
program enjoy learning from each other, stay in school longer, and perform
better on national standardized tests.
We tend to think of these views by remembering the name of a person: Dr.
CROSS. Each letter stands for education that meets the needs of children and
inspires learning:
Discovery: Learning to uncover information and use it.
Risk: Taking a chance and learning from mistakes.

Collaboration: Using the value of the group to enhance learning and pool
Real Tasks with Real Consequences: Providing opportunities to take on and be
held accountable to challenges.
Originality: Moving beyond passive seat time to active learning in the
community, out of doors, through one's own exploration of interests.
Skills: Connecting all curricula to national standards and educated
Service: Using education in a way that meets the needs of one's society.
There are several kinds of teachers and several cultural, political, regional
contexts. The ambitious task of preparing teachers for the 21st century
requires that we provide the best information possible so that we may make
our contribution towards a sustainable future for all generations.
Supplementary Reading:
Education 2050
by Dee Dickinson
When I imagine the best ways to educate children, I am always
drawn to a vision of communities built around the concept of
learning at the very heart. It is a costly vision, rich with ideals.
But as caring for our youth - as well as the need for lifelong
learning - move higher on our social agendas, I know it can
become a reality in the decades ahead. I know this because my
vision is based on seeds being planted today at schools
throughout the world, seeds that are already bearing some fruit.
In this vision, education begins in the home, supported by early
childhood/parenting centers. These programs might be inspired
by the pioneering Family and Intelligence projects in Venezuela,
the remarkable early childhood schools of Reggio Emilia in Italy,
or Parents as Teachers and other fine parent-education and
preschool programs in the United States. Future community
learning centers with supportive child/family services might
replace today's traditional schools, and "lighthouses of
knowledge," inspired by those in Curitiba, Brazil, might evolve
from existing public libraries. New, low-cost educational
technologies are already becoming more available throughout
the world.
What follows then is my vision of the places, teachers, and
technologies that will educate our children - and ourselves some 50 years from now. I'll start my tour with the newer
educational structures - for adults and parents - and then will
move on to the childs classroom of the future.
Welcome first to a Lighthouse of Knowledge, a large, modern
facility once known as the local library but that has transformed
into a community focal point. It is made of transparent,
shatterproof material. Like glasses that darken in the sunlight,
the windows here cut glare when the sun is shining, but
otherwise let light pour in. As you can imagine, when the
lighthouses in all neighborhoods are lit up at night, the view is
inspiring. Open twenty-four hours a day year round, Lighthouses

are accessible to everyone and many of the resources are free -a library of real books (some people still like the feel and smell),
databases of electronic books, access to the Internet, satellite
broadcast studios and receivers, multicast facilities, rooms for
shared virtual realities and other resources related to finding
information and turning it into knowledge throughout life. Each
lighthouse-keeper is in charge of maintaining a comprehensive
database of all the educational resources in the community, as
well as booking uses of the facility. Businesses and individual
entrepreneurs rent space for telework and electronic meetings
or use the technologies for specialty training and distance
learning. Those fees support the facility, and make space
available for non-profits at low cost.
There are also special classrooms used by the Global University,
the name that has emerged for adult learning programs, which
have become a part of almost every workers life. Even though
much of the learning is now electronic and connects students to
experts throughout the world, there is still a need and desire for
learners to collaborate with each other. They frequently meet in
small learning teams, but also use Lighthouses for meeting
virtually with students from other parts of the country or from
anywhere in the world. Simultaneous translation is available for
those who do not share a common language. The facilities
include rooms with interactive video walls so distant students
can see each other as they share information, collaborate on
projects, and learn together.
In every neighborhood, early childhood/parenting centers have
been created that are free and easily accessible. The first years
of life are critically important to healthy physical, emotional, and
mental development, as it is during these years that the
foundation of successful learning is laid. Because of this
understanding, these centers have become an essential part of
the educational system and have resulted in more children
coming into school with the skills they need to learn
Prospective parents are urged through all the media to take free
parent prep classes in the centers, usually in the evenings.
Neonatal and early childhood specialists offer information and
practice on the importance of nutrition, love, sensitive sensory
stimulation, exercise, and social interaction. In essence, parents
and other caregivers learn how to create optimal conditions for
their children's healthy, happy development. During the day,
parents may visit the centers to observe children at various
stages of development as well as to participate in programs with
their own children. Day care is also provided, and for parents
who have not been able to attend classes, there are daily
programs on interactive digital television that also provide
access to databases of relevant information and links to World
Wide websites that offer on-demand guidance.

Parents and other caregivers bring babies and toddlers to the

centers periodically, to learn the best ways to nurture and help
them develop. Children with physical, cognitive, or emotional
challenges are identified early and helped through wellintegrated social and health services on site. There are early
childhood programs that prepare children aged 3 to 5 to be
successful academic learners, mostly through play and
exploration. Many of the centers are located near retirement
homes, and that's a great source of joy for both the children and
the elderly. There is much loving care, active play both inside
and outdoors, dancing, music, storytelling, and other human
interaction in stimulating, multisensory environments. But
because they might pose risks to rapidly developing
neurological systems, no screen technologies are used with the
very young. These will be introduced later.
Over the years, there has been increasing demand by parents
for more choice in the kinds of schools available to their
children. In our future scenario, this goal has been achieved.
Most children from age 6 to 16 attend community learning
centers that take many different forms. For example, some may
be located in museums; others may be connected to farms or
greenhouses that produce healthful fruits and vegetables for the
centers. Some may be located in workplaces or near theaters or
hospitals or connected to churches. Some look like malls in the
center of the community, to connect more directly with its
What is certain is that few look like the large, factory-model
schools of today. Each community learning center has been
designed in response to the needs, interests, and preferences of
the community it serves. The centers are part of a public,
decentralized educational system operated by neighborhood
councils in collaboration with a coordinator for each. Standards
for all the centers, however, are set nationally, and most
students meet or exceed them. There are elementary programs
for 6- to 12-year-olds as well as a broad variety of educational
programs for teenagers, and children with special interests may
be accommodated even though they live outside the district.
As in the early childhood/parenting centers, there are support
services on-site to identify problems early and provide
intervention. Unlike today's fragmented support services,
health, social service, and welfare agencies have integrated
their efforts through collaborative, continually updated
databases and websites, assuring continuity and continuation of
help as needed.
The centers are open 18 hours a day year-round and have
extended-day programs for both students and adults. Parenting
groups meet regularly to learn about and discuss the rapidly
developing minds, emotions, and bodies of children age 6
through adolescence, and how best to help them develop to
their fullest potential. The centers include job exploration and

training programs, branches of social service agencies and

health clinics, and recreational facilities that may include
theaters, galleries, art studios, gyms, swimming pools, and ball
courts. Income from adult or family use in the evening and on
weekends and holidays helps to support the facilities.
At the turn of the millennium, some people thought that in the
future there would be no need for schools as a result of new
technologies that would be developed. If people of all ages
could learn anything on any subject through interactive digital
TV, videos, teleputers, the Internet, or virtual reality systems,
why have schools with walls at all? Most parents, however,
whether they are working outside the home or not, wish to have
their children with other youngsters in caring, educational
environments. Also, most human beings are by nature social
and learn best with human interaction, although new
technologies offer additional opportunities for individualized
By mid-century, there are electronic personal tutors, or EPTs,
that are so sensitive to the user that they can interpret facial
expressions and sense mood, confidence, or anxiety level and
offer appropriate help. Students will learn at their own pace, and
as they do the work or answer questions, the EPTs offer new
material close enough to the students' level so that they can
succeed, but just a bit beyond so that they are constantly
challenged. With these technologies in the learning rooms,
learning specialists--who used to be called teachers--are able to
work closely with small groups of students.
Consider a community learning center that is adjacent to a
visual and performing arts facility. Here, students concentrate
on acquiring knowledge and skills individually with a variety of
electronic devices or in groups facilitated by learning specialists
or older students. There is also a virtual library of experts
available to both students and specialists. Math and science
skills may be applied to home or community projects, business
enterprises, or environmental conservation. Writing and
speaking skills may be applied to projects such as news
broadcasts to the community, communicating with learning
partners locally or abroad, or writing books for younger children.
Working with visual arts, music, dance, drama, and a great
variety of materials and manipulatives helps make abstract
ideas more easily understandable.
Students in these centers gain knowledge in the humanities
(including the history of human beings with their arts and
communication skills), sciences (including the history of the
Earth and its current state), math (including various methods of
problem-solving), and physical education (including a variety of
sports and physical exercise as well as nutrition and health
education). They learn these subjects individually as well as in
groups through inquiry-based projects and broad themes that
provide the context for understanding and learning. Discussions
of social, environmental, and economic issues on both local and
world levels often lead to personal or collective action. The

supportive environment plus powerful technologies and

interactive learning make it possible for students to master
basic skills and knowledge and move on to using them in
practical and creative ways.
There is much emphasis on developing interpersonal skills, as
students learn to work collaboratively, and attention is paid to
creating an environment that facilitates the development of
ethical, moral, and responsible behavior. Because students with
different abilities and disabilities learn together, they have rich
opportunities to learn empathy and compassion and an
understanding of others. Challenges are often given that require
wise and responsible decision making in such activities as
student government.
Imagine a group of elementary-aged youngsters in one of the
center's interactive learning rooms. Each room can be adapted
to a current theme, which in this case is the study of marine
environments. Do you hear Debussy's "La Mer" playing softly in
the background? On one wall is a digital video image of the
ocean, including sound and smell as well as linked databases
and websites accessible on the students' computers. In front of
the video the children have hung their mobiles of various kinds
of sea life, and overhead are their mobiles of seabirds. On the
opposite wall are projections of famous sea paintings from
different periods of history. Some of the children are painting a
mural of undersea life, and others are working at their
teleputers, researching and producing multimedia reports on
various marine topics. Some are working with augmented reality
programs, studying ocean currents with flow patterns
superimposed over the images of waves. And there is a stage on
which this evening there will be a community performance of
"Dance of the Tectonic Plates," choreographed, costumed, and
with sets by the students. As an introduction to the
performance, four students will present a multimedia
explanation of the tectonic system, along with images and
current data from different parts of the world. By the window is
a small group of students reviewing their work and planning
their next project with a learning specialist.
For the last hour of class today, the video sea wall will link to
Neptune IV for a virtual visit to the deep-sea floor observatory
off the northwestern coast of the United States. This research
project was created in the early 21st century to study newly
discovered forms of life in volcanic vents, or "black smokers." As
part of a search for the earliest life on Earth, the project has now
gone far beyond that. The students and scientists will compare
what they know about the microorganisms called archaea, or
"ancient ones," with new data coming in about organisms in the
sea on Europa, one of Jupiter's moons. The youngsters are
learning about how scientists merge research from the our
oceans with that from outer space, a topic that will tie into the
next theme 6 weeks hence. At that time, the students and
learning specialists will work together to transform the

interactive learning room into a planetarium with mobiles of the

planets and projections of the solar system on the walls and
overhead. Can you imagine Holst's music "The Planets" playing
in the background?
Learning specialists are held in high esteem in the community
and are paid accordingly. No longer the primary sources and
purveyors of information, their role in educating has expanded
and become even more creative and interesting. In addition to
having degrees in specific subjects, their training includes
studies in the neurosciences, human development, and the most
advanced educational strategies from around the world.
Because the learning centers operate year-round, there is time
to take one day a week for the specialists to learn, plan, and
share ideas and materials. During that day, the students go on
field trips, do special projects, work on remedial or advanced
studies, or do community service projects.
The specialists play an important role in inspiring, guiding, and
facilitating learning, but as students learn to use the infinite
resources available to them through new technologies, they
become increasingly independent. They also learn the
importance of interdependence--in meeting rooms or on the
Internet, in real laboratories or in virtual labs, in art studios or in
museums, in gyms or in gardens, in the wilderness or in
exploratoriums, and in the community itself. Students clearly
have enormous freedom and choice, but they also learn to take
responsibility for their own progress.
The students may be at different levels in different subjects, and
they are often with students of different ages, including adults,
who are welcome. The students move through levels of
expertise, from beginner to accomplished, and at any age, when
they are ready, they can advance. There are also many
exchange programs in other countries, and most centers have
foreign students on similar programs subsidized by foundations
and businesses. There are ongoing assessments that offer
timely feedback to guide learners as well as the specialists'
instructional practice. The assessments are part of the
curriculum, are usually active demonstrations of achievement,
and go far beyond assessing memorization and recall to reveal
whether students have understood and can apply what they
have learned. For example, a learning experience might
culminate in a presentation for the community, a multimedia
report, a dramatic performance, or teaching other students or
even adults, as is often the case in introducing new
There are still children with learning problems, but they can be
helped by diagnosticians skilled at observation, who may use
such new technologies as advanced, low-cost magnetic
resonance imaging devices that make it possible to observe the
brain while it is in the process of thinking. These tools assist the
diagnostician in making recommendations for appropriate help
with tutors, remedial techniques in the learning room, or
innovative learning technologies. A great variety of intuitive,

adaptive technologies are also available for the physically

challenged, including the sight- or hearing-impaired. All
community centers depend on trained community volunteers
who assist in remediation and help the learning specialists in
many ways. Students have mentors or advisors with whom they
meet weekly.
Students of all ages maintain personal websites that include
information on their learning styles; their strengths and areas
that need improvement; academic progress and projects;
portfolios of representative work; video interviews with learning
facilitators, peers, and parents; and goals for the future. The
websites also provide another means for assessing academic
achievement, and they are updated throughout the years until
students are ready to go into the adult world.
All secondary students do volunteer work while they are
learning. In the process, they have opportunities to apply what
they have learned as well as to develop other practical skills. As
part of a teen transition program, students do a research project
in the community or beyond to see what resources are available
and what needs may be unmet. Then with fellow students--or
even peers in other countries--who have common interests, they
design a project that may become a new resource for the
community or even a small business. These projects and the
products or services they produce must be approved as
contributing to the health and well-being of the community they
serve. There have been programs like these for many years, but
new technologies open fresh fields and make it easier to keep
records of accomplishment.
This vision is not based on my own idle daydreams. For the past
20 years, through an international education network called New
Horizons for Learning, we have been seeking out the most
effective ways of helping people to learn at all ages and ability
levels. We have gathered information from educators,
researchers, parents, and policymakers in our own country and
around the world. What we have discovered is that educators
everywhere face similar problems--and are reaching similar
conclusions about potential solutions.
For example:

Students who come from impoverished environments

find it difficult to achieve academically without
expanded, integrated support services. Schools alone
cannot meet the needs of these students.
When children of normal intelligence enter school
without the ability to learn successfully, it appears that
parent and early childhood education have become
critically important.
Students of different social, cultural, economic, and
educational backgrounds have different ways of learning,

so educators must expand their array of teaching

methods to reach all students effectively.
In this time, when rapid change affects every kind of
work and every social institution, education must
become a lifelong process.
As new technologies continue to connect our increasingly
interdependent world, it is critically important for
students to develop technological know-how and to have
steady access to the technologies.

Although many teachers are dealing successfully with these

challenges, too many educators and policymakers are spending
fruitless time and energy debating details of educational
practice, such as whether phonics or whole language is the
superior method and whether pure math skills are more or less
important than problem-solving skills (might it not be "both/and"
instead of "either/or"?). Meanwhile, students are dropping out or
graduating without literacy, the skills to be self-sufficient, or the
ability to work with others. Private charter schools may well
cause the public system of education to become further
segregated by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and
student performance, as has happened over time in New
Zealand and other countries that have similar ratios of minority
populations as the United States.
Anxious to improve the system, policymakers and educational
planners have created new academic standards and tests that
are simplistic solutions to a complex problem. Educators are
feeling intense pressure from policymakers, parents,
businesspeople, and other stakeholders in this highaccountability environment. It is important, however, to
recognize that educational systems are not the only solution to
problems that spring largely from social, economic, and
environmental changes. It is also essential that both teachers
and students are equipped with the tools to achieve at higher
Numerous crises have raised the level of urgency: violence in
the schools, disconnected communities, growing economic
disparity, a pervading sense of helplessness over our futures.
Moreover, new technologies are emerging at a speed that is
surpassing our ability to understand how best to use them
wisely and responsibly. This newest challenge has resulted in
intense, meaningful discussions of what it means to be human-how to develop altruism and compassion, and how to foresee
the consequences of our actions.
All of these challenges bear directly on how best to educate and
prepare young people to become responsible, contributing
members of society. There is now a call not just for restructuring
but for a real transformation of education.
We have all the knowledge and tools we need to create an
effective system that can help meet the needs of today's and
tomorrow's students. In some ways, the community learning

centers that we imagine are not so different from some of the

innovative educational systems emerging today. We have
already seen many new interactive technologies along with a
renaissance of the arts in education, hands-on projects, inquirybased learning, cooperative learning, internships, and
community service projects that deeply engage students and
result in academic achievement.
Throughout this country and the world, there are exemplary
classrooms and schools that incorporate the most effective
educational practices. But there must be a collective will to
bring about the transformation of whole systems based on new
understandings of the brain/mind/body system and how it
learns; new technologies; more choices in educational facilities;
and the integration of child/family services.
Educators are beginning to pay attention to the importance of
the first three years of life, new research from the
neurosciences, and studies in human development. An Institute
for Mind, Brain, and Learning is being developed to train
educators. Instruction is becoming more individualized as
teachers learn how to meet the needs of a broader spectrum of
individual differences through recognizing different ways of
learning or different intelligences. These include not only verbal
and logical-mathematical intelligence, but also visual-spatial,
bodily-kinesthetic, musical, naturalist, interpersonal, and
intrapersonal intelligences, as identified in Howard Gardner's
Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
More educators are beginning to understand as well that
emotional intelligence is even more important to success in
school and in life than IQ, and they are not only discussing but
learning how to include the spiritual in education. In essence,
they are beginning to focus on how to create a system that
engages students emotionally, cognitively, physically, socially,
and spiritually in a humane environment.
Finally, our world now has a telecommunications infrastructure
that can support a quantum leap in learning and collective
intelligence, and more of us have learned that we can work
together as a global community of learners.
How we use these powerful new tools will determine the course
of the future. Now more than ever, parents and communities
must work together with educational systems to create the
vision and means for present and future generations to live in a
healthier, more peaceful, wiser world. "And at the end of all our
exploring," wrote T. S. Eliot, "will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time."
Education 2050 was written by Dee Dickinson for Imagine: What America Could
be in the 21st Century (Rodale Books, 2000), a collection of original essays from
leading authors, academics, and activists on their visions of a better America,
and what can be done to turn these visions into reality. Imagine, which was
edited by Marianne Williamson, will be in bookstores this November wherever
books are sold. All author proceeds go to the Global Renaissance Alliance, a
nonprofit network of citizen groups interested in spiritual-based activism.


Education 2050 by Dee Dickinson:

Defining Terms
Global Education vs. Education that is Global; Traditional vs.
Teachers Without Borders is not about global education as the accumulation of
facts about the world or geography lessons. While these are, indeed,
important, we are focused on education that is global in the encompassing of
methodologies that treat the whole child and emphasize the exploration of the
subject as whole.
Another highlight is the difference between traditional and tradition. Alfred
North Whitehead made this distinction clear: He defined traditional as the
dead ideas of the living. He defined tradition as the living ideas of the dead
- a nice distinction and a guide. No one wants to eliminate the masterpieces of
bygone eras or dismiss one's history for the sake of the newest, especially
untested, trends.
An educated person in the 21st century remembers and appreciates history,
while simultaneously embracing the present. In fact, anything sustainable
protects the future by grounding it in the past. Our courses reflect wisdom,
whether that comes from the villager relying on oral tradition, or the scholar
relying upon the written tradition of text and context.
Teachers Without Borders respects tradition and indigenous learning. We
consider the cultural aspects of a society as one of its pillars. We want to
emphasize, therefore, the importance of the contributions that come from
societies that may not have a written language or contemporary technological
devices. A 21st-century education, therefore, should not be substituted for
modern, better or western. It follows that a 21st-century education
celebrates and enhances wisdom wherever and whenever it takes place.

Aspects of Good Teaching

There is plenty of theory out there and you should know it. Great teaching,
however, is not about theory, but practice. Theory should inform what you do,
but more than anything else it should be integrated so that it is natural.
Teachers Without Borders has turned theory into advice (teacher-to-teacher),
and we have summarized it below, simply and clearly:
Focus on the students, not you. You are not an expert in charge of giving
students the pill of knowledge. It does not work that way. In planning your
lessons, think of what the students will do, how they will discover, engage
with, and use information, not how you will perform.
Focus on who your students are. As the saying goes, It's who you know.
The word education comes from the Latin word educare meaning to grow
and to rear. That is what you are doing. The teachers and parents who know
their children best are the most effective. There is a big difference between
just knowing about a child, and truly knowing him or her. The difference is the
gap between mediocrity and excellence. Your classroom, your assignments,


and your nature should give rise to the conditions that make knowing children
a priority.
Make it safe. Education is not about challenging the core of who one is, but
about challenging ideas. We cannot think when we are frightened. Your
classroom and environment must be free of intimidation. (As TWB has stressed
before, if you ever strike a child, you shall be removed from this course of
study.) Many times, intimidation comes from a remark that destroys a child's
willingness to learn. Never embarrass a child in public.
Show, Don't Tell. There are many dimensions to this. Good writing, for
instance, describes a crisp fall day by providing images of crimson and yellow
leaves, the warm smell of bread baking, the crunch of snow under one's feet.
Telling is top down. Showing is bottom up. That's the theme here. In terms
of teaching, show students where they are going, what they need to
accomplish. Then show them how to get there. Provide examples. Model it. Use
it. Make it clear and real what it is they need to know in order to get there. Are
you teaching physics? Then show them the principle at work; show them the
dynamics; get them to figure out how and why.
Break it down, but don't break it apart. Great teachers make the
unfamiliar familiar again. Sometimes a concept is overwhelming. If that is the
case, start with the foundation and work your way up. People need to
understand the story where it starts, where it is headed, and what it will look
like in the end. It is important, then, to make things clear enough in small
chunks, so that people can put together the pieces of the puzzle. Curriculum
and teaching need a beginning, a middle, and an end. Get students engaged,
direct them towards understanding, and show them how and why the lessons
are valuable.
Tell the truth. Many teachers believe that if they don't have all the answers,
they're worthless. No one has all the answers. If you answer a student with I
don't know, perhaps you can also extend it to Let's find out. Guide your
students to become collaborators in their own learning and co-explorers, with
you, in the classroom. Invite them to be subject matter experts. Students need
authenticity, not awe.
Make it human. In designing curriculum, find out what makes people relate
to it. Mathematics was invented for a reason, so describe a problem it can
solve a real one. All great teaching makes complex ideas clear by tying the
abstract to a human enterprise.
Emphasize what you want students to remember. Go for depth, rather
than breadth. Play with the important points by introducing different ways of
going about understanding the key issues. (More on this later, in the section on
Learning Styles.) For now, focus on what, at the end of the day, students can
identify as the core of the lesson what they will remember. When all the
hacking away at the clay has been completed, what is the elegant sculpted
piece that results?
Questions are as good as answers. Good questions require thinking. Nobel
Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel is reported to have come home from school one
day and sat near his mother at the kitchen table. Instead of asking him How
did you do? or What grade did you get?, his mother asked him, Did you ask
any good questions today? Questions probe. Answers come from study and


should themselves be the stimulus for even greater and more extensive
Less is more. We are not suggesting that you teach less, but teach more by
talking less. When you ask a question, don't dive in and answer it if you don't
get something back immediately. Cherish the thinking time. Listen. Pay
attention to how students are feeling, grappling with the material, treating
each other.
Give students an opportunity to teach. We all know this to be true:
teaching is not separate from learning. Since that is the case, let us not
reserve teaching for teachers alone. Allow opportunities for students to
become experts in an area and to share their expertise. Provide chances for
older or more competent students to tutor younger or less competent ones.
Think about how athletic coaches and artists work. The coach
demonstrates what she knows, explains the rules, gives the student an
opportunity to practice, provides feedback, and puts the student into real-life
situations. So should a teacher. The artist assembles materials, conceives of
the piece, works at it in stages, and collects the work for critique. So should
the teacher. The athletic coach and the artist are non-traditional teachers, and
they have a great deal to offer all of us. Their techniques are the key to many
students who would otherwise not grasp the material from traditional lectures
or handouts.

Course One: Education for the New

Unit 2: Theory for the New Millennium
Piaget, Erikson, and Constructivism
Swiss biologist and psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) is renowned for
constructing a highly influential model of child development and learning.
Piaget's theory is based on the idea that the developing child builds cognitive
structures in other words, mental maps, schemes, or networked concepts


for understanding and responding to physical experiences within his or her

environment. Piaget further attested that a child's cognitive structure
increases in sophistication with development, moving from a few innate
reflexes such as crying and sucking to highly complex mental activities.
Piaget's theory identifies four developmental stages and the processes by
which children progress through them. The four stages are:
1) Sensorimotor stage (birth - 2 years old). The child, through physical
interaction with his or her environment, builds a set of concepts about reality
and how it works. This is the stage where a child does not know that physical
objects remain in existence even when out of sight (object permanence).
2) Preoperational stage (ages 2-7). The child is not yet able to conceptualize
abstractly and needs concrete physical situations.
3) Concrete operations (ages 7-11). As physical experience accumulates,
the child starts to conceptualize, creating logical structures that explain his or
her physical experiences. Abstract problem solving is also possible at this
stage. For example, arithmetic equations can be solved with numbers, not just
with objects.
4) Formal operations (beginning at ages 11-15). By this point, the child's
cognitive structures are like those of an adult and include conceptual
Piaget outlined several principles for building cognitive structures. During all
development stages, the child experiences his or her environment using
whatever mental maps he or she has constructed so far. If the experience is a
repeated one, it fits easily or is assimilated into the child's cognitive
structure so that he or she maintains mental equilibrium. If the experience is
different or new, the child loses equilibrium, and alters his or her cognitive
structure to accommodate the new conditions. This way, the child erects more
and more adequate cognitive structures.

How Piaget's Theory Impacts Learning

Curriculum: Educators must plan a developmentally-appropriate curriculum
that enhances their students' logical and conceptual growth.
Instruction: Teachers must emphasize the critical role that experiences or
interactions with the surrounding environment play in student learning. For
example, instructors have to take into account the role that fundamental
concepts, such as the permanence of objects, play in establishing cognitive

Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson (1902 1994) describes the physical, emotional,
and psychological stages of human development, and relates specific issues,
or developmental work or tasks to each stage.
Infant (Trust vs. Mistrust)
The child needs maximum comfort with minimal uncertainty to trust
himself/herself, others, and the environment. It is essential to create an


atmosphere of care a sense that a child feels she exists in the world and is
Toddler (Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt)
The child works to master physical environment while maintaining self-esteem.
Here, the toddler wants to be a whole person, ready to take on the world, and
moves past immediate rewards and punishments. This is the beginning of the
child's realization that he is a person who has rights. It is essential, at this
stage, to give some choices while ensuring that rules are followed and that
adults are in charge. The child will make some unsafe gestures and decisions,
so it is important for caregivers to be vigilant.
Preschooler (Initiative vs. Guilt)
The child begins to initiate, not imitate, activities; develops conscience and
sexual identity. She realizes that she can begin an activity, not just be told
what to do. The child begins to make some sense of right and wrong. It is
important to talk with the child calmly and with reason in the process of
helping her develop a sense of moral judgment.
School-Age Child (Industry vs. Inferiority)
The child tries to develop a sense of self-worth by refining skills. A school-age
child learns to distinguish between himself and the others in terms of
judgment. What am I good at? How am I doing? It is here that the child begins
to try different activities to test some theories about who he is. It is important
to provide an atmosphere of trust, experimentation, and praise for
accomplishments, while minimizing competition between students which could
result in lowered self-esteem.
Adolescent (Identity vs. Role Confusion)
Adolescents try integrating many roles (child, sibling, student, athlete, worker)
into a self-image, taking into consideration other adults and other adolescents.
Around the world, adolescence is not an easy task. It is a time of resistance
against parents and teachers in order to distinguish oneself. Risk-taking can be
much more dangerous. The role of identity is crucial here, and it is important
for students to see the consequences of their behavior, rather than for parents
or teachers to protect them from life. At the same time, their intellectual
abilities are blossoming, and so it is quite important to respect the
intelligences of adolescents. Finally, we must provide them with opportunities
that stir their hearts such as service to others. The results will be a vital,
active, interested young person who stands behind her beliefs and who tries
Young Adult (Intimacy vs.Isolation)
Young adults learn to make personal commitment to another as spouse,
parent, or partner. At this time, college-age students are beginning to see who
they are and what they can do. They think about long-term commitments and
about their identity a definition for and of themselves. It is important to
listen carefully and, as a caretaker still, respect their ability to make their own
Middle-Age Adult (Generativity vs Stagnation)
Adults seek satisfaction through productivity in career, family, and civic
Older Adult (Integrity vs. Despair)


Older adults review life accomplishments, deal with loss, and with preparation
for death.

The latest catchword in educational circles is Constructivism, and it is applied
both to learning theory and to epistemology (to how people learn and to the
nature of knowledge). We don't need to succumb to each new fad, but we do
need to think about our work in relation to theories of learning and knowledge.
So we need to ask: What is Constructivism? What does it have to tell us that is
new and relevant, and how do we apply it to our work?

What is meant by Constructivism?

The term refers to the idea that learners construct knowledge for themselves
(each learner builds meaning individually and socially) as they learn.
Constructing meaning is learning. The dramatic consequences of this view are
1. We have to focus on the learner in thinking about learning (not on the
subject/lesson to be taught).
2. There is no knowledge independent of the meaning attributed to
experience (constructed) by the learner, or community of learners.
Although it appears radical on an everyday level, it is a position that has been
frequently adopted ever since people began to ponder epistemology. If we
accept constructivist theory, we have to recognize that there is no such thing
as knowledge out there, independent of the knower, but only knowledge we
construct for ourselves as we learn.
Learning is not understanding the true nature of things, nor is it
remembering dimly perceived perfect ideas, but rather it is a personal and
social construction of meaning out of the bewildering array of sensations that
have no order or structure besides the explanations (and we stress the plural)
that we fabricate for them.
The more important question is: Does it actually make any difference in our
everyday work whether deep down we consider knowledge to be about some
real world independent of us, or whether we consider knowledge to be of our
own making? The answer is: Yes, it does make a difference, because of the first
point suggested above in our profession our epistemological views dictate
our pedagogic views.
If we believe that knowledge consists of learning about the real world out there
as a pre-packaged set of facts, then we endeavor first and foremost to
understand that world, organize it in the most rational way possible, and, as
teachers, present it to the learner. This view may still engage us in providing
the learner with activities, with hands-on learning, with opportunities to
experiment and manipulate the objects of the world, but the intention is
always to make clear to the learner the structure of the world, independent of
the learner. We help the learner understand the world, but we don't ask him to
construct his or her own world.


In many cultures, the history of learning never considered the learner. The task
of the teacher was to communicate to the learner the content of the lesson
and any accommodation to the learner was only to account for different
appropriate entry points for different learners. Times have changed.
Constructivist theory requires that we turn our attention by 180 degrees: we
must turn our back on any idea of an all-encompassing machine that
describes nature and, instead, look towards all those wonderful, individual
living beings the learners each of whom creates his or her own model to
explain nature. If we accept the constructivist position, we are inevitably
required to follow a pedagogy which argues that we must provide learners with
the opportunity to:
a) interact with sensory data, and
b) construct their own understanding.
This second point is a little harder for us to swallow, and most of us constantly
vacillate between faith that our learners will indeed construct meaning that we
will find acceptable (whatever we mean by that) and our need to construct
meaning for them; that is, to structure situations where learners are not free to
carry out their own mental actions, but learning situations that channel them
into our ideas about the meaning of experience.
What are some guiding principles of constructivist thinking that we must keep
in mind when we consider our role as educators? Here is an outline of a few
ideas, all predicated on the belief that learning consists of individuals'
constructed meanings:
1. Learning is an active process in which the learner uses sensory input
and constructs meaning out of it. The more traditional formulation of
this idea involves the terminology of the active learner (John Dewey's
term) stressing that the learner needs to do something, and that
learning is not the passive acceptance of knowledge which exists out
there. In other words, learning involves the learner engaging with the
2. People learn to learn as they learn: learning consists both of
constructing meaning and constructing systems of meaning. For
example, if we learn the chronology of dates of a series of historical
events, we are simultaneously learning the meaning of chronology.
Each meaning we construct makes us better able to give meaning to
other sensations that can fit a similar pattern.
3. The crucial action of constructing meaning is mental: it happens in the
mind. Physical actions and hands-on experience may be necessary for
learning, especially for children, but it is not sufficient; we need to
provide activities which engage the mind as well as the hands (John
Dewey called this Reflective Activity.)
4. Learning involves language: the language we use influences learning.
On the empirical level, researchers have noted that people talk to
themselves as they learn. On a more general level, there is a collection
of arguments, presented most forcefully by Lev Vygotsky (1896 1934),
that language and learning are bound together. This point is clearly
emphasized in the work of Elaine Gurian, who spoke of the need to


honor native language in developing Native American museum exhibits.

The desire to have material and programs in their own language was an
important request by many members of various Native American
5. Learning is a social activity: our learning is intimately associated with
our connection with other human beings, our teachers, our peers, our
family, as well as casual acquaintances, including the people before us
or next to us at the museum exhibit. We are more likely to be
successful in our efforts to educate if we recognize this principle rather
than try to avoid it. Much of traditional education is directed towards
isolating the learner from all social interaction, and towards seeing
education as a one-on-one relationship between the learner and the
objective material to be learned. In contrast, progressive education
recognizes the social aspect of learning and uses conversation,
interaction with others, and the application of knowledge as an integral
aspect of learning.
6. Learning is contextual: we do not learn isolated facts and theories in
some abstract ethereal land of the mind separate from the rest of our
lives we learn in relationship to what else we know, what we believe,
our prejudices and our fears. On reflection, it becomes clear that this
point is actually a corollary of the idea that learning is active and social.
We cannot divorce our learning from our lives.
7. One needs knowledge to learn: it is not possible to assimilate new
knowledge without having some structure developed from previous
knowledge to build on. The more we know, the more we can learn.
Therefore, any effort to teach must be connected to the state of the
learner, must provide a path into the subject for the learner based on
that learner's previous knowledge.
8. It takes time to learn: learning is not instantaneous. For significant
learning to occur, we need to revisit ideas, ponder them, try them out,
play with them, and use them. This cannot happen in the 5-10 minutes
usually spent in a gallery (and certainly not in the few seconds usually
spent contemplating a single museum object.) If you reflect on anything
you have learned, you soon realize that it is the product of repeated
exposure and thought. Even, or especially, moments of profound
insight, can be traced back to longer periods of preparation.
9. Motivation is a key component in learning. Not only is it the case that
motivation helps learning; it is essential for learning. This idea of
motivation as described here is broadly conceived to include an
understanding of ways in which the knowledge can be used. Unless we
know the reasons why, we may not become engaged in using the
knowledge that may be instilled in us, even by the most severe and
direct teaching.

Learning Styles, Brain Thinking, and Control Theories

Learning Styles Theory


This approach to learning emphasizes the fact that individuals perceive and
process information in very different ways. The learning styles theory implies
that how much individuals learn has more to do with whether the educational
experience is geared toward their particular style of learning than whether or
not they are smart. In fact, educators should not ask, Is this student
smart? but rather How is this student smart?
The concept of learning styles is rooted in the classification of psychological
types. The Learning Styles theory is based on research demonstrating that, as
a result of heredity, upbringing, and current environmental demands, different
individuals have a tendency to both perceive and process information
differently. The different ways of doing so are generally classified as:
Concrete and abstract perceivers.
Concrete perceivers absorb information through direct experience: by
doing, acting, sensing, and feeling. Abstract perceivers, however, take
in information through analysis, observation, and thinking.
Active and reflective processors.
Active processors make sense of an experience by immediately using
the new information. Reflective processors make sense of an
experience by reflecting on and thinking about it.
Traditional schooling tends to favor abstract perceiving and reflective
processing. Other kinds of learning are not rewarded and reflected in
curriculum, instruction, and assessment nearly as much.

How the Learning Styles Theory Impacts Education

Curriculum: Educators must place emphasis on intuition, feeling, sensing, and
imagination in addition to the traditional skills of analysis, reason, and
sequential problem solving.
Instruction: Teachers should design their instruction methods to connect with
all four learning styles using various combinations of experience, reflection,
conceptualization, and experimentation. Instructors can introduce a wide
variety of experiential elements into the classroom, such as sound, music,
visuals, movement, experience, and talking.
Assessment: Teachers should employ a variety of assessment techniques
focusing on the development of the whole brain capacity and each of the
different learning styles.

Right- and Left-Brain Thinking Theory

This theory of the structure and functions of the mind suggests that the two
different sides of the brain control two different modes of thinking. It also
suggests that each of us prefers one mode over the other.
Experimentation has shown that the two different sides, or hemispheres, of the
brain are responsible for different manners of thinking. The following table
illustrates the differences between left-brain and right-brain thinking:
Left Brain

Right Brain


Looks at parts

Looks at wholes

Take a look at this video called Right Brain and Left Brain Education
(, a gentle but powerful
method of activating both left and right hemispheres of the brain to work
together to accelerate learning, activate photographic memory, promote
speed reading, and make early learning fun for both children and parents.
Most individuals have a distinct preference for one of these styles of thinking.
Some, however, are more whole-brained and equally adept at both modes. In
general, schools have favored left-brain modes of thinking while downplaying
the right-brain ones. Left-brain scholastic subjects focus on logical thinking,
analysis, and accuracy. Right-brained subjects, on the other hand, focus on
aesthetics, feeling, and creativity.

How Right-Brain vs. Left-Brain Thinking Impacts Learning

Curriculum: In order to be more whole-brained in their orientation, schools
need to give equal weight to the arts, creativity, and the skills of imagination
and synthesis.
Instruction: To foster a more whole-brained scholastic experience, teachers
should use instruction techniques that connect with both sides of the brain.
They can increase their classroom's right-brain learning activities by
incorporating more patterning, metaphors, analogies, role playing, visuals, and
movement into their reading, calculation, and analytical activities.
Assessment: For a more accurate whole-brained evaluation of student
learning, educators must develop new forms of assessment that honor rightbrained talents and skills.

Control Theory
This theory of motivation, developed by William Glasser (born 1925), asserts
that behavior is never caused by a response to an outside stimulus. Instead,
the control theory states that behavior is inspired by what a person wants
most at any given time: survival, love, power, freedom, or any other basic
human need.
Responding to complaints that today's students are unmotivated, Glasser
attests that all living creatures control their behavior to maximize their need
satisfaction. According to Glasser, if students are not motivated to do their
schoolwork, it's because they view schoolwork as irrelevant to their basic
human needs.
Boss teachers use rewards and punishment to coerce students to comply
with rules and complete required assignments. Glasser calls this leaning on


your shovel work. He shows how high percentages of students recognize that
the work they do even when their teachers praise them is such low-level
Lead teachers, on the other hand, avoid coercion completely. Instead, they
make the intrinsic rewards of doing the work clear to their students, correlating
any proposed assignments to the students' basic needs. In addition, they use
grades only as temporary indicators of what has and hasn't been learned,
rather than as a reward. Lead teachers will protect highly engaged, deeply
motivated students who are doing quality work from having to fulfill
meaningless requirements.

How the Control Theory Impacts Learning

Curriculum: Teachers must negotiate both content and method with students.
Students' basic needs literally help shape how and what they are taught.
Instruction: Teachers rely on cooperative, active learning techniques that
enhance the power of the learners. Lead teachers make sure that all
assignments meet some degree of their students' need satisfaction. This
secures student loyalty, which carries the class through whatever relatively
meaningless tasks might be necessary to satisfy official requirements.
Assessment: Instructors give grades that certify quality work and satisfy
students' need for power. Courses for which a student doesn't earn a grade are
not recorded on that student's transcript. Teachers grade students using an
absolute standard, rather than a relative curve.


Metacognition, Experiential Theory, Social Cognition,

and Behaviorism
Metacognition is the process of thinking about thinking. John H. Flavell (born
1928) describes it as follows: Metacognition refers to one's knowledge
concerning one's own cognitive processes or anything related to them, e.g.,
the learning-relevant properties of information or data. For example, I am
engaging in metacognition if I notice that I am having more trouble learning A
than B; if it strikes me that I should double check C before accepting it as fact
(1976, p 232).
Flavell argued that metacognition explains why children of different ages deal
with learning tasks in different ways, i.e., they have developed new strategies
for thinking. Research studies (see Duell, 1986) seem to confirm this
conclusion: as children get older, they demonstrate more awareness of their
thinking processes.
Metacognition has to do with the active monitoring and regulation of cognitive
processes. It represents the executive control system that many cognitive
theorists have included in their theories (e.g., Miller, Newell & Simon,
Schoenfeld). Metacognitive processes are central to planning, problem-solving,
evaluation, and many aspects of language learning.
Metacognition is relevant to work on cognitive styles and learning strategies
insofar as the individual has some awareness of their thinking or learning
processes. The work of Piaget is also relevant to research on metacognition
since it deals with the development of cognition in children.

Brown, A. (1978). Knowing When, Where and How to Remember: A Problem of
Metacognition. In R. Glaser (Ed.), Advances in Instructional Psychology.
Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum Assoc.
Duell, O.K. (1986). Metacognitive Skills. In G. Phye & T. Andre (Eds.), Cognitive
Classroom Learning. Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
Flavell, J. (1976). Metacognitive Aspects of Problem-solving. In L. Resnick (Ed.),
The Nature of Intelligence. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum Assoc.
Forrest-Pressly, D., MacKinnon, G., & Waller, T. (1985). Metacognition,
Cognition, and Human Performance. Orlando: Academic Press.
Garner, R. (1987). Metacognition and Reading Comprehension. Norwood, NJ:

Experiential Learning


Carl Rogers (1902 - 1987) distinguished two types of learning: cognitive

(meaningless) and experiential (significant). The former corresponds to
academic knowledge such as learning vocabulary or multiplication tables, and
the latter refers to applied knowledge such as learning about engines in order
to repair a car. The key to the distinction is that experiential learning addresses
the needs and wants of the learner. Rogers identified the following as the key
qualities of experiential learning: personal involvement, self-initiated,
evaluated by learner, and having pervasive effects on the learner.
To Rogers, experiential learning is equivalent to personal change and growth.
Rogers feels that all human beings have a natural propensity to learn; the role
of the teacher is to facilitate such learning. This includes:

Setting a positive climate for learning.

Clarifying the purposes of the learner(s).
Organizing and making available learning resources.
Balancing intellectual and emotional components of learning.
Sharing feelings and thoughts with learners, but not dominating.

According to Rogers, learning is facilitated when:

1) The student participates completely in the learning process and has
control over its nature and direction.
2) Learning is primarily based upon direct confrontation with practical,
social, personal, or research problems.
3) Self-evaluation is the principal method of assessing progress or success.
Rogers also emphasizes the importance of learning to learn and an openness
to change.

A person interested in becoming rich might seek out books or classes on
economics, investment, great financiers, banking, etc. Such an individual
would perceive (and learn) any information provided on this subject in a much
different fashion than a person who is assigned a reading or class.

1) Significant learning takes place when the subject matter is relevant to
the personal interests of the student.
2) Learning that is threatening to the self (e.g., new attitudes or
perspectives) is more easily assimilated when external threats are at a
3) Learning proceeds faster when the threat to the self is low.
4) Self-initiated learning is the most lasting and pervasive.

Combs, A.W. (1982). Affective Education or None at All. Educational
Leadership, 39(7), 494-497.


Patterson, C.H. (1973). Humanistic Education. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: PrenticeHall.

Rogers, C.R. (1969). Freedom to Learn. Columbus, OH: Merrill.
Rogers, C.R. & Freiberg, H.J. (1994). Freedom to Learn (3rd Ed). Columbus, OH:
Valett, R.E. (1977). Humanistic Education. St Louis, MO: Mosby.

Relevant Web Sites:

(adapted from:

For more about Rogers and his work, see:

An overview of Carl Rogers' life and philosophy:

Social Cognition
The social cognition learning model, developed by Lev Vygotsky (1896 1934),
asserts that culture is the prime determinant of individual development.
Humans are the only species to have created culture, and every human child
develops in the context of a culture. Therefore, a child's learning development
is affected in ways large and small by the culture (including the culture of the
family environment) in which he or she is enmeshed.
Culture makes two sorts of contributions to a child's intellectual development.
First, through culture, children acquire much of the content of their thinking,
that is, their knowledge. Second, the surrounding culture provides a child with
the processes or means of their thinking, what Vygotskians call the tools of
intellectual adaptation. In short, according to the social cognition learning
model, culture teaches children both what to think and how to think.
Cognitive development results from a dialectical process whereby a child
learns through problem-solving experiences shared with someone else, usually
a parent or teacher but sometimes a sibling or a peer.
Initially, the person interacting with the child assumes most of the
responsibility for guiding the problem solving, but gradually this responsibility
transfers to the child.
Language is a primary form of interaction through which adults or more
capable peers transmit to the child the rich body of knowledge that exists in
the culture.
As learning progresses, the child's own language comes to serve as her
primary tool of intellectual adaptation. Eventually, children can use internal
language to direct their own behavior.
Internalization refers to the process of learning and thereby internalizing a
rich body of knowledge and tools of thought that first exist outside the child.
This happens primarily through language.


A difference exists between what the child can do on her own and what the
child can do with help. Vygotskians call this difference the zone of proximal
Since much of what a child learns comes from the culture around her and
much of the child's problem solving is mediated through an adult's help, it is
wrong to focus on a child in isolation. Such focus does not reveal the processes
by which children acquire new skills.
Interactions with surrounding culture and social agents, such as parents and
more competent peers, contribute significantly to a child's intellectual

How Vygotsky Impacts Learning

Curriculum: Since children learn much through interaction, curricula should be
designed to emphasize interaction between learners and learning tasks.
Instruction: With appropriate adult help, children can often perform tasks that
they are incapable of completing on their own. With this in mind, scaffolding
where the adult continually adjusts the level of his or her help in response to
the child's level of performance is an effective form of teaching. Scaffolding
not only produces immediate results, but also instills the skills necessary for
independent problem solving in the future.
Assessment: Assessment methods must take into account the zone of proximal
development. What children can do on their own is their level of actual
development and what they can do with help is their level of potential
development. Two children might have the same level of actual development,
but given the appropriate help from an adult, one might be able to solve many
more problems than the other. Assessment methods must target both the level
of actual development and the level of potential development.

Behaviorism is a theory of animal and human learning that only focuses on
objectively observable behaviors and discounts mental activities. Behavioral
theorists define learning as nothing more than the acquisition of new behavior.
Experiments by behaviorists identify conditioning as a universal learning
process. There are two different types of conditioning, each yielding a different
behavioral pattern:
1) Classic conditioning occurs when a natural reflex responds to a
stimulus. The most popular example is Ivan Pavlov's (1849 - 1936)
observation that dogs salivate when they eat or even see food.
Essentially, animals and people are biologically wired so that a certain
stimulus will produce a specific response.
2) Behavioral or operant conditioning occurs when a response to a
stimulus is reinforced. Basically, operant conditioning is a simple
feedback system: If a reward or reinforcement follows the response to a


stimulus, then the response becomes more probable in the future. For
example, leading behaviorist B. F. Skinner used reinforcement
techniques to teach pigeons to dance and bowl a ball in a mini-alley.
There have been many criticisms of behaviorism, including the following:
1) Behaviorism does not account for all kinds of learning, since it
disregards the activities of the mind.
2) Behaviorism does not explain some learning such as the recognition of
new language patterns by young children for which there is no
reinforcement mechanism.

How Behaviorism Impacts Learning

This theory is relatively simple to understand because it relies only on
observable behavior and describes several universal laws of behavior. Its
positive and negative reinforcement techniques can be very effective both in
animals and in treatments for human disorders such as autism and antisocial
behavior. Behaviorism is often used by teachers who reward or punish student


Course One: Education for the New

Unit 3: Multiple Intelligences
Multiple Intelligences
Is intelligence innate? Genetic? Fixed? Generally, this is how intelligence has
been viewed as a quantity. Recently, new views have emerged with
enormous implications for education. This new perspective asserts that
intelligence can be measured in different ways, that it grows, and it is more
quality than quantity. It used to be that the question was asked: Is she/he
smart? New questions now ask: How is she/he smart? The emphasis is on
the various ways in which we demonstrate multiple intelligences, rather than a
single intelligence.
Howard Gardner (born 1943) created a list of seven intelligences. The first two
are ones that have been typically valued in schools; the next three are usually
associated with the arts; and the final two are what Howard Gardner called
personal intelligences.
Linguistic Intelligence
Linguistic Intelligence involves sensitivity to spoken and written language, the
ability to learn languages, and the capacity to use language to accomplish
certain goals. This intelligence includes the ability to effectively use language
to express oneself rhetorically or poetically, and language as a means of
remembering information. Writers, poets, lawyers, and speakers are among
those that Howard Gardner sees as having high linguistic intelligence.
Logical-mathematical Intelligence
Logical-mathematical Intelligence consists of the capacity to analyze problems
logically, carry out mathematical operations, and investigate issues
scientifically. In Howard Gardner's words, it entails the ability to detect
patterns, reason deductively, and think logically. This intelligence is most often
associated with scientific and mathematical thinking.
Musical Intelligence
Musical Intelligence involves skill in the performance, composition, and
appreciation of musical patterns. It encompasses the capacity to recognize and
compose musical pitches, tones, and rhythms. According to Howard Gardner,
musical intelligence runs in an almost structural parallel to linguistic
Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence
Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence entails the potential of using one's whole body
or parts of the body to solve problems. It is the ability to use mental abilities to
coordinate bodily movements. Students with this type of intelligence generally
learn better when they can move around. They also enjoy physical activity,


such as athletic pursuits or performing. They often learn by doing as opposed

to reading or listening.
Spatial Intelligence
Spatial Intelligence involves the potential to recognize and use the patterns of
wide space and more confined areas.
Interpersonal Intelligence
Interpersonal Intelligence is concerned with the capacity to understand the
intentions, motivations, and desires of other people. It allows people to work
effectively with others. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders,
and counselors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence.
Intrapersonal Intelligence
Intrapersonal intelligence entails the capacity to understand oneself, to
appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations. In Howard Gardner's view, it
involves having an effective working model of ourselves, and being able to use
such information to regulate our lives.
In his book Frames of Mind (1983), Howard Gardner treated the personal
intelligences as a piece. Because of their close association in most cultures,
they are often linked together. However, he still argues that it makes sense to
think of two forms of personal intelligence. Gardner claimed that the seven
intelligences rarely operate independently. They are used at the same time
and tend to complement each other as people develop skills or solve problems.
In essence, Howard Gardner makes two essential claims about multiple
1. The theory is an account of human cognition in its fullness. The
intelligences provide a new definition of human nature, cognitively
speaking (Gardner, 1999). Human beings are organisms who possess a
basic set of intelligences.
2. People have a unique blend of intelligences. Gardner argues that the
big challenge facing the deployment of human resources is how to
best take advantage of the uniqueness conferred on us as a species
exhibiting several intelligences.
Also, these intelligences, according to Howard Gardner, are amoral they can
be put to constructive or destructive use.

Additional Intelligences
Since Howard Gardner's original listing of the intelligences in Frames of Mind
there has been a great deal of discussion as to other possible candidates for
inclusion (or candidates for exclusion) naturalistic intelligence (the ability of
people to draw upon the resources and features of the environment to solve
problems); spiritual intelligence (the ability of people to both access and use,
practically, the resources available in somewhat less tangible, but nonetheless


powerful lessons of the spirit); moral intelligence (the ability to access and use
certain truths).

Emotional Intelligence
In a 1994 report on the current state of emotional literacy in the U.S., author
Daniel Goleman stated:
... in navigating our lives, it is our fears and envies, our rages and
depressions, our worries and anxieties that steer us day to day. Even
the most academically brilliant among us are vulnerable to being
undone by unruly emotions. The price we pay for emotional literacy is
in failed marriages and troubled families, in stunted social and work
lives, in deteriorating physical health and mental anguish and, as a
society, in tragedies such as killings ...
Goleman attests that the best remedy for battling our emotional shortcomings
is preventive medicine. In other words, we need to place as much importance
on teaching our children the essential skills of Emotional Intelligence as we do
on more traditional measures like IQ and GPA.

Exactly What Is Emotional Intelligence?

The term encompasses the following five characteristics and abilities:
1. Self-awareness: knowing your emotions, recognizing feelings as they
occur, and discriminating among them.
2. Mood management: handling feelings so they're relevant to the current
situation allowing you to react appropriately.
3. Self-motivation: gathering up your feelings and directing yourself
towards a goal, despite self-doubt, inertia, and impulsiveness.
4. Empathy: recognizing feelings in others and tuning into their verbal and
nonverbal cues.
5. Managing relationships: handling interpersonal interaction, conflict
resolution, and negotiations.

Why Do We Need Emotional Intelligence?

Research in brain-based learning suggests that emotional health is
fundamental to effective learning. According to a report from the National
Center for Clinical Infant Programs, the most critical element for a student's
success in school is an understanding of how to learn. The key ingredients for
this understanding are: confidence, curiosity, intentionality, self-control,
relatedness, capacity to communicate, and ability to cooperate.
These traits are all aspects of Emotional Intelligence. A student who learns to
learn is much more apt to succeed. Emotional Intelligence has proven a better
predictor of future success than traditional methods like the GPA, IQ, and
standardized test scores.
The idea of Emotional Intelligence has inspired research and curriculum
development throughout corporations, universities, and schools worldwide.
Researchers have concluded that people who manage their own feelings well


and deal effectively with others are more likely to live content lives. Happy
people are also more apt to retain information and do so more effectively than
dissatisfied people.
Building one's Emotional Intelligence has a lifelong impact. Many parents and
educators, alarmed by increasing levels of conflict in young schoolchildren
from low self-esteem to early drug and alcohol use to depression are rushing
to teach students the skills necessary for Emotional Intelligence. Also, in
corporations, the inclusion of Emotional Intelligence in training programs has
helped employees cooperate better and be more motivated, thereby
increasing productivity and profits.
Daniel Goleman believes that Emotional Intelligence is a master aptitude, a
capacity that profoundly affects all other abilities, either facilitating or
interfering with them (Emotional Intelligence, p. 80).


The Appeal
Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences has not been readily
accepted within academic psychology. However, it has met with a strongly
positive response from many educators. It has been embraced by a range of
educational theorists, and, significantly, applied by teachers and policymakers
to the problems of schooling. A number of schools in North America have
looked to structure curricula according to the intelligences, and to design
classrooms and even whole schools to reflect the understandings that Howard
Gardner developed through his work. The theory can also be found in use
within pre-school, higher, vocational, and adult-education initiatives.
However, this appeal was not, at first, obvious.
At first, this diagnosis would appear to sound a death knell for formal
education. It is hard to teach knowing that there is one intelligence; what if
there are seven? It is hard enough to teach even when anything can be taught;
what to do if there are distinct limits and strong constraints on human
cognition and learning?
Howard Gardner responds to such questions by first making the point that
psychology does not directly dictate education, it merely helps one to
understand the conditions within which education takes place.
The theory also validates educators' everyday experience: students think and
learn in many different ways. It also provides educators with a conceptual
framework for organizing and reflecting on curriculum assessment and
pedagogical practices. In turn, this reflection has led many educators to
develop new approaches that might better meet the needs of the range of
learners in their classrooms.
Three particular aspects of Gardner's thinking need noting here as they allow
for hope, and an alternative way of thinking, for those educators who feel out
of step with the current, dominant product orientation to curriculum and
educational policy. The approach entails:
1. A broad vision of education. All seven intelligences are needed to live
life well. Teachers, therefore, need to attend to all intelligences, not just
the first two that have been their traditional concern. Educators should
focus more on depth as opposed to breadth. Understanding entails
taking knowledge gained in one setting and using it in another.
2. Developing local and flexible programs. Howard Gardner's interest in
deep understanding, performance, exploration, and creativity are not
easily accommodated within an orientation based on the delivery of a
detailed curriculum planned outside of the immediate educational
context. A multiple intelligences setting can be undone if the curriculum
is too rigid or if there is only a single form of assessment.
3. Looking to morality. We must figure out how intelligence and morality
can work together, Howard Gardner argues, to create a world in
which a great variety of people will want to live. While there are
considerable benefits to developing understanding in relation to the
disciplines, something more is needed.


Some Issues and Problems

As with all theories in education, multiple intelligences theory has its critics.
Some maintain that longitudinal studies still bear out the power of genetics
and intelligence as a fixed quantity. They argue that this theory apologizes for
lack of intellectual achievement. Others argue that the ability to measure or
test for such intelligences undermines its core assertions. In short, such critics
claim: If you can't test it, it's not valid.
Gardner contests such claims of validity by arguing for a different view of
standardized testing that is not biased in favor of only one kind of intelligence
at the expense of others. He also notes the achievements of students in nonacademic settings and the tragedy of exclusion that results when whole
segments of the population are not served because their intelligences do not
have the opportunity for expression.

Implications of Multiple Intelligences for Schools

Culture: Support for diverse learners and hard work. Acting on a value system
that maintains that diverse students can learn and succeed, that learning is
exciting, and that hard work by teachers is necessary.
Readiness: Awareness-building for implementing Multiple Intelligences.
Building staff awareness of Multiple Intelligences and of the different ways that
students learn.
Tool: Multiple Intelligences is a means to foster high-quality work. Using
Multiple Intelligences as a tool to promote high-quality student work rather
than using the theory as an end in and of itself.
Collaboration: Informal and formal exchanges. Sharing ideas and
constructive suggestions by the staff in formal and informal exchanges.
Choice: Meaningful curriculum and assessment options. Embedding
curriculum and assessment in activities that are valued both by students and
the wider culture.
Arts: Employing the arts to develop children's skills and understanding within
and across disciplines.

Additional Resources
Index of Learning Styles
Multiple Intelligences Reaches the Tibetan Village
Implications for Students

Inventory of Your Intelligences

Here is a tool to help you learn more about multiple intelligences by examining
your own:

Click on the above link. Read the screen that comes up, especially the
directions under the title Create Your Own Intelligence Profile and click on
the button at the bottom of that screen that says Begin.
In this interactive activity, you will see that each person has all of the
intelligences in varying degrees. This is intended to be a fun exercise answer
the questions to the best of your ability. At the end of the activity, a unique
Multiple Intelligence Snowflake will be generated. The results are not
absolute indicators of intelligence, they are meant to give you the opportunity
to learn more about your unique combination of intelligences.


Course One: Education for the New

Unit 4: Theory Meets Practice
Theory Meets Practice
Making Small Changes First
Many classrooms are dreary places where students sit motionless or
uncomfortable. There is little stimulation and few colorful posters on the wall.
There is no evidence of student work or excitement or interesting work in
progress. However, it does not always have to be that way.
Stand in your own classroom and, using this list as a starting point, consider
carefully the various aspects of your room as a space for teaching and
Student seating:

How is student seating arranged?

Do students sit alone, in pairs, or in groups?
How flexible is it?
Can it be moved or re-arranged easily?

We suggest that some arrangements of the room itself lend themselves to

effective teaching. Some arrangements do not. If students are asked to listen
to a presentation, the rows might work. If students are to work on projects,
their chairs and the room should be arranged to meet these needs. In short,
the physical space makes a difference.

How easy is it to move around the space?

Are there aisles?
Which areas cannot be reached?
Where is the natural place to stand?
Can everyone see?
Can students easily get to the teacher and to each other?

Learning resources:

How many of your needed resources are in the room?

How will students have access to these resources?
If there are resources, how many students can use them?
What kinds of teaching aids do you have?

The room itself:

Is it lit well or poorly?

Is it hot in the summer?
Can everyone hear?


How can you and other teachers use this space effectively?

Now that youve had a chance to examine your classroom, reflect on your
answers. Are you going to make any changes? If so, what are they? Will your
classroom stay the same? Why?

Course One: Reflection and Review

Part 1: Introductory Self-Assessment Activity
Before you review the content of Course One by answering the questions in
Part 2, we hope that you will take a moment to reflect on your own
professional identity by answering the following three questions:
1. WHO AM I? What are some of my most strongly held values, attitudes, and
beliefs? What does being a teacher mean to me?
2. WHERE AM I? What is my social, cultural, economic, or political context?
What is my classroom/school/region like? What are some of the challenges and
opportunities that emerge out of this context?
3. WHATS NEXT? What are my Personal Learning Objectives? What am I
striving towards? What do I want to accomplish? What kind of support do I
need? What kind of support can I provide?
We encourage you to write down your answers and share them with your
colleagues in small groups. Then, discuss how your colleagues and the
Certificate of Teaching Mastery can contribute to further development of your
professional expertise and identity. Also, consider what you can do to support
other teachers in your school, region, or country.
Part 2: Review
1. Take a moment to review DR.CROSS. Then, consider the following questions:
a) Are these characteristics of education for the new millennium present in
your classroom? If so, provide specific examples. If not, how can they be best
implemented given the specific context in which you teach (subject matter,
class size, availability of resources, curriculum, institutional constraints)?
b) Are any of these characteristics more difficult to implement than others?
Why? What is needed to overcome these challenges?
2. Take a moment to review the Aspects of Good Teaching. Then, think of how
you would help less experienced teachers implement them in their classrooms.
What kinds of activities would you suggest? Which one of these aspects would
be most challenging to implement by teachers in your country or region? Why?
What can be done to change this?
3. Suggest practical ways to implement key aspects of Constructivism in your
classroom. As teacher leader, how would you support classroom teachers to
ensure that their classrooms become more constructivist?
4. How would you restructure your curriculum so that it revolves around
questions and creates an environment that encourages inquiry rather than rote
learning? Choose a specific lesson and explain how you would use it to
encourage inquiry. How would you engage your students?


5. The section on Learning Styles states that teachers should design their
instruction methods to connect with all four learning styles. Discuss how this
could be done in your subject area by giving specific examples that correspond
to each of the learning styles.
6. How would you increase the number of right-brain learning activities in your
classroom? How can existing methodologies and assessment practices be
modified to accommodate right-brain learning?
7. According to Glasser, if students are not motivated to do their schoolwork,
it's because they view schoolwork as irrelevant to their basic human needs.
Can you think of aspects of your curriculum that students are likely to perceive
as irrelevant? How can this be avoided? What would you do to ensure student
8. Choose a specific unit or lesson from a subject you presently teach or taught
in the past and explain how it could be modified using Vygotsky's views on
cognitive development and scaffolding. Explain the advantages of this change.
How would it benefit the students?
9. Choose two or three intelligences from Howard Gardner's list of multiple
intelligences and design a learning activity for a specific lesson. Then discuss
potential assessment strategies for your activities.