From 27 to 29 September 2013, Rise and Shine Expo, an informative expo to raise happy and healthy children was held in Singapore. There were more than 100 seminars, workshops and trial classes and a very interesting one that got many parents and educators excited was the workshop ‘8 ways of teaching: how to teach practically anything using multiple intelligences’ by Dr Thomas Armstrong.
Dr Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the American Institute for Learning and Human Development, and an award-winning author and speaker. He has authored 15 books that have been translated to 26 languages, including In Their Own Way and Neurodiversity in the Classroom. Dr Armstrong has lectured in over 20 countries and featured in many prominent newspapers, magazine and TV and radio programs.
Last week we covered Dr Thomas Armstrong’s talk on the 8 multiple intelligences, and today we go a step further to learn how to discover them.
Identifying Multiple Intelligences
Dr Thomas shared that there are many ways parents can gather which intelligence their child is better at, and the best is by observation. Trips to art exhibits, zoos, parks, museums, libraries, music events and different environments can help parents to know what their child is interested to explore. Parents can document their observation using a scrapbook and observe over time what their child is better at. They can also go to the child’s school, ask the teachers and review the work done during school. A sparkle in the child’s eyes is the best indication!
Parents Questions on Multiple Intelligences
The next segment of Dr Thomas’ workshop was taking questions from parents; many interesting questions were raised and some of them were:
Q1: What if the parent is not strong in the intelligence that the child is good at? How can the parent then help the child to learn using this area of intelligence?
Dr Thomas: Parents can take the effort to learn and strengthen the intelligence in the particular area, and turn to other parents/tutors/technology to learn (both for themselves and for their children). One point to note is that every child is good at an area, it is not possible that a child is not intelligent in any area.
Q2: How to build a child’s intelligence and know that they have improved in it?
Dr Thomas: Parents should worry less about testing and think more about creating stimulating environments as a family, for instance, playing games, reading, stories, taking walks and visiting new places. Avenues to learn are already embedded in everyday life – for instance, questioning about why nature is as such, get them thinking instead of opting for an intensive learning program. Flash cards are not recommended as even if the child can get it right, flash cards do not encourage deeper understanding – some parents do it to feel good about themselves!
Multiple Intelligences/ Learning for an Eczema Child
I can’t resist the urge to sneak a question in for an eczema child. A child with eczema suffers from poor sleep, may lack concentration from lack of sleep or the itch be taking much of their mind. Dr Thomas, I wonder if there are certain areas to help these children in class (apart from treating the eczema so that the child can get proper sleep and not feel like scratching in class). For instance, will it be even more important for parents to figure out other ways to help the child learn apart from linguistic and logic as these require more sitting (leading to chances to scratch)? My baby started learning her words using sign language, which helps as she has to sign and not scratch (her experience).
Dr Thomas: I think any activity that involves hands-on learning would be good for the same reason as sign language: the student’s hands will be involved in learning and not scratching. Some examples of hands-on learning include: fingerpainting, building with legos, working with math blocks, playing with clay, making a collage, creating a diorama (a three-dimensional model of a scene from a book, for example), and woodworking. These, of course, are excellent for all children, but have this added benefit for children suffering from eczema.
Thank you so much Dr Thomas Armstrong for helping with the questions above and offering a very enlightening workshop for parents during the Rise and Shine Expo.