Discussing Intelligence #1

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After reading about the first intelligence, Verbal-Linguistic, I looked forward to our discussion Thursday. I liked how Frank began with our personal experiences and interpretations of what intelligence is. What a range of responses!

What I realized was that we carry with us a "label" from our early years in school that is either has spurred us to reach for higher goals or that has limited our achievements because of our limited self-perception. I was surprised at Gloria's comment of "I fooled them!" And I think each of us has surprised ourselves on occasion with what we can achieve. Receiving encouragement over the years from parents, teachers, bosses, and other people of importance in our lives is so necessary. Maybe as teachers we can make a difference in our students lives by encouraging their "smarts".

-- Anonymous, February 19, 1999


I also found last week's discussion on intellegence #1 quite interesting. It's eye-opening to see how some of our gifted classmates had negative perceptions of themselves academically because of "labeling". I find myself in sort of a quandry, though. While I hate to think of a child not being successful in his or her education, I know that the verbal-linguistic intelligence is an important one in our world. Without good reading skills, it's nearly impossible to get by. I wonder how we bouy up a child with other intellegences and still help them work at being good readers?

-- Anonymous, February 21, 1999

I also found last week's discussion on intellegence #1 quite interesting. It's eye-opening to see how some of our gifted classmates had negative perceptions of themselves academically because of "labeling". I find myself in sort of a quandry, though. While I hate to think of a child not being successful in his or her education, I know that the verbal-linguistic intelligence is an important one in our world. Without good reading skills, it's nearly impossible to get by. I wonder how we bouy up a child with other intellegences and still help them work at being good readers?

-- Anonymous, February 21, 1999

What I remember most are the negative comments I received in school regarding my writing. I remember most the comment given to my attempt to write poetry in high school. My teacher's comments to me included the word trite. I really have had to work hard on seeing myself as a writer since. I am constantly questioning my ability to express myself through written words and it has also at times made me reluctant to join in discussions feeling inferior when in comes to using "intelligent sounding words". I feel as a teacher I have great impact on my students and how they view themselves as readers, writers and storytellers. I hope that I build confidence in each of them. It truly would be great to be able to teach them a love of words; both oral and written ones. I also agree with the need at a bery young age to teach listening skills. That I see lacking at second grade and now realize it is a skill I must teach and not expect to develop with time. I do have to say that I feel I am a good listener and maybe that is how I show my verbal linguistic intelligence.

-- Anonymous, February 21, 1999

The discussion on Thursday nite was very worth while. I too as Jackie said have missed those time to discuss in our cohort. The thing that stood out most in my mind were the comments made by the very capable people in our cohort about their lack of confidence in their own abilities. I too have felt that way. I looked around the room and thought about how much everyone in that room has to offer and was amazed that there is so much self doubt even from people so close to being master teachers. We would never be that hard on our own students. It made me feel much more "normal" that those self doubts are experienced by so many others.

-- Anonymous, February 22, 1999

As my old friend "Cyrano DeBergerac" once said..."I'd take all the words that are, or ever were, and in mad armfuls, heap them on you..." Who of us cannot get along in our day to day discourse with the rest of the world without the use of the very basic, and yet never truly mastered, intelligence of words and language. Think of all the people we impact with our words, and how the words they choose affect us. My Dad and I (both voracious readers) just finished reading "The Perfect Storm" and we marveled at how we were transported to the very moments and places the author described onboard a swordfishing trawler. As a child I learned that the library was the one place where no one could limit where I went, the cost of the trip was onlt some time and a library card. I was lucky to grow up in a home where reading was an important, if individual, skill. In junior high we were taught the mechanics of expressing ideas on paper and then refining them over and over. I hated it. As an actor I had to learn the craft of inflection and tonal quality and all the rest of the verbal delivery skills that come with prancing about on a stage trying to bring words to life. With my own kids, we read to them since they were small and encouraged them to be active readers: two are and two aren't. Sure makes you scratch your head. Think how much better we could get along if everyone was able to clearly exress what it is they really want. Some are given the grace to paint pictures with words that flow into the spaces and some of us are lucky enough to be able to "see" those pictures and our lives are richer for it. I believe the better the input and stimulation for this intelligence, the better chance there is for it to develop and grow.

-- Anonymous, February 22, 1999

Hello All, I loved our class last week, but I have so completely enjoyed reading your responses today, that I can't decide which I like better! Dave you made me laugh out loud and then put me in complete awe of your way with words...Cyrano has nothing on you kiddo! Joanne, you write so beautifully,how sad that a teacher made you doubt yourself! I remember a student once telling me that he never knew what his grades would be untill the report card came out. When I asked if his other teachers didn't give him grades on daily assignments, his reply was..."if there were lots of red marks on the paper, I never looked at the grade,because I knew that I had messed up. I just threw the paper away." Needless to say, I certainly became aware of the message that my corrections on kids papers were sending to them. Children are so fragile. As teachers we have so much power over how they view themselves. We become either their saviors or their crusifiers, depending on how we treat them. Our sharing in class surely brought that out! We still have some of those scars from when we were little.(notice that I did not say younger) It's nice that we have, over the years, been able to change those feelings about ourselves.

-- Anonymous, February 23, 1999

It would be very interesting to me to find out where everyone saw themselves in terms of their "intelligences", i.e. strengths and weaknesses. Although I do fairly well with the written word, trying to express myself out loud has been another matter. For example, I would much rather have a script to memorize, than take part in a debate! I absolutely hate to analyze literature, but wouldn't mind trying to write a poem. I will leave my comments about writing a thesis until after it is done!

I also have enjoyed listening to everyone in class and reading the comments on this site. There are so many stories to tell, so much to learn from. Thank you to everyone who shared.

-- Anonymous, February 23, 1999

It seems to me that we have all come alive since our Discussion on February 18th focusing on the first intelligence--it is valuable for us to share our personal experiences and to talk things over. While I was sitting there listening to your comments I kept thinking how great it is to get input from so many different points-of-view and from such a variety of backgrounds. I left the session in a very thoughtful mood. We all have so much to offer each other. I am looking forward to our future discussions on the intelligences. I think we are in for some great talks during class time and for some great reading in our threaded discussions.

-- Anonymous, February 25, 1999

The discussion on verbal linguistic intelligence was interesting. It was great to have the opportunity for our group to have time for discussion. There is such a wonderful range of experiences and viewpoints, making for thoughful discussion.

I, too, like Frank, have always been interested in language and originations of words, and how words can paint beautiful pictures in our minds. My son is very verbal, and considered "gifted" in this area. He began talking early and often. We used to say that he loves to hear himself talk. We still say that occasionally! He has always used an advanced vocabulary. I hesitate to use the term gifted because of the negative connotations involved. As the discussion turned toward our definition of intelligence and sharing of our personal experiences,it brought back many of the negative experiences of being labeled as "smart." I remember other kids calling me a brain, and, believe me, that wasn't a positive peer comment when you were in junior or senior high school. I was always trying to downplay my grades and how easy the school work was for me. I can see my daughter is in a similar situation. She gets some ribbing about her straight A average, and school work comes easy for her. It was interesting to hear from many members of the group how often we seem to equate intelligence with grades. These are two very separate things.

-- Anonymous, February 28, 1999

I don't know what everyone was saying about not being very strong in the math/logic intelligence area. Being a math teacher, that would be my strong area, but it is not all it's cracked up to be. I can work numbers in my head and figure out problems, but I would give that up to be able to play a musical instrument, sing an opera or paint someone's portrait. No one gets noticed for knowing Pathagorean's Theorem but they do get noticed when they are on stage performing.

My classroom is next to the band room. Last week I kept hearing the same song over and over. It sounded so boring and it was beginning to annoy me. One day, I asked a student who was in that class what song they were practicing. She asked what song. I said the one that goes up and down and up and down. She said that's not a song, it's scales. To give up some of my math intelligence to know something like this would be an easy choice.

So, I guess knowing math helped me look smart in school, but lack of other intelligences make me feel foolish now.

-- Anonymous, March 01, 1999

I laughed so hard at Ed's description of the song that goes up and down and up and down. What great writing THAT is, Ed!

I also shuddered at Joanne's experience of having something labeled "trite" -- and especially at her remembering the exact word years later. I remember having a teacher label a piece of my writing "dull" in a college journalism course, but that made me feel determined never to have that comment given to my writing again. My philosophy about writing by high school students is that their words are an extension of their ego (it's really true of all of us), and that any comments or judgments need to be made in that light. I would never tell a student that her poem was trite. (But, Joanne, most high school students' poems ARE trite, so don't feel bad. It's a function of youth.)

I agree with those of you who express concern about buoying students' confidence in their various intelligences without de-emphasizing the importance of verbal-linguistic skills. For instance, I have a ninth-grade student who is new to Marshall this year. Her writing skills were so deficient and I couldn't tell what her reading skills were, because she never read anything I assigned. My approach with her has been gentle but firm. She will not succeed in my English class unless I see her making a strong effort to improve her skills. I had one parent tell me that her son doesn't read his assignments because "he hates to read." My unspoken response to that is, "Then perhaps you should enroll him in a school where students don't read." Unless our society learns to communicate in a way other than with language, the abilities to speak, read, and write will be paramount to success.

-- Anonymous, March 06, 1999

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