Interpersonal Intelligence discussion : LUSENET : M.Ed. Cohort II : One Thread

I just finished reading the last part of the interpersonal intelligence chapter and it is about multicultural education. So many different ethnic groups and religions are represented in this nation. It really amazes me that interpersonal relationships among different groups in this country are pretty much amicable. I know it hasn't been like this throughout the history of this country, but this country has allowed social change through the civil rights movement, human rights, etc. I think we still have a lot of work to do in regards to better understanding and tolerance among people of different races, but when we look at other parts of the world like the Balkans, the conflict in that region is about 500 hundred years old and they still hate each other because of ethnicity or religious beliefs. I can't believe what they are doing to each other in that region just because they don't believe in what you believe or they belong to a different ethnic group. And if we look in other parts of the world like Ireland, or the problem between China and Tibet, I guess I can go on and on. I think this country is going in the right direction. The purpose of multicultural education is to include and understand every student regardless of their racial, ethnic and social group so everybody can have an equal participation in this society.

-- Anonymous, April 12, 1999


Classes for the last two weeks have been wonderful! Fun instruction from our group, and terrific conversations.......Joanne your vehicle for teaching about interpersonal intelligence was a complete hoot! Give our group a chance to perform and move around and don't we just love it though! Fun, fun! I have been thinking about our Thurs. discussion. This group is so wonderful and special in so many ways. I laugh more and share more within our group than I have in a very long time....Melaine and her input last week comes to mind.....I about split a gut!...anyway, I do give tons and tons of credit to Frank, our leader and spiritual guru. For me this entire process has been a study in self actualization. It seems that every book we read, every lesson we discuss and learn, not only adds to my body of knowledge it also adds to and validates me and the life experiences that I have had. As I think on this it becomes more and more evident that Frank has done this on purpose. He has stuctured all of this in order to illicit exactly those responces. Way cool Frank! Thank you , thank you! Group hug, group hug! See you all on Thus. Jackie

-- Anonymous, April 12, 1999

Interpersonal intelligence? Kind of an interesting premise...that some people just seem to know how to relate to other people in almost any setting. Hmmm. It occurs to me that we have developed a kind of "group interpersonal" intelligence and it is beginning to flower. We are becoming (or have become) quite sensitized to one another and this is a large reason why class is so enjoyable. We enjoy each other and it is like the Cheyenne philosophy of the "giving-away", of being a gift to each other. I like to think we are doing just that. All too often we tend to gloss over this area as being too touchy-feely. I don't think that is fair to anyone. With our fire students we maintain that first you must know yourself, and then you can begin to know those around you. In our business it is vital to be able to live together in sometimes stressfull situations. We also have to get along in the slack or boring times. We put a big emphasis on interpersonal growth and trying to understand someone elses perspective. We don't get to choose who we respond to, so a global awareness is vital. Bill Stains sings a song about "All God's children got a place in the choir. some sing low and some sing higher, some sing out loud on a telephone wire, and some just clap thier hands, or paws, or anything they got...". There's the world right in your lap in a song. We have to help our students develop and nourish and enjoy this intelligence if we are to assist in creating a truly global village, where what you do is more important than what you look like. When our kids were in grade school the gym teacher did a lot with cooperative and collaborative games instead of competitive ones. He thought that they got enough of the competitive stuff everywhere else and he was right. It was fascinating to watch the dynamic of the group of kids as they learned they could do more, and have more fun, together. He was, I am convinced, nuturing this interpersonal intelligence. You are all magic, each in your own way...go out and give the magic to others and watch it grow. Thanks for everything you do, everyday.

-- Anonymous, April 12, 1999

As I read the chapter on Interpersonal Intelligence it all sounded so very familiar to me. First of all, I cover so many interpersonal skillls with the students I have in a Peer Helping class. The skills of being an effective listener, aksing open-ended questions, not being judgemental, interpretation of anothers feelings and responding to them, looking at a situation from the other's point of view and offering to help another problem-solve are just some of the things we cover in a semester. I hear students occasionally repeat skills we've covered in the appropriate context and I say to myself, "Yes - they were listening and they do understand. Another observation of mine is that from all the literature review I've done on my resiliency topic, I've found repeatedly the reference made to characteristics of resilient children and almost everyone of them has a tie to Interpersonal Intelligence. Things like empathy, sense of humor, cooperation skills, emotional stability and positive peer interactions are just a few. Many of these high-risk students survive because of this intellignece. I'm all for reinforcing these in the classroom for all students, regardless of the students background. I had a great time listening to everyone on Thursday - thanks for sharing. Dana

-- Anonymous, April 12, 1999

The discussion Thursday left me wondering what I could do in my classroom to develop a group that interacts and communicates as we do as a cohort. More time needs to be spent on allowing the students to learn about each other and interact with that as a goal. I use pairs or groups often, but I need to focus more on group dynamics and interpersonal skills. Modeling becomes so important. I know they are watching and then imitate when given a leadership or teaching role. It is always interesting to see yourself as a child interacts with another. Accepting diversity is another essential elelment in developing interpersonal relationships. Even when there is little cultural diversity in a classroom, there is often individual and family differences that need to be accepted by others. Helping students understand these differences can lead to teaching multicultural aspects of our society. Teachers need to grow in their understanding of other cultures and pass that on to their students through lessons as well as by the way they model acceptance of diversity in the classroom.

-- Anonymous, April 13, 1999

These activities that the cohort members are teaching are a lot of fun. I hope future cohorts are able to allow their members to share their knowledge to the rest of class in such a creative way. I let my students work together on quite a few different projects. How successful they are depends heavily on how well they are able to cooperate. Some students can handle this concept of working with other people and some have a hard time adjusting to the idea of sharing the work load and listening to other ideas. You can really sense how they will interact in the "real world". I hope the schools will continue to push for more cooperative learning because I think the students need the practice. Ed

-- Anonymous, April 13, 1999

Wow! Joanne, your statement, "Teachers need to grow in their understanding of other cultures . . . model acceptance of diversity in the classroom," is great! As a teacher and a parent, I hear two sides. Some teachers say, "We've had this multicultural stuff up the. . " Whatever that means. As a member of our districts Indian parent committee, I hear parents say, "Teachers need more training to learn or understand our cultural differences. Then, our kids will succeed." Ten years ago, my first year in this district, a multicultural inservice was offered for every employee in the district. Many well-known MN state Indian educators presented at this inservice. We, speaking for Indian education, saw this as a great opportunity for teachers to learn. Very few teachers attended those sessions. We were disappointed. Many teachers attended the Ukranian egg-dyeing session, instead. Maybe, we should have offered "hands-on" activities, too.

Ed, a while back you mentioned we, the cohort, should experience another culture's traditions. There is a pow wow at UMD on Sat. April 17 in the sports arena(hockey). It starts about 1:00 and will run until around 10 or 11. I hope you all can make it.

-- Anonymous, April 13, 1999

When I think of interpersonal intelligence I tend to think of the "golden rule". I have never thought of qualities such as understanding, tolerance, compassion ect. as a form of intelligence. It is an interesting way I think, to link our spirtuality and our intelligence. I believe this is a very important intelligence. It seems to me that knowledge does us very little good if we do not use it to make something better either ourselves, our families, our jobs, our communities or our world. Joanne, you did a great job of giving us some concrete ways to put this intelligence to work. Loly, I really appreciate your perspective on our country doing a fairly good job with tolerance and diversity. I know we are not there yet as a nation but we have made progress and I guess when you look at the rest of the world that is something to be grateful for. Thanks to everyone for continuing to share we are an awesome group.

-- Anonymous, April 13, 1999

Hi Groupees!

I thought I would go off in a different direction from the previous discussion. First, though, thank you, Joanne, for the great group activities. As Jackie said, those get-involved activities sure make for good understanding and a whole bunch of fun.

This is a bit long, but I word processed (I think most) of the discussion about what makes our particular cohort so DARN effective. If you want a copy of this, I can e-mail you an Word attachment or I can bring hard copy to class. Just let me know by Wednesday night.

Here goes:

Strengths of our Cohort 2

A. Frank . . . 1. gave us opportunities to choose our direction. 2. let us know his expectations so that we could rise to meet them. 3. said he rose to meet our expectations. 4. appeared to be relaxed when issues arose. 5. listened carefully. 6. took action when it was needed. 7. trusted us enough to share his personal concerns with us. 8. gave us enough time to share.

B. Our group members shared . . . 1. their expertise. 2. experiences. 3. their reflections and commentaries.

C. In our group . . . 1. we have trust. 2. we are comfortable enough to share personal thoughts and experiences. 3. we have familiarity. 4. is a mix of personalities. 5. is a mix of teachers of various grade levels and subject areas. 6. we have high quality professionals. 7. we've laughed together and at each other! 8. we keep within our group those things we discuss.

D. To name a few, we studied and learned and discussed . . . 1. Covey. 2. Gardner's Quality School. 3. our quality school concepts. 4. our site visits. 5. about the "toxic child."

E. Technology . . . 1. was new to some and "old hat" to others and was taught by the experienced ones to the not-yet-literate ones. 2. is a must for master teachers. 3. is a means for us teachers to connect and interact with each other. 4. makes our presentations "powerful"-you know, PowerPoint!-and is fun when you know how to use it!

F. If we tried to improve it, we would . . . 1. introduce and tell something about ourselves at the first or second session. 2. wear nametags right away. 3. participate in "ice breaker" activities to jump-start our "cohort" awareness. 4. do more "fun stuff."

G. Then there is always that . . . 1. element of "chemistry" (get it, chemistry - element!!). 2. serendipity factor. 3. matter of chance. 4. magic that some groups have.

Our Cohort 2 seems to have something special going on. What do you think?

-- Anonymous, April 13, 1999

When I was reading the responses this morning, I tried to guess who was writing each one. I really am getting to know you! Last week was great. Thank you Joanne. The activity was fun. I guess my job is almost all interpersonal. I have eight parent groups I work with each week and when they come together, I have to somehow get them to work together--sometimes as many as 17 (that's my largest group so far). We start by being very open about the fact that most of us do not know each other and we discuss what we all want from the group. Through this process we set down ground rules--each group a little different but usually always focusing on feeling safe in the group. That involves confidentiality, being non-judgemental, participating, not dominating the conversation, etc. Then we have all the different personalities--like Joanne said--she feels comfortable not saying too much others like to talk all the time. And then I have to remember that the parents elect to be there--they do not have to attend like most students. So I must be very careful not to offend or make someone feel uncomfortable. It's a real balancing act everyday. But I enjoy it so much. It feels so good to see a group come together, get to now one another, and begin to bond and to learn valuable bits and pieces about the job of parenting. Sometimes, I feel like a weaver--someone says something, and I try to hook it up with another comment, and bring someone else in to the discussion, and add another comment, bring it around to a piece of theory that validates what the parents have been saying. And sometimes, out of the blue, someone says something that is not part of the ECFE belief system and I have to figure out a way to say that without discounting what the parent has just said. Its a real challenge somedays--but always worth it in the end.

-- Anonymous, April 14, 1999

Some thought-provoking comments as usual, everyone. In particular, Gayle, thank you for the invitation to the Pow-wow; Rebecca, thank you for the organized way you provided insight and reflection; Joanne, thanks for the entertaining interpersonal activites.

Frank did not assign anyone to take on the task of intrapersonal intelligence so I thought I would come with a short, fun experiment to share. It also might be interesting to reflect on what we might have gained in our intrapersonal intelligence as a result of being in this cohort. See you tomorrow.

-- Anonymous, April 14, 1999

The discussion last week was great. As we began discussing the success of our cohort, I started to think of how much we are like a family who goes on a long vacation trip together. The journey may be long, exciting, frustrating, and even boring at times, but it is something we all share. A shared experience, challenge or problem brings us closer together. I remember some terrible camping trips from girl scouts when we were cold, wet and exhausted, yet felt exhiliration at meeting the challenge. Now I laugh at those memories and share new challenges with my daughter's girl scout troop.

I can relate to Gloria's "weaving" in parent discussion groups. You truly are thinking on your feet all the time to keep the discussion moving, bring in examples, and try to draw in those who don't contribute to the discussion. I have had some "magical" groups that were synergistic, and some groups that never seemed to get off the ground. One group had several lonely, worried moms who were full of self-doubt in guding their children. As the group continued to meet, they gained confidence, made lasting friendships for themselves and their children, and developed a support network for each other that still is in place even though they don't all attend ECFE classes together any longer. They made some major changes in their lives and families. It was amazing to watch, and I'm glad to have been a part of it.

My son's 5th grade classroom has been doing a lot of interpersonal work. At the beginning of the year, they each applied for jobs in the classroom-- my son submitted a resume and letter of application and was hired as the class banker. They earn "money" performing tasks in the classroom and use that money to trade for goods and services among each other. For example, my son hired an artist to help illustrate a poem, and he was paid to do some word processing. They have learned that each child is important in the classroom and has something to share. They have had great experiences working together.

Gayle, thanks for the invitation to the pow wow. I would love to attend but will be in Eau Claire with my daughter for state honor band auditions. Brett Thompson Lookingback and his wife performed several dances at the Depot over spring break, accompanied by students from Fond du Lac who did the drumming. It was wonderful.

-- Anonymous, April 14, 1999

Joanne, I really enjoyed the activities last Thursday. The majority of my job involves interpersonal intelligence. Being a Team memeber of 40+ varied educational teams in the district can be rather trying. My role is different on everyone...It's not always easy to be a contributing memeber of a team when the team isn't working together or has very differnet opinions about what a child needs. I guess I never really thought about the interpersonal skills being an intelligence. I am often in the position of 'telling' a parent that their child has characteristics of Autism. I don't have a standard way of doing that...ever parent is different, every parent is in a different place with their child. Many are greatful, many are hostile and many are devastated. I guess I have developed those skills over time...being able to read and understand a parent, or other Team member and deal with the situation in a professional way. I also agree that we have become a very close interpersonal group. When I first started in the cohort I was worried, being the only special education person (even though there are a few ex-sped folks). I initially heard some, what I considered negative opinions, about special ed students and their inclusion in regular ed classes and I wasn't sure that I would be able to participate in discussions. I certainly understand many peoples concerns...again it's part of my job to assist in making that inclusion successful, and I have seen to many of the failures. I've heard that opinion change over the last two years and have watched folks look at other ways to teach kids other than the lecture/worksheet way. I have also found a group of very supportive people who are in tune with each other and willing to give support in both professional and personal situations. Thursday nights have become a godsend...It will be hard to let it end...

-- Anonymous, April 15, 1999

Well I will get the hang of this yet, but couldn't figure out where my entry went about intrapersonal until 5 minutes ago. I accidentaly put it in the "question" section. Oh well, if your interested cohort you can find it there. See Frank, I am trying. I am learning about "no server available" and "cookies" and everything! I will get it right one of these days. Sandy Pearson

-- Anonymous, April 15, 1999

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