Ironically, I spent the morning giving a workshop at the Every Girl Can Conference in Bowie, Maryland. Coincidentally my workshop was called "It's Cool To Be Smart". The focus area I chose was to explain Dr. Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences. It is critical that our young people understand that there are many ways to be smart. We are all smart in different ways - some things just come more natural to us because of our preferences. All "smart" can be learned.
1) We are accustomed to measuring logical/mathematical intelligence.
These are the people who are good with numbers, mathematics and linear thinking come easily for them. STEM courses are simple and teachers praise them openly.
2) People who are verbally/linguistically smart are the ones who are good with words. We are good speakers, writers and communicators. Standardized tests support us as well.
3) You know the people who are good at playing Name That Tune? They are musically smart. Sounds and notes come easy to them and they remember what they heard.
4) The students who are constantly moving around the classroom; the ones we mislabel as ADD -well, those students are probably body/kinesthetic smart. Their body needs to move for them to process information.
This is actually how I became attached to this theory. When Malcolm was in grade 3, I thought flashcards was the way to go. It wasn't until he started throwing paper into the trash can across the room that I realized he already knew his timestables. He just needed to add movement to be able to recall them.
5) Some children are visual/spatial/artistically smart. They are the ones who draw very well, doodle on pages and remember what they saw. Graffiti may not be an appropriate way to express themselves so you might want to make sure that they have alternative ways to create and display what's in their head.
6) Interpersonal intelligence is when people are good at relating to other people. These are the sales people and connectors of the world. Yasmin Anderson-Smith's work in the area of civility is a perfect example of interpersonal intelligence.
7) Similarly, the people who are very aware of their own feelings and what happens on the inside are intrapersonally smart. My years of research and work with clients in the field of behavioral science and human potential are an example of this. I understand the human thought process and how it connects to behavior.
8) Some people are naturalistically smart. They understand nature, plants, animals and the agricultural sciences. You might also find them working at the Home and Garden Center where they can tell you exactly what kind of flowers you need to plant in front your house based on where the sun hits.
So as I said, I don't know what Mykal's score will be on the SAT. What I know is that his positive self-image will motivate him to do all the work necessary to fulfill his dream of being a psychologist. And isn't that all we really want for our kids?