Multiple intelligences are a way into any child's psyche. Using them, we can redefine children's sense of themselves. People live up (or down) to our expectations of them. Call a child an idiot often enough and you will have an idiot. Rephrase your sense of them so that they are aware of and proud of their specific abilities, however trivial these may seem, and the butterfly will soon emerge from its chrysalis.
A brief description of the major intelligences
BODILY/KINETIC INTELLIGENCE: physical intelligence, coordination, dexterity. The bodily intelligent child might be brilliant at catching, throwing or kicking a ball. They make great dancers, athletes engineers or carpenters. This is probably the most fascinating educationally, in that so many of our children, particularly boys, have this in high quotients, and quite often this fact is completely and conveniently ignored. It's a missed opportunity. It is often the case that children who struggle the most academically possess the highest quotient of bodily intelligence.
INTER-PERSONAL INTELLIGENCE: means people skills, having the intuitive ability to show empathy towards others, and being able to communicate fluently. A child with inter-personal intelligence is often the life and soul, can relate to anyone, and doesn't appear to fear social situations. This intelligence is vital for going to work and school. Both environments can be pretty bleak without it.
INTRA-PERSONAL INTELLIGENCE: the child who has a strong internal dialogue, who possesses self- awareness, and an ability to think. This is often, though not exclusively, found in those who have little of the inter —personal variety. Those with strong intra-personal intelligence are worth going the extra mile for. They may not be gregarious, or say much, but the fact they have thought deeply about the world and their place in it means that when they do say something, it will usually be worth listening to.
VISUAL/SPATIAL INTELLIGENCE: awareness of space and of shapes; a strong sense of the visual — for example, the ability to navigate unfamiliar streets, or to make sense of the world through its visual representation. People who have a high quotient of visual intelligence think in pictures.
MUSICAL INTELLIGENCE: the ability to memorize a musical phrase, hold a tune, or execute a spoken or musical phrase with sensitivity and grace. An ability with or love of music is a joyful thing that enriches the lives of those who possess it. It should have a more prominent place in South African classrooms than it has currently. Music should infiltrate every area of the school curriculum.
LOGICAL/MATHEMATICAL INTELLIGENCE: the ability to work things out, to take a step-by-step approach to a complex problem —for instance, the deductive reasoning needed to play chess well. People with a high degree of this type of intelligence can work through the details of a problem step-by-step, and deduce an answer; but they are often less good at dealing with the emotional side of thing's.
LINGUISTIC/VERBAL INTELLIGENCE: a talent for words; the ability to read, write and speak well. If your children are masters of language, love reading books and are difficult to shut up once they've got going, they are likely to have a well developed linguistic intelligence, and you should void arguments with them.
NATURALISTIC INTELLIGENCE: a child who enjoys pets. A child who likes to be outdoors and loves learning about nature. They frequently enjoy caring for house plants. They may enjoy hunting and fishing. They enjoy hiking in natural places. They frequently ask to visit the zoo. The world of plants and animals is important to them. These are some of the signs of a child with naturalistic intelligence.
Using these intelligences, we can redefine children's sense of themselves, particularly those who have had the millstone of failure hung around their necks