Monday, August 24, 2009

Reality of Multiple Intelligences

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."

- Albert Einstein

“I hear music again”, she said.

It was 1993. I knew she was feeling better. My wife had that look of silently humming to herself again. It was a slow recovery from the accident.

I’ve read articles about MI and Frames of Mind by Howard Gardner, but hadn’t formed an opinion yet. That was going to change.

My wife, Cyndi, was jogging on one of those beautiful days in San Diego. We normally jogged together (B.K., Before Kids), but I had to go to work. She accepted the self-challenge of a steep hill. And it ended with a dreadful thud and the crack of a fractured skull.

To this day, she doesn’t remember how she arrived to the hospital. Apparently she over exerted herself and fainted at the top of the hill. The x-rays showed a skull fracture that was almost in the shape of a question mark above her left ear. It also created some damage to the eardrum. Her full recovery was slow.

Cyndi has a dominant Musical Intelligence. She sings in choir, plays musical instruments with only public school training, and can hear when someone is off key. She has always been involved in music.

Back in high school she was in Marching Band. She sang in quartets. And always had some kind of music playing in her head.

It was a blessing when she heard the music come back. I didn’t understand at first. I don’t have music always playing in the back of my head. It’s more like a series of imagery running around back there. I thought it was the same for everyone.

The accident temporarily damaged a very important part of who she is. Logical/Mathematical is also a strong point (A in calculus), but it is the music that defines how she sees herself.

I look at schools now and see how the current teach to the standardized test environment is robbing our kids of a full and high quality education. Cyndi’s community involvement and contribution is usually centered on music. She transposes music, run sound systems and sings in a choir to mention a few. It began with the trumpet in the fourth grade. The current conventional wisdom, however, is hostile to anything that does not directly raise test scores. It’s tantamount to striking a blow to the head of every kid who does not fit the mold of learning that would raise test scores.

“I hear music again”, she said. That was so important to us I can cry.

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