Multiple Intelligences Essay

The article that is to be reviewed is “Identification of giftedness in
culturally diverse groups” by Wilma Vialle in Gifted Education
International, 1999, Vol 13, pp 250 -257. In this article Vialle (1999)
recognises the under representation of disadvantaged students in educationally
gifted programs. Vialle identifies the disadvantaged students as being children
from “…non-English-speaking backgrounds, indigenous children and
economically disadvantaged children” (Vialle, 1999, p250). Vialle suggests
the cause of this under representation of disadvantaged students lies in the
linear model approach “..whereby a narrow set of identification
procedures? usually an IQ test? is used to identify gifted students who are
then placed in a program that may or may not be specifically designed to meet
their intellectual strengths.” (Vialle, 1999, pp. 251-252). Vialles
perceived resolution to neutralise these disadvantages occurring in the
identification of giftedness is to use an identifying procedure that shifts from
the more traditional approach of mainly IQ testing to a more diverse,
multi-facet approach that supports the use of Howard Gardner’s Multiple
Intelligence’s Theory. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory opposes
traditional methods that view intelligence as unitary, and perceive’s
intelligence to contain seven distinct domains. These domains include and can be
defined as follows: Linguistic Intelligence is the ability to use language to
excite, please, convince, stimulate or convey information; Logical-mathematical
Intelligence is the ability to explore patterns, categories, and relationships
by manipulating objects or symbols, and to experiment in a controlled orderly
way; Spatial Intelligence is the ability to perceive and mentally manipulate a
form or object, and to perceive and create tension, balance, and composition in
a visual or spatial display; Musical Intelligence is the ability to enjoy,
perform, or compose a musical piece; Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is the
ability to use fine and gross motor skills in sports, the performing arts, or
arts and craft production; Intrapersonal Intelligence is the ability to gain
access to and understand one’s inner feelings, dreams, and ideas; and
Interpersonal Intelligence is the ability to get along and understand others.

(Hatch ; Gardner, 1988, cited in Vialle 1999, pp.252-253). Using these
aspects for assessment criteria to identify giftedness in particular areas,
instead of traditional measures is the key argument presented in this article.

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Several other authors have share the same view as Vialle when concerning
disadvantaged students, but offer different assessment procedures again. In
agreeing with Vialle, Bolig ; Day state that “Traditional intelligence
tests…specify neither how, nor what, to teach to improve performance; they
discriminate against minorities and individuals whose backgrounds are not middle
and upper-middle class; they fail to address individual differences in
motivation, personality, and/or social competence….and they only assess one
dimension of an individual’s abilities, that of intellectual
ability.”(Bolig ; Day, 1993, p. 110). Bolig ; Day then present
their method to identify gifted students in a non-discriminating manner that
consists of the concept of dynamic assessment. Dynamic assessment includes
static measures of ability as well as dynamic measures that consist of
“…tests of ongoing learning that measure how easily the child acquires
new knowledge and skills. (Bolig & Day, p. 110). The idea presented seems
underdeveloped when compared to that of Vialle as collecting portfolios of
children work is done in many schools already, and the disadvantage has more
potential to occur when compared to using Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence
Theory. Multiple Intelligence Theory in identifying giftedness contains enough
scope to break some of the culturally diverse barriers sometimes experienced
because of the three underlying principles of Gardner’s Theory that are
pluralisation, contextualisation and distribution.”Pluralisation involves
the recognition that intelligence is a complex, multi-faceted concept;
contextualisation demands that intelligence be interpreted in the light of the
milieu in which the individual functions; and finally, distribution involves the
individual’s relationship with other resources and artefacts, particularly the
ways in such resources are used to support or enhance intelligent behaviour”.

(Gardner, 1994, cited in Vialle, 1999, p. 253). In using a multi-facet
assessment procedure students from diverse backgrounds are able to show an array
of skills in different areas of intelligence, and be recognised as containing
such attributes, that were not traditionally thought about as being intelligence
until recently. There are still many differing opinions about intelligence and
there are limitations recognised in both models, traditional and contemporary.

Berk (1997) in discussing Gardner’s Theory acknowledges the importance and
connotations for the field of Intelligence recognition, but also raises some
limitations and states that “..neurological support for the independence of
his intelligence’s is weak….[and that] logical-mathematical ability, in
particular seems to be governed by many brain regions, not just one. (Berk,
1997, p307). Berk (1997) also recognises that some current mental tests assess
some of the main intelligence’s identified by Gardner . Vialle in presenting
Multiple Intelligence Theory realises and develops class room based activities
and assessment practices that relate to the different intelligence types
identified by Gardner. In presenting these activities and procedures Vialle is
displaying her competence and usefulness of the suggested approach. Multiple
Intelligence theory has several important implications for the class room as it
caters and provides for a large diversity and actually takes into consideration
cultural background. This can be seen in his definition of intelligence, in that
“..intelligence refers to the human ability to solve problems or to make
something that is valued in one or more cultures”. (Checkley, September
1997, The First Seven …and the Eighth [online]). The importance is seen in
what is deemed culturally important, and it needs to be recognised that what is
deemed as important in one culture might not be given the same significance in
another, therefore confusion can sometimes occur in determining what is and is
not important. It can be concluded from Vialle, that there is a significant
under representation of disadvantaged students in gifted programs throughout
Australia and the United States. Vialle attributes this to the traditional
procedures used in determining intelligence among students and the amount of
biases contained by these tests towards the disadvantaged students. IN
presenting Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence theory Vialle constructs and
appropriate argument about the method that should be used to determine
intelligence and supports this with relevant, real world class room activities
and assessment procedures. These procedures allow intelligence to be recognised
as more than just cognitive competence and focus on real world skills that are
used in everyday situations and contain little cultural biases. This article
develops valuable insights into the relevance, implementation and assessment of
diverse intelligence and states that “..talent identification can occur as
a consequence of providing an engaging, varied and challenging environment in
which students’ potentials are given the opportunity to emerge.” (Vialle,
1999, p. 253).

Berk, L. (1997) Child Development 4th Edition. Massachusetts: Allyn and
Bacon. Bolig, E. & Day, J. (1993) Dynamic Assessment of Giftedness: The
Promise of Assessing Training Responsiveness. Roper Review, Vol. 16, No. 2.

(1993) pp. 110- 113. Butcher, H. (1977). Human Intelligence it’s Nature and
Assessment. London:Methuen ; Co Ltd. Checkley, K (1997, September)
Educational Leadership Vol. 55, No. 1. [Online]. Available URL: http//
Eysenck, H (ed.) (1982) A Model for Intelligence. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Gardner, H.(no date supplied) Intelligence in Seven Steps. [Online]. Available
URL: Hadaway, N. ;
Marek-Schroer, M. (1992) Multidimensional Assessment Of The Gifted Minority
Student. Roper Review. November/December, 1992, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp/ 73-77.

Sternberg, R. (1986) Advances in the Psychology of Human Intelligence. Vol. 3.

New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. Tyler-Wood, T. ; Carri,
L. (1991) Identification of Gifted Children: The Effectiveness of Various
Measures of Cognitive Ability. Roper Review, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1991, pp. 63- 64.

Vialle, W. (1999). Identification of giftedness in culturally diverse groups.

Gifted Education International, 1999 Vol. 13, pp. 250 – 257. A B Academic
Publishers. Vialle, W. ; Perry, J. (1995) Nurturing Multiple Intelligences
in the Australian Classroom. Australia: Hawker Brownlow Education.


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