When Jay Leno asked Steve Carell how his kids were doing, he didn’t seem too concerned:
“I hate it when people talk about kids on talk shows. ... (Is Your Child Ungifted?
This blogger is a bit glib in my view about what is a serious topic. Even though his tongue is stuck in his cheek, he speaks clearly and raises some important issues and surfaces concerns about how we categorize ourselves and our children. I will throw my hat in this 'ring'. I make no apologies, glib though I may also be!
When Howard Gardener came out with his "Theory of Multiple Intelligences" my first impression was "Why all the fuss about an explanation of the patently obvious?" Any teacher working in the SPED departments of our schools could have told you back in the early 80's that kids are smart in all kinds of ways that school generally either ignores, criticizes--or in some cases punishes! Good teachers--Genral Ed or SPED are all about "how are my students smart?" rather than "How smart are my students?"
What Gardener did was to over intellectualize, over generalize and over complicate a fairly simple notion--that students and people are different and possess a range of capabilities and affinities. The surprise for me was that anyone in education was surprised!
But there’s a dark side to Gardner's MI theory: I call it Salza's MS Syndrome: Salza's Multiple Stupidities Syndrome. SMSS sticks in my throat and interferes with my breathing when I hear educators generalizing about dyslexics—talking about how dyslexics are gifted spatially, or artistically. What if we are not? What if I am a student who is struggling to read and spell in school, but I don’t yet know what other abilities I may be able to develop as I grow? I get incorrectly labeled “learning disabled”? (And it’s a short hop from “LD” to ‘stupid’ because our schools and our parents incorrectly equate “learning“ with “reading” at the very start of the journey in first grade. ‘ Reading’ does not equal ‘Learning.’ Then to add insult to injury, someone comes up with a list of other things smart people are supposed to be able to do--and I don't find myself anywhere on that list, either!
The concept we call 'intelligence' is largely a manufactured set of conclusions based on the bigotry of the 1920's and flimsiest of intellectual constructs of the 40's and 50's. Don’t take my word for it --Check out:The Mismeasure of Man - Stephen Jay Gould - Google Books
books.google.com › Social Science › Sociology › General
"When published in 1981, The Mismeasure of Man was immediately hailed as a masterwork, the ringing answer to those who would classify people, rank them according to their supposed genetic gifts and limits."
Read it and weep! Then ask why we are still trying to call any behavior an “intelligence.” Seems condescending when Gardner does it, bigoted when we do it in schools to grant or deny access to learning services.--Lou
"..When Jay Leno asked Steve Carell how his kids were doing, he didn’t seem too concerned: “I hate it when people talk about kids on talk shows. I hate it, because every person who talks about their kids, their kids are obviously the most intelligent and the cutest. They’re all very, very gifted children. Ask me about my kids. They’re alright. Are they the cutest? Meh… They’ll get by. I mean, they’re not going to freak anyone out. In terms of intellect— it’s like, Ehhh, you know. They’re not going to be at the back of the class, not going to be at the front of the class– they’ll be in the middle kind of looking out the window. They’ll get by.”
Worried that your own child is ungifted? Take a cue from Carell and relax. Thankfully for you and your child, there are many conceptualizations of giftedness– and therefore many ways to not be ungifted.
Where should we start? How about with the most traditional conceptualization of them all: high IQ. Does your child score above 130 on an IQ test? If so, congratulations! We can probably stop right here. Historically, giftedness has been defined as top 2-3% on an IQ test. While most gifted and talented programs these days no longer rely solely on this criteria, most programs in the United States do privilege the child’s IQ score above all other potential indicators of giftedness.** So if your child scores above the arbitrary IQ threshold set by the school district, you should have no trouble convincing your school that your child isn’t ungifted..."