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1995: Roy Winstead - The Brain Game: A Search for Understanding the Mystery of Intelligences


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1995: Roy Winstead - The Brain Game: A Search for Understanding the Mystery of Intelligences

R Winstead

Roy Winstead is a native of North Carolina. He graduated from East Carolina University with his Bachelor's Degree in Intermediate Education in 1972 and a Master's Degree in Public School Curriculum, Supervision, and Administration in 1978. He received his Doctor of Education Degree in Public School Curriculum, Supervision, and Administration from Brigham Young University in 1985. He has spent his career in public education as a classroom teacher, curriculum supervisor, administrator and as adjunct faculty in teacher education for a private college prior to coming to Brigham Young University - Hawaii as Chair of the Department of Elementary Education in 1987.

>Winstead joined the LDS Church in January 1972, his senior year in college. He met his future wife, also a convert that same year, through the LDS branch they attended. They were married and sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on August 14, 1973. They are the parents of four children (Seth, Claire, Peter, and Spencer).


Introduction

The word "intelligence" is one of those words readily used by those in the human race who consider themselves "intelligent." Yet, when one pursues a definitive explanation of the understanding individuals have of what "intelligence" means, that is where the commonality ends. What "intelligence" means has been the subject of many authors, educators, psychologists and attorneys.

One may question if "intelligence" is something that, in fact, should be pursued. The Lord provides the following perspective in the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C):

Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (D&C 130:18-19)

The following five readings will provide a background for the lecture. The readings give doctrinal points on intelligence made by the prophet Joseph Smith, as well as other prophets and church leaders. They also provide an overview of how the world has viewed intelligence, how intelligence testing has been utilized in society and the schools, and the status of IQ in today’s society.

Consider the information contained in these readings in light of your personal beliefs as well as how the information meshes with the general education, religion, and major courses you have taken. Having prepared with these readings, the 1995 David O. McKay lecture will be much more meaningful.

  • First Reading: Doctrinal Usage and Explanations of "Intelligence" Given by the Prophet Joseph Smith
  • Second Reading: Statements About "Intelligence" Given by Other Prophets and Church Leaders
  • Third Reading: How Has the World Viewed Intelligence?
  • Fourth Reading: What Is The Origin Of Intelligence Testing In Society And Schools?
  • Fifth Reading: Is The Traditional Notion Of IQ Changing?

President David O. McKay stated: "Too many of us go through life catching occasional glimpses of a higher spiritual world; but, unfortunately, we remain satisfied with but a glimpse and refuse to put forth the effort required to uncover the beauties and glory of that spiritual realm." In keeping with the spirit of President McKay’s statement, we read in the Doctrine and Covenants:

Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. [italics added] (130:18-19)

The purpose of this lecture is to evaluate the status of intelligence in American society from a public educator’s viewpoint. The lecture will also examine selected findings in brain research that impact on intelligence and the learning process we call education.

Intelligence Applied in American Society

With the creation of the first intelligence test by Alfred Binet, the use of IQ has metamorphosed into a simple unitary dimension, comparing children and adults along the same mental scale. With the advent of the intelligence test came a massive industry of test-makers in America and camps of advocates saying intelligence is innate, or in-born, versus those saying intelligence is a result of one’s environmental experiences.

Although Binet created the first intelligence test, his strong opposition to the hereditarian view is reflected in the following statement:

Some recent philosophers appear to have given their moral support to the deplorable verdict that the intelligence of an individual is a fixed quantity.... We must protest and act against this brutal pessimism.... A child’s mind is like a field for which an expert farmer has advised a change in the method of cultivating, with the result that in place of desert land, we now have a harvest. (Whimbey & Whimbey, pp. 116-117)

That which Binet feared has since become known as a "self-fulfilling prophecy," where labels and teacher attitudes, in fact, give direction to a child’s behavior. (Gould)

Others vocally champion the widely popularized statement that 80 percent of the variance in intelligence is genetically determined, with 20 percent contributed by environmental factors. Genetic determinists use this statement to support their arguments that "innate differences in intelligence exist among the races and that bringing higher education to the lower socioeconomic classes is an impossible task." (Whimbey & Whimbey, p. 144)

Last year, the publication of The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life rekindled considerable attention on the issue of genetically acquired intelligence. Authors Herrnstein and Murray state:

An IQ score is a better predictor of job productivity than a job interview, reference checks, or college transcript. Most sweepingly important, an employer that is free to pick among applicants can realize large economic gains from hiring those with the highest IQs. An economy that lets employers pick applicants with the highest IQs is a significantly more efficient economy. Herein lies the policy problem: Since 1971, Congress and the Supreme Court have effectively forbidden American employers from hiring based on intelligence tests (p. 64).

The authors even claim that intelligence is different among racial classes. While they are careful to avoid stating which races are intellectually inferior, it is difficult to ignore the impact that perception has on the treatment of individuals.

For example, a major study involving transracial adoption found that blacks and biracial children adopted as infants by upper-middle-class whites tested similarly to whites from the same socioeconomic class. However, the same children tested ten years later revealed a statistically significant drop in scores. Some argued that environmental influences altered the scores. Others attributed the difference in the perception the children had of themselves as they became more aware of societal norms for blacks. (Cose) There remains no universally accepted answer to this question.

Herrnstein and Murray drew immediate critical reaction. Their book captured the cover attention of Newsweek magazine. Editorial cartoonists complemented the "intelligence is determined by race" message by adding their own "theories." One journalist suggested that with 852 pages weighing three pounds, including 44 tables, 93 graphs, seven appendixes and 108 pages of footnotes, "rarely has social science ... created such a ruckus." (Hampson) Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how one views the situation, co-author Herrnstein died last year, leaving Murray to catch the brunt of the criticism.

Not to be forgotten, the computer software industry is capitalizing on the popularity of The Bell Curve. Now available, for $15, is a computer IQ test. Only 40 minutes long and "modeled on the ... granddaddy of IQ tests," ("Test," p. 10) the advertisement boldly proclaims that the test will help determine "whether you have what it takes to succeed." ("Test," p. 10)

A brief review of history reveals how the "white man" has incorporated the traditional concept of intelligence into his social and political decision-making. Our founding fathers included these words in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (Sizemore, p. 11) Created equal? Liberty? Happiness? Yet, this new land founded on such "unalienable rights" would be split in half over the rights of another human, leading to a civil war of catastrophic proportions.

Even following the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves, the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, referred to as the Civil War amendments, would be required in order to declare slavery unconstitutional, grant slaves citizenship and guarantee voting rights, respectively.

During this period of rebellion, citizens, defiant of federal intervention in the slave issue, began holding meetings of the Ku Klux Klan. (Haskins) The work of the KKK has continued since this early beginning and still remains a powerful force in many communities today.

By way of information, the Fifteenth Amendment, which extended voting privileges to "citizens of the United States," did not include one important group of individuals. Women were not constitutionally guaranteed the right to vote for fifty more years, a half century later, when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified in 1920. Maybe the "white man" thought there were IQ differences in gender as well as race? We’ll save that thought for another discussion.

In spite of new-found constitutional rights, African-Americans specifically would be relegated to live in a state of "separate but equal" until the 1954 Brown v. Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court ruling that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. The following year, the civil rights movement gained its real impetus with the arrest of Rosa Mae Parks. Refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus to a white passenger, she was arrested. Her arrest led to the selection of Martin Luther King, Jr. as spokesperson for the black community. From that point, as they say, the rest is history. (Haskins)

Lest anyone assume that civil rights ends the controversy, consider the recent article published by a Los Angeles chapter of Mensa, a high-IQ society with a membership that represents the top two percent of the population. The authors advocate that "people who are so mentally defective that they cannot live in society should, as soon as they are identified as defective, be humanely dispatched." In other words, exterminated. Such "people" are defined in the article as the homeless, mentally retarded, and the aged.

The article further states that Adolf Hitler’s greatest offense was not the annihilation of six million Jews but "the fact that his actions prevent a rational discussion of the creation of the master race." ("Mensa," 1995) Also consider the white doctor in Zimbabwe who was recently convicted of professional negligence for conducting experiments which led to the death of two poor, black patients. ("Doctor")

Sir Francis Galton deduced from his research in the late 1800s that intelligence was a singular absolute. Charles Spearman challenged that theory around the turn of the century. The debate has raged since. Although the notion that each person has a distinct "IQ" still exists today, the idea has finally come under serious challenge. (Sprinthall, et al.)

Theory of Multiple Intelligences

Instead of asking the question "How intelligent is the person," Howard Gardner, a Harvard psychologist, advocates that we should be asking "in what ways is this person intelligent?" (Gray & Viens, p. 22) Gardner refers to this as multiple intelligences. (1983)

The idea of multiple intelligences is not new, however. As early as the 1920s, Louis L. Thurstone advanced the notion that intelligence was a combination of seven factors that he referred to as "vectors of the mind." In 1967, J. P. Guilford indicated there may be as many as 120 separately identifiable factors. (Sprinthall, et al.) What seems different with Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences is that education circles are taking the idea seriously. Numerous books and articles have been written by and for educators that discuss classroom application of the principles of multiple intelligences.

Gardner changed the paradigm in which we view the word intelligence. He describes intelligence as "socially valued human behaviors and characteristics, rather than a preoccupation with finding and describing a fixed, unitary phenomenon of nature." (Smith & Smith, p. 418) It has been stated that to take Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences seriously is to "abandon twentieth-century IQ and achievement tests." (Smith & Smith, p. 418)

The theory of multiple intelligences is based, in part, on the evidence which shows that even students who have been by all outward standards and measures, well trained, and who exhibit all the typical overt signs of success — faithful attendance at good schools, high grades, high test scores, high recommendations from their teachers, etc. — typically do not display an adequate understanding of the materials and concepts with which they have been working. (1991)

Those who work in the schools know that the emphasis has always been on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences. Gardner points out that "Beyond question that combination is important for mastering the agenda of school, but we have gone too far in ignoring the other intelligences." (1991, p. 81)

Gardner has categorized human capabilities into the following seven intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. Thomas Armstrong has summarized Gardner’s intelligences in his1994 book entitled Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom as follow.

  1. Linguistic intelligence: This is the capacity to use words effectively, whether orally (e.g., as a storyteller, orator, or politician) or in writing (e.g., as a poet, playwright, editor, or journalist). This intelligence includes the ability to manipulate the syntax or structure of language, the phonology or sounds of language, the semantics or meanings of language, and the pragmatic dimensions or practical uses of language. Some of these uses include rhetoric (using language to convince others to take a specific course of action), mnemonics (using language to remember information), explanation (using language to inform), and metalanguage (using language to talk about itself).
  2. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence: This refers to the capacity to use numbers effectively (e.g., as a mathematician, tax accountant, or statistician) and to reason well (e.g., as a scientist, computer programmer, or logician). This intelligence includes sensitivity to logical patterns and relationships, statements and propositions (if-then, cause-effect), functions, and other related abstractions. The kinds of processes used in the service of logical-mathematical intelligence include: categorization, classification, inference, generalization, calculation, and hypothesis testing.
  3. Spatial Intelligence: This is the ability to perceive the visual-spatial world accurately (e.g., as a hunter, scout, or guide) and to perform transformations upon those per-ceptions (e.g., as an interior decorator, architect, artist, or inventor). This intelligence involves sensitivity to color, line, shape, form, space, and the relationships that exist between these elements. It includes the capacity to visualize, to graphically represent visual or spatial ideas, and to orient oneself appropriately in a spatial matrix.
  4. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: This refers to the expertise in using one’s whole body to express ideas and feelings (e.g., as an actor, a mime, an athlete, or a dancer) and facility in using one’s hands to produce or transform things (e.g., as a craftsperson, sculptor, mechanic, or surgeon). This intelligence includes specific physical skills such as coordination, balance, dexterity, strength, flexibility, and speed, as well as proprioceptive, tactile, and haptic capacities.
  5. Musical Intelligence: This is the capacity to perceive (e.g., as a music aficionado), discriminate (e.g., as a music critic), transform (e.g., as a composer), and express (e.g., as a performer) musical forms. This intelligence includes sensitivity to the rhythm, pitch or melody, and timbre or tone color of a musical piece. One can have a figural or "top-down" understanding of music (global, intuitive), a formal or "bottom-up" understanding (analytic, technical), or both.
  6. Interpersonal Intelligence: This refers to the ability to perceive and make distinctions in the moods, intentions, motivations, and feelings of other people. This can include sensitivity to facial expressions, voice, and gestures; the capacity for discriminating among many different kinds of interpersonal cues; and the ability to respond effectively to those cues in some pragmatic way (e.g., to influence a group of people to follow a certain line of action).
  7. Intrapersonal Intelligence: This is the self-knowledge and the ability to act adaptively on the basis of that knowledge. This intelligence includes having an accurate picture of oneself (one’s strengths and limitations); awareness of inner moods, intentions, motivations, temperaments, and desires; and the capacity for self-discipline, self-understanding, and self-esteem. (pp. 2-3)

Armstrong has taken Gardner’s theory one step further in order to put "theory into practice." He has provided "An MI Inventory for Adults" which contains indicators that help create a profile of the intelligences in which an individual is particularly strong. While the inventory is not to be considered an all-inclusive list of indicators, it does provide a good starting point for individuals to assess their strengths in the seven intelligences. (pp. 18-20) [see Appendix for Armstrong’s inventory]

Recent Brain Research

A Congressional resolution declared the 1990s to be the "Decade of the Brain." It is estimated that 95% of what we know about the brain has been learned only within the last fifteen years. (Webb & Webb) What follows is a brief synopsis of numerous research findings that have implications for understanding the process of learning.

The brain’s memory was generally believed to function much like a massive filing system. Information was taken in, analyzed, and then either thrown away or stored in an "orderly, logical, linear fashion." (Webb & Webb, p. 25) Now it is believed that the brain has at least two different types of memory systems, the taxon memory system and the locale memory system.

The taxon memory system, or short-term memory, has a normal capacity to hold about seven to ten "chunks" of information. If rehearsed enough, this information becomes stored in long-term memory. Interestingly, our phone numbers are seven digits, ten if you include the area code, and social security numbers are nine digits.

The locale memory system relies heavily on informational "maps" created in the brain from prior experiences. These maps are used to help bring meaning to, or make interconnections with, new experiences. For example, we call upon our locale memory system to activate our prior experiences with airports to help us find our way through a new one. (Caine & Caine)

Additional research on memory has discovered that the left hemisphere of the brain has a superior ability to process new information, but has a poor memory storage capability. The right hemisphere, on the other hand, has a superior capability to hold long-term memory, but it encodes such information in terms of the emotional and sensual stimuli accompanying the new information. (Webb & Webb)

This discovery is a result of fifteen years of research, according to Dr. Cahill of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California Irvine. Volunteers given an adrenaline-blocking drug were less able to recall the dramatic or upsetting details of a story. However, they could still recall the neutral details of the story. Those volunteers not receiving the adrenaline-blocking drug were able to recall both neutral and upsetting details.

The research also indicates that the level of emotional excitement does not have to be inordinately high in order to improve memory. For example, mild anxiety felt by most students preparing for an exam has actually been shown to facilitate memory implanting. (Goleman)

On the other hand, when we are confronted with difficult or challenging situations, from research on the interrelationship of the physical and emotional functions of the body, we know that the capacity to think clearly, to solve problems, and perceive patterns are clearly affected.

When we react to situations as "challenges," the two hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline actually strengthen us to handle such challenges. However, the research indicates that the deciding factor appears to be whether we see ourselves as capable of meeting the challenge. (Caine & Caine)

Despite assertions that traumatic events are repressed, recent research implicates the role of emotions in creating strong memory. (Begley & Brant) Scientists now believe the two hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline, are also responsible for registering emotional moments in the brain. For example, the news of President Kennedy’s assassination or the space shuttle explosion provide a strong emotional memory for most people.

Another interesting discovery establishes that the final wiring of the brain does not occur until after birth. Researchers at Rockefeller University conducted experiments involving monocular, or single eye, deprivation on cats reared in complete darkness. When compared to normally raised cats, researchers found that the biochemical process important in brain plasticity, or the physical structure of the brain, is not activated or "turned on" until light reaches the brain through the eye’s retinas. (Aoki & Siekevitz)

A recent magazine article begins: "Evidence is accumulating that the brain works a lot like a muscle … the harder you use it, the more it grows." (Golden, p. 63) Hence, the more networks one creates in the brain. Neuroscientists are discovering that the brain can reroute messages through its network of connections even when some become affected by disease. (Golden)

These "networks of connections" have at their center neurons, which are the message transmitters in the brain. Each active neuron is capable of producing up to 20,000 branches, or dendrites, which store information and act as receptors for impulses from other neurons through the connections they make. (Dryden & Vos) It is this capability to produce up to 20,000 branches that is of significance in increasing intelligence and use of the brain machinery.

The pathways along which neurons transmit messages are called axons, which are covered with a myelin sheath, like insulation around an electric wire. We now know that literally thousands of chemical and electrical impulses occur within a fraction of a second among these connections and that the amount of myelin sheathing around axons is not static. New research indicates that the "thicker" the sheathing, which occurs through appropriate brain stimulation, the faster messages will travel.

Sheffield (1993) reports on research in which rats were divided into three groups: a non-stimulating environment, a stimulating environment, and a stimulating environment with problem-solving situations added. Results of the research showed that the stimulating environment with problem-solving group developed the thickest myelin sheathing.

Increased mylenization is significant because it increases the "connective" power of the two memory systems to function within the two hemispheres. Helping children make these cognitive connections is also believed to help encourage the growth of dendrites and further neurological connections. (Sheffield)

Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley examined the anatomical features of the brains of rats over a period of roughly forty years. By accident, the researchers discovered that rats who lived in "enriched" environments had brains that weighed more than those of rats from "impoverished" environments, had ten percent more thickness in the brain’s sensory integration area and increases in enzymes dealing with transmission of impulses.

Brains of the enriched rats also showed an increase in the diameter of blood vessels in the brain, another important factor in brain cell nourishment. Even animals who had lived three-fourths of their lifetime before being placed in enriched environments showed positive changes in somatosensory, frontal cortex, and visual spatial areas. (Caine & Caine)

Research connecting the role of music and the brain has found that the brain functions at many different levels of intelligence. Music activates and stimulates the processing of information through the entire brain, "in a way much deeper and more significant than mere musical opinions held by the neocortex." (Webb & Webb, p. 29)

Pythagoras believed that "musical rhythm could harmonize mental rhythm." (Webb & Webb, p. 26) Music has been described as the "royal road to the right hemisphere, where memory is enthroned" and as a "premium carrier signal, whose rhythms, patterns, contrasts, and varying tonalities encode any new information." (p. 26)

Even a new American Medical Association study has concluded that surgeons who listen to music while working may perform better. In the words of one surgeon who listens to music in the operating room: "For a trauma problem, Pearl Jam is good. For elective surgery, like a head or neck case, you wouldn’t want to get too hyper. Maybe Peter Gabriel." ("Perspectives," 1994)

Activity in the brain is measured in four wave forms: beta, alpha, theta, and delta. (Webb & Webb) Beta waves are the fastest operating of the four waves. These occur when we are awake, fully conscious and conducting our normal activities. Delta waves are the slowest of the four and occur during deep sleep. Alpha waves occur during a state of "relaxed alertness." The fourth is theta. These occur during the early stages of sleep or deep relaxation, when the mind is processing information. (Dryden & Vos)

In order to reach the deeper levels of the mind, the body must be in a state of quiet relaxation, concentrated alertness, and a sense of well-being. When such optimum conditions exist, the brain’s alpha and theta waves are able to prevail over the faster-paced beta waves. Certain types of musical rhythm help achieve the conditions of a relaxed body and calm breathing which then make it possible for the brain to be "highly receptive to learning new information." (Webb & Webb, p. 23)

Researchers have found that baroque music is particularly suited for improving learning. This is attributed to the fact that baroque music generally is written with sixty to seventy beats per minute and that matches the rhythm of the alpha brainwaves. (Dryden & Vos) Some teachers have classified music into active learning and passive learning selections, to correspond with the alpha and theta brainwaves, respectively. (Webb & Webb)

Other research elements that have shown positive effects on the brain’s activity include color and smell. If a person can view his or her favorite color as a background when working, increased brain activity is evident. Peppermint has been shown to be the one scent that creates positive activity in the brain. (Sheffield)

Do men have different brains than women? We have generally believed that the female brain, slightly smaller than the male brain, was simply a copy of the male brain. As far as the distribution of neurons, the female brain was believed to be just slightly smaller. Neuroscientists have now found a greater density of nerve cells, or neurons, in the female brain in the second and sixth layers of the cerebral cortex, including the temporal lobes. Sandra Witelson, one of the researchers, stated that such differences may "help explain variations in speech and perceptual skills between groups of men and women." ("Men, women")

It would be strange to discuss intelligence and the brain and not mention Albert Einstein. Einstein, considered a genius, is known to have played and performed on the violin, an art form unrelated to his everyday studies and contributions. (Golden) Research on Einstein’s brain has found that he had four times more "oligodendroglia" cells, cells responsible for helping speed neural communication, than the brains of eleven other gifted people similarly studied. The question still remains, however, if the increased helper cells were the cause or the effect of Einstein’s genius. (Begley)

With the help of one group, a National Institute of Aging research project has hope in answering a lot of those questions. A convent of nearly 700 retired nuns in Minnesota has become the largest group of brain donors in the world. To date, one hundred have contributed. Besides the fact that they do not smoke and drink very little alcohol, they live to an average age of 85, with many living well beyond that. Of the 150 residing in this community, 25 are older than 90.

It is not uncommon to find the sisters quizzing each other on vocabulary, playing challenging card games, doing various types of puzzles, solving brainteasers, writing spiritual meditations in their journals, sending letters to their congressmen expressing their opinions on various political concerns, playing along with the game show "Jeopardy," and holding weekly current events seminars.

Researchers have discovered that among these nuns, those who earn college degrees, teach and constantly challenge their minds, live longer than those nuns with less education who clean rooms or perform other more manual labor chores. (Golden)

Implications for Education

How do educators utilize the theory of multiple intelligences and recent brain research? Some educational programs today are slowly beginning to focus on students’ strengths and learning styles. Every school day, students are asked to deal with issues. For example, in English literature students may be asked to read Shakespeare’s Hamlet. A test usually follows, checking on students’ ability to understand and recall parts of the play. The best teachers use the knowledge, experiences, and information students bring to class to help students recognize the deeper meanings and issues of Hamlet and make "connections" with the play. (Caine & Caine)

An example of the distinction between ignoring and capitalizing on experience follows. Children literally live with parallel lines all around them. However, when parallel lines are discussed in math, most teachers will draw parallel lines on the blackboard and supply a definition. Suddenly parallel lines become an abstract piece of information to be remembered for a test. No effort has been made to activate the rich connections already in the brain that could provide the learner with an instant "Aha!" sense of what the parallel lines they have already encountered mean in real life, what can be done with them and how they exist other than as a mathematical abstraction. (Caine & Caine)

The sixth grade student text of a popular elementary math series illustrates this point. On the text page, students see a color photograph of a Mondrian painting. The text reads: "This famous painting ... shows lines in a plane. Each pair of lines in a plane either intersects or is parallel." (Champagne, Greenes, McKillip, Orfan, Prevost, Vogeli, Weber, p. 168) Further on the same page is the definition for parallel lines: "Parallel lines are lines in the same plane that never intersect." (Champagne, et al., p. 168) There is no clear, direct instruction to relate the concept of parallelism to real-life experiences.

Another reason schools fail is that they impose on learners a state of unrelieved boredom. Compare states of arousal in the power of entertainment and the arts. A good movie triggers a range of emotions with a series of buildups and releases. The power of great theater lies to a large extent in the way in which it uses this tension. Consider the impact of the scene in the movie Somewhere in Time when Christopher Reeve first sees the portrait of Jane Seymour. As he fixes his gaze on her, obviously consumed with her beauty, the classical work by Rachmaninoff, "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganani," swells to elicit romantic emotions. (Deutsch & Szwarc)

Educators whose teaching resembles what I term the "soap opera" technique bring this level of emotion to the classroom. In such cases, a positive impact on learning occurs.

The landmark report A Nation at Risk declared: "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war." (National Commission on Excellence in Education, p. 5) Unfortunately, as the saying goes, we are our own worst enemy. It is estimated that only 60 percent of public school funding is actually spent on instruction. The remaining 40 percent goes to a large infrastructure of bureaucrats and bureaucracy, often said to be so "unwieldy and idiosyncratic that it is more often a hindrance than a support to education." (Toch, et al., p. 50)

However, if money solved education’s problems, then it can be surmised that poor districts should have the lowest achievement test results and the most problems. Yet, at a private school in South Bronx, with a student body comprised of students from broken homes, as well as all the other at-risk factors, including average IQ scores, reading achievement scores have almost doubled in just two years, attendance is high and dropout rates low. Almost 70 percent of the 1989 graduating class graduated on time, compared to the city’s average of half that. (Hancock) These remarkable statistics are due to effective teaching, not funding.

Although several publications are emerging that apply Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences to the classroom setting, the entertainment and business sectors understand and have applied the research better than the education sector. Consider the amount of time many youth spend in front of a television set watching action-packed programs and movies, hours playing Nintendo or Sega games, or hours playing the electronic games at the local game room. Is it any wonder our youth are bored when they return to the traditional classrooms after such experiences?

Attempting to tap into the brain research and apply heightened auditory and visual stimuli to learning, we now see consumer products available on the market that claim virtual reality can "boost mental powers" and make learning possible "at light speed." An example of Hollywood’s application of the new technology known as virtual reality is demonstrated in the movie "The Lawnmower Man."

Arnold Scheibel, head of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute advises individuals to be actively involved in areas they are unfamiliar with. Other researchers offer the following specific suggestions:

  1. Do puzzles: crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles.
  2. Try a musical instrument: your brain has a completely new group of muscle-control problems to solve.
  3. Fix something: the solution is not important, the challenge of learning to repair or fix something is.
  4. Try the arts: if you are verbal, try painting; if you are artistic, take up poetry.
  5. Dance: while any moderately strenuous exercise is healthy, learning a completely new dance, like square dancing, ballet, or tap requires a new kind of thinking.
  6. Date and associate with provocative people: try such group activities as tournament bridge, chess, and sailboat racing.

Scheibel reminds us that it is never too late to learn. When we continue the learning process, we continue to challenge our brain and build brain circuitry. (Golden)

Summary

Neil A. Armstrong, U. S. astronaut, uttered "That’s one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind" (Simpson, p. 137) from the moon’s surface in 1969 as millions around the world listened and "hailed the conquering hero." A quarter of a century and billions of dollars later, Americans question the promises and hopes lauded upon an ambitiousspace exploration program.

The ‘60s and ‘70s saw the revolt against the "Establishment’s" involvement in the Vietnam War. This resulted in the passage of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, lowering the voting age from twenty-one to eighteen. The "Remember Woodstock" generation now seems to be heading towards another "revolt."

To use a popular political campaign question that helped elect Ronald Reagan: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" seems to be the by-line of many households. With words like inflation, national debt, balanced budget, and recession as household words, as a nation we have become skeptical of our leaders’ pledges, promises, and motives, as our elections this past November testify.

While we have made tremendous advances in many fields, the following domestic issues still confront us.

Each year in America, over one million children and youth run away from home, at least two million cases of child abuse and neglect are officially reported (Grossman) and over thirty-two million Americans live under the federal poverty level, sixty-seven percent of which are white, contrary to the common assumption that minorities make up the bulk of the welfare rolls.

Each year, approximately 400,000 teenagers attempt suicide with 15,000 succeeding, a rate that has tripled in the last three decades, and is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 19 year olds.

One in five adults do not have the reading and writing skills needed for daily living. Thirteen percent of all high school graduates have only a sixth grade reading and writing level. (Johansen, Johnson, Henniger)

Should we not feel ashamed at the prediction that by the year 2000, high school dropouts will increase 60% over the current rate? Is it any wonder that a number of youth and adults feel despair and have no hope for a better life, as expressed by the eleven-year-old Chicago youth sought for the murder of a classmate: "The only way to get out is to die." (Perspectives)

David O. McKay, speaking on intelligence, refers to Greek mythology’s three fates or goddesses who govern human destiny. He likens their roles to three fundamentals which determine our lives: heredity, environment, and self-effort, meaning what we make of ourselves through our own choices and determination. (Gospel Ideals)

May we have a vision of our self-effort in the contribution to life like that of one stone cutter. Asked what they were doing, one answered, "I’m squaring up this block of stone." The other replied, "I’m building a cathedral." The first may have been under-employed; the second was not. Clearly what counts is not so much what work a person does, but what he perceives he is doing it for. (Caine & Caine, p. 91)

It is my hope that everyone, but especially educators, will be aware that we stand at the threshhold of exciting times regarding understanding the capacity of the brain. As we apply the research, we can assist individuals in reaching their potential through, paraphrasing from the Doctrine and Covenants verse we started with, "whatever principle of intelligence they attain unto in this life they will have so much the advantage in the world to come." May we break the pedestal on which IQ scores have been placed and move forward recognizing each person as a child of God, appreciating and respecting them for their individual gifts and talents, or rather, their multiple intelligences.

If we approach life, personally and professionally, with this new paradigm, we will make a positive contribution to life that will "be felt for good toward the establishment of peace internationally." Then, we can stand on our planet Earth and say we have made "one giant leap for humankind."


Roy Winstead
Box 1954 BYU-Hawai’i
Laie, HI 96762
winstear@byuh.edu

 


Appendix

Acknowledgments

Grateful appreciation is expressed to the following for helping make this lecture possible:

Patrice E. Winstead, my wife for her support and editorial skills

Dr. Paul M. Hollingsworth, Dean of the School of Education for nominating me

Members of the 1993-94 Faculty Advisory Council for selecting me

Members of the 1994-95 Faculty Advisory Council for helping with today’s arrangements

Dr. Edward A. Jensen, Library and Academic Support for slide production

Michelle McAllister-Vasi, Student Research Assistant for library, computer, and proofreading help

LeeAnn Lambert and staff, Ke Alaka’I for printing the five readings

Phillip Feigh, Christine Henrie and Naomi McKay Media Development Lab for video production

Jean Langi and assistants, Library and Academic Support for technical services during today’s presentation

Percy TeHira and Glenn Kau for physical facilities and technical support

My family, colleagues and friends for putting up with me this year


First Reading:

Doctrinal Usage and Explanations of "Intelligence" Given by the Prophet Joseph Smith

"A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world, as evil spirits will have more knowledge, and consequently more power, than many men who are on the Earth." (Smith & Sjodahl, p. 817)

The Spirit of Man

"The spirit of man is not a created being; it existed from eternity, and will exist to eternity. Anything created cannot be eternal; and earth, water, etc. had their existence in an elementary state, from eternity." According to Joseph Fielding Smith, "In saying the spirit of man is not created the Prophet without any doubt had in mind the intelligence as explained in Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 93:29: ‘Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.’ From this we gather that the intelligence of man was not created, but the Prophet taught very clearly that man is in very deed the offspring of God, and that the spirits of men were born in the spirit world the children of God. See Doctrine and Covenants 76:23." (Smith, p. 158)

Abraham’s Reasoning

"I learned a testimony concerning Abraham, and he reasoned concerning the God of heaven. In order to do that,’ said he, ‘suppose we have two facts: that supposes another fact may exist … two men on the earth, one wiser than the other, would logically show that another who is wiser than the wisest may exist. Intelligences exist one above another, so that there is no end to them.’

"If Abraham reasoned thus … if Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly. Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it.

"I want you to pay particular attention to what I am saying. Jesus said that the Father wrought precisely in the same way as His Father had done before Him. As the Father had done before? He laid down His life, and took it up the same as His Father had done before. He did as He was sent, to lay down His life and take it up again; and then was committed unto Him the keys. I know it is good reasoning." (Smith, p. 373)

All Governments Have Laws

"As we previously remarked, all well established and properly organized governments had certain fixed and prominent laws for the regulation and management of the same. If man has grown to wisdom and is capable of discerning the propriety of laws to govern nations, what less can be expected from the Ruler and Upholder of the universe? Can we suppose that He has a kingdom without laws? Or do we believe that it is composed of an innumerable company of beings who are entirely beyond all law? Consequently have need of nothing to govern or regulate them?

Would not such ideas be a reproach to our Great Parent, and at variance with His glorious intelligence? Would it not be asserting that man had found out a secret beyond Deity? That he had learned that it was good to have laws, while God after existing from eternity and having power to create man, had not found out that it was proper to have laws for His government? We admit that God is the great source and fountain from whence proceeds all good; that He is perfect intelligence, and that His wisdom is alone sufficient to govern and regulate the mighty creations and worlds which shine and blaze with such magnificence and splendor over our heads, as though touched with His finger and moved by His Almighty word. And if so, it is done and regulated by law; for without law all must certainly fall into chaos. If, then, we admit that God is the source of all wisdom and understanding, we must admit that by His direct inspiration He has taught man that law is necessary in order to govern and regulate His own immediate interest and welfare; for this reason, that law is beneficial to promote peace and happiness among men." (Smith, p.55)

Apostates Excluded from Fellowship

"There is a superior intelligence bestowed upon such as obey the Gospel with full purpose of heart." (Smith, p. 67)

Has Man Increased in Intelligence?

"Have we increased in knowledge or intelligence? Where is there a man that can step forth and alter the destiny of nations and promote the happiness of the world? Or where is there a kingdom or nation that can promote the universal happiness of its own subjects, or even their general well-being? Our nation, which possessed greater resources than any other, is rent, from center to circumference, with party strife, political intrigues, and sectional interest; our counselors are panic stricken, our legislators are astonished, and our senators are confounded, our merchants are paralyzed, our tradesmen are disheartened, our mechanics out of employ, our farmers distressed, and our poor crying for bread, our banks are broken, our credit ruined, and our states overwhelmed in debt, yet we are, and have been in peace." (Smith, p. 249)

The Immortal Spirit

"The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal with God himself." According to B.H. Roberts,"Undoubtedly the proper word here would be ‘co-eternal’, not ‘co-equal’. This illustrates the imperfection of the report made of the sermon. For surely the mind of man is not co-equal with God except in the matter of its eternity. It is the direct statement in the Book of Abraham … accepted by the Church as scripture … that there are differences in the intelligences that exist, that some are more intelligent than others; and that God is ‘more intelligent than them all’ (Book of Abraham, Chapt. 3). I believe that this means more than that God is more intelligent than any other one of the intelligences. It means that he is more intelligent than all of the other intelligences combined. His intelligence is greater than that of the mass, and that has led me to say in the second Year Book of the Seventies: ‘It is this fact doubtless which makes this One, more intelligent than them all,’ God. He is the All-Wise One! The All-Powerful One! What he tells other Intelligences to do must be precisely the wisest, fittest thing that they could anywhere or anyhow learn; the thing which it will always behoove them, with right loyal thankfulness, and nothing doubting, to do. There goes with this, too, the thought that this All-Wise One will be the Unselfish One, the All-Loving One, the One who desires that which is highest, and best; not for himself alone, but for all; and that will be best for him too. His glory his power, his joy will be enhanced by the uplifting of all, by enlarging them; by increasing their joy, power, and glory. And because this All-Intelligent One is all this, and does all this, the other Intelligences worship him, submit their judgements and their will to his judgement and his will. He knows, and can be that which is best; and this submission of the mind to the Most Intelligent, Wisest, wiser than all, is worship. This is the whole meaning of the doctrine and the life of the Christ expressed in ‘Father, not my will but Thy will, be done."

" I [Prophet Joseph Smith] know that my testimony is true; hence, when I talk to these mourners, what have they lost? Their relatives and friends are only separated from their bodies for a short season: their spirits which existed with God have left the tabernacle of clay only for a little moment, as it were: and they now exist in a place where they converse together the same as we do on earth.

"I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it had a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal [co-eternal] with our Father in heaven.

"I want to reason more on the spirit of man; for I am dwelling on the body and spirit of man, on the subject of the dead. I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man, the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. As the Lord liveth, if it had a beginning, it will have an end. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say that the spirit of man had a beginning, prove that it must have an end; and if that doctrine is true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house-tops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself.

"Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit from age to age, and there is no creation about it. All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement." (Smith, pp. 353-354)

The Power to Advance in Knowledge

"The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God Himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with Himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits.

"This is good doctrine. It tastes good. I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you. They are given to me by the revelations of Jesus Christ; and I know that when I tell you these words of eternal life as they are given to me, you tasted them, and I know that you believe them. You say honey is sweet, and so do I. I can also taste the spirit of eternal life. I know it is good; and when I tell you of these things which were given me by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to receive them as sweet, and rejoice more and more." (Smith, pp. 354-355)

References

Smith, H M. & Sjodahl, J. (1968). Doctrine and Covenants Commentary. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company.

Smith, Joseph Fielding (1972). Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company.

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Second Reading:

Statements About "Intelligence" Given by Other Prophets and Church Leaders

Intelligence

1. "In the gospel sense, intelligence is far more than the capacity to know and understand, and the intelligent man is one who does more than acquire knowledge. ‘The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth,’ the Lord says. ‘Light and truth forsake that evil one.’ (D&C 93:36-37) Thus intelligence is the light and truth which comes from Christ who is the way, the life, the light, and the truth of the world.

"Knowledge can be obtained and used in unrighteousness; Satan gains his power on this principle. But intelligence presupposes the wise and proper use of knowledge, a use that leads to righteousness and the ultimate attainment of exaltation. The devil has tremendous power and influence because of his knowledge, but he is entirely devoid of the least glimmering of intelligence. An intelligent person is one who applies his knowledge so as to progress in the things of the Spirit; he glories in righteousness."

2. "Intelligence, or light and truth, is also used as a synonym for spirit element. Scriptures using both terms speak of the self-existent nature of the substance involved. (D&C 93:29; 131:7-8) Abraham calls the pre-existent spirits ‘the intelligences that were organized before the world was’ (Abra. 3:22) because the intelligences were organized intelligence or in other words the spirit bodies were born from spirit element." (McConkie 1966, pp. 386-387)

Intelligences

"Abraham used the name intelligences to apply to the spirit children of the Eternal Father. The intelligence or spirit element became intelligences after the spirits were born as individual entities (Abra.3:22-24) Use of this name designates both the primal element from which the spirit offspring were created and also their inherited capacity to grow in grace, knowledge, power, and intelligence itself, until such intelligences, gaining the fullness of all things become like their Father, the Supreme Intelligence." (McConkie 1966, p. 387)

Truth Eternal

"All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation." (D&C 93:30-32) "The doctrine here taught that truth and intelligence have independent spheres in which to act for themselves, seems to have been before Plato, who taught that ideas were eternal in the divine mind, and that they are living entities, the only true realities, of which material forms are mere shadows." (Smith & Sjodahl, p. 595)

Nature of Saving Knowledge

"Not many of the great and mighty, those who form and control the thoughts of the people of today, are going to find salvation in the kingdom of God. Why? Because they have not found the way; they are not walking in the light of truth. They may have knowledge, but they lack intelligence. Intelligence is the light of truth, and we are informed that he who has intelligence or the light of truth will forsake that evil one (D&C 93:36-37) A man who has intelligence will worship God and repent of his sins; he will seek to know the will of God and follow it…" (McConkie 1986, pp.290-291)

Intelligence; intelligences

"The word intelligence is usually used in the Doctrine and Covenants in the regular sense pertaining to the general areas of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, etc. (see D&C 130:18-19). However, the word intelligence is frequently used in a specialized sense by Latter-day Saints to refer to a part of the pre-earthly existence. The Pearl of Great Price records in Abraham 3:22 that the Lord showed unto Abraham the intelligences that were organized before the world was.’" (Ludlow, pp. 142-143)

Selected Quotations

John A. Widtsoe points out "The word intelligence as used by Latter-day Saints has two chief meanings, both found in the dictionary but of secondary use. First, a man who gathers knowledge and uses it in harmony with the plan of salvation is intelligence. He has intelligence.… Second, the word when preceded by the article an, or used in the plural as intelligences, means a person, or persons, usually in the spiritual estate. Just as we speak of a person or persons, we speak of an intelligence, or intelligences.

"This second use of the word has come into being among Latter-day Saints because of a statement made by the Lord to the Patriarch Abraham: ‘Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.’ (Abra. 3:22-23)

"These remarkable statements use the words intelligences, souls, spirits, and Abraham (a man not yet on the earth) interchangeably. Thus has come the frequent use in the Church of the term an intelligence, meaning usually a personage in the spirit world, who may come on earth.

"Implied in the use of this term is the doctrine of pre-existence. It is a basic belief of the Church that man lived as a personal being before he came on earth. He was a spirit child of God, begotten by God. His life as a spirit in the heavenly domain is often spoken of as the first estate of man. In this estate most of the spirit children of God grew toward perfection. They possessed the right of all the children of God to act for themselves, to accept or to reject any and every offering. When they had arrived at the proper degree or development, they were given the opportunity of further training through a mortal experience on earth." (Ludlow, p. 143)

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, writing on this subject, adds: "Some of our writers have endeavored to explain what an intelligence is, but to do so is futile, for we have never been given any insight into this matter beyond what the Lord has fragmentarily revealed. We know, however, that there is something called intelligence which has always existed. It is the real eternal part of man, which was not created or made. This intelligence combined with the spirit constitutes a spiritual identity or individual." (Ludlow, pp. 143-144)

Widtsoe continues by stating, "Under this concept, the eternal ego of man was, in some past age of the other world, dim to us, clothed with a spiritual body. That was man’s spiritual birth and his entrance into the spiritual world. Then later, on earth, if permitted to go there, he will receive a material body. As a result, after the resurrection he will be master of the things of the spiritual and material universes, and in that manner approach the likeness of God.

"This view of the nature of man is a widespread belief among Latter-day Saints. The term an intelligence is then applied to the external ego existing even before the spiritual creation.

"In reading Latter-day Saint literature, the two-fold sense in which the terms an intelligence or intelligences are used … applied to spiritual personages or to pre-spiritual entities … must be carefully kept in mind." (Ludlow, p. 144)

Intelligence. Wisdom. and Prudence Of God

Milton R. Hunter states, "God showed Abraham in vision the spirit world at the time of the Grand Council in heaven prior to the placing of mortals upon the earth. In the course of the vision, He explained to the ancient Patriarch that individual differences existed among the spirits in their pre-mortal existence just as they do here in mortality. Perhaps in the spirit world the range was from the very un-intelligent spirits to that of the high intelligence of Jesus Christ and God the Eternal Father. Just as each of us differ in talents one from another here in mortality, the revelation indicates that each of us differed from each other in talents and developments in the spirit world. Our differences in the attributes and development in the pre-mortal life help account for the differences in those respects here. The revelation Abraham received on this subject is as follows:

19. And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent that they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all.

21. I dwelt in the midst of them all; I now, therefore, have come down unto thee to deliver unto thee the worlds which my hands have made, wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen. (Abraham 3:19,21)

"The foregoing scripture also points out the fact that one of the principal attributes of God is His intelligence, as He is more intelligent that all of His sons and daughters combined (verse 19). Modern revelation adds the thought that the Divine Being’s power to perform His great work, which gives Him His glory, is resident in His superior and supreme intelligence. To quote [D&C 93:36]: ‘The Glory of God is intelligence.’" (Hunter, pp. 57-58)

"Elder B.H. Roberts made the following conclusion regarding the superior intelligence, wisdom, and prudence that God possessed:

It is the direct statement in the Book of Abraham - accepted by the Church as scripture, that there are differences in the intelligences that exist, that some are more intelligent than others; and that God is ‘more intelligent than them all’ (Book of Abraham, Chapt. 3). I believe that this means more than that God is more intelligent than any other one of the intelligences. It means that He is more intelligent that all of the other intelligences combined. His intelligence is greater than that of the mass, and that has led me to say in the second Year Book of the Seventies: It is this fact doubtless which makes this One, ‘more intelligent than them all,’ God. He is the All-Wise One! The All-Powerful One! What He tells other Intelligences to do must be precisely the wisest, fittest thing that they could anywhere or anyhow learn - the thing which it will always behoove them, with right loyal thankfulness, and nothing doubting, to do. There goes with this, too, the thought that this All-Wise One will be the Unselfish One the All-Loving One, the One who desires that which is highest, and best; not for Himself alone, but for all; and that will be best for Him too. His glory, His power, His joy will be enhanced by the uplifting of all, by enlarging them; by increasing their joy, power, and glory. And because this All Intelligent One is all this, and does all this, the other Intelligences worship him, submit their judgements and their will to His judgement and His will. He knows, and can be that which is best; and this submission of the mind to the Most Intelligent, Wisest, wiser than all, is worship. This is the whole meaning of the doctrine and the life of the Christ expressed in ‘Father, not my will but Thy will, be done.’" (Hunter, p. 58)

Intelligence of the Ancients

Men in Former Ages Intelligent

"It is quite generally believed that the people living now are more intelligent than were those who lived in former ages. I cannot accept this view because, with the understanding I have of the restoration of the gospel and of the dealings of our Eternal Father with His children from the very beginning, I know that He would not choose and send into this world in the beginning inferior intelligences to stand at the head of His work." (McConkie 1986, p. 144)

Intelligences Developed in Pre-Existence

"We are informed that in the councils that were held in the heavens, when tests were made, the spirits of the men, then living in the premortal state in the presence of the Father and the Son, were chosen to stand upon the earth in the various ages of the world’s history to hold particular positions of responsibility because of superior intelligence manifested in the spirit world. I am satisfied with the thought that among these spirits there was none greater, except the Savior of the world himself, than the one who was called to stand at the head of the human family." (McConkie 1986, p. 145)

Certain Knowledge Reserved for Final Dispensation

"So it is not because of greater intelligence, but because, no doubt, of the greater accumulation of knowledge, together with the inspiration that comes from the Lord as He grants it unto men, that we receive the benefit of these latter-day blessings. The time has come for the Father to gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, that the fullness of His word may be consummated. For this reason we are seeing and enjoying the great advantages of our time. The prophets anciently, I am sure, spoke of these marvelous events that should come to pass in the dispensation of the fullness of times." (McConkie 1986, p. 145)

Modern Inventions Reserved for Last Days

"Abraham, as he sat in his tent, could not receive the news of the world published in the daily press and have it delivered to him at his door; he could not push a button and turn on the electric light, but is that saying that Abraham was less intelligent than men are who dwell on the earth today?

"The truth of the matter is that these things were not intended for Abraham’s day, and they would not be known and utilized today if the Lord had not revealed them to men, and had not inspired men to make the discoveries which have been made, by which we are able to receive the news as it is gathered from the telegraph and from wireless telegraphy and have it printed by machinery which is run by electricity.

"We can sit in our comfortable homes and turn on the light by pressing a button; we can read the public press, and we will know what is going on today in all the world; but does that prove that we today are more intelligent, or that we have greater understanding than Abraham, than Moses, than Elijah, or any of the prophets of those early times, pertaining to those things which are most essential to the salvation of mankind? Not by any means!" (McConkie 1986, p. 145-146)

Ancient Prophets Saw Our Civilization

"I read in the scriptures, if I understand them correctly, that many of the prophets of old had opened to their vision scenes pertaining to the history of the children of men down to the end of time, and the Lord revealed unto them the conditions that would prevail in the earth in that generation.

"They saw, if I understand the matter correctly, our automobiles, our railroad trains, they saw very probably, the communication that was taking place upon the face of the earth so wonderfully by wireless communication, or by means of wires on which news is conveyed. They saw, I believe, the airplanes flying in the midst of the heavens, because we can read in the prophecies of these ancient scriptures many things that indicate that these things were revealed unto those ancient prophets." (McConkie 1986, p.

Inventions Withheld From Men Anciently

"But these wonderful discoveries and conveniences were not intended for their day. They could not sit in an automobile and travel from city to city, or in a railroad train, and ride comfortably, nor could they ride in a modern carriage drawn by horses, but upon the back of an ass would they journey from place to place, or walking by the side of their beast of burden they would travel a few miles each day and call it a day’s journey.

"And yet the prophets saw the time in the latter days when an ensign should be lifted up that those gathering to Zion should come with speed swiftly; they should not be weary, neither should they be under the necessity of slumber, nor the loosing of their girdle or the shoes from off their feet." (McConkie 1986, p. 146-147)

Inventors Inspired of God

"But these advantages were not for their times, and the customs and conditions which prevail now, were held in reserve, not because we are any better or more worthy than the saints of former time, nor because we have greater intelligence, but because we are living in the dispensation of the fullness of times, when the Lord is gathering all things in one and preparing the earth for the great millennial reign; and, it is necessary now that all these discoveries, these wonderful inventions and conveniences should be made known to the children of men.

"Those who make these discoveries are inspired of God or they would never make them. The Lord gave inspiration to Edison, to Franklin, to Morse, to Whitney and to all of the inventors and discoverers, and through their inspiration they obtained the necessary knowledge and were able to manufacture and invent as they have done for the benefit of the world. Without the help of the Lord they would have been just as helpless as the people were in other ages." (McConkie 1986, p. 147)

Abraham: Greatest Astronomer of All Ages

"Abraham knew far more in his day regarding the planets and the great fixed stars out in space than the greatest astronomer knows today. How did he get his knowledge? Not through the telescope; not through the spectroscope; but through the opening of his vision by the Spirit of God.

He was taught by the Lord Himself who revealed unto him all these things and explained the great heavenly bodies and their workings, also the earth, in a manner that never has been approached and cannot be approached by the scientific man with all his instruments to aid him and inspired by worldly learning, and don’t you forget it!

"These ancient seers and saints were just as intelligent as we are. They were just as full of inspiration. They had the Spirit of the Lord to guide them and were directed by it. They hearkened unto those things which God taught and they understood the truth and knew far more of that which is essential, in a minute, than some of these so-called scientists, who declare that life is spontaneous and commenced upon this earth, know in a year." (McConkie 1986, p. 147-148)

References

Hunter, M. R. (1967). Pearl of Great Price Commentary: A Selection from the Revelations, Translations, and Narrations of Joseph Smith; First Prophet, Seer and Revelator to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft.

Ludlow, D. H. (1978). A Companion to Your Study of the Doctrine and Covenants (vol. 2). Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company.

McConkie, B. R. (1966). Mormon Doctrine (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City: Bookcraft.

McConkie, B. R. (1986). Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft.

Smith, H. M. & Sjodahl, J. (1968). Doctrine and Covenants Commentary. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company.

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Third Reading:

How Has the World Viewed Intelligence?

Those of a constructivist belief state "Children are not born with knowledge, as a Cartesian might have maintained; nor is knowledge simply thrust upon them, as the British empiricist philosophers had argued." (Gardner, p. 26) Rather, in keeping with the spirits of Rousseau, Darwin, and Piaget, constructivists conceptualize the course of human development as lengthy and complex. Each child must construct his or her own forms of knowledge painstakingly over time, with each action or hypothesis representing a current attempt to make sense of the world. Piaget, in fact, felt he had challenged the rationalists’ claims for inborn knowledge by showing that a child’s understanding of time, space, causality, and the like, rather than being present a priori, had to be constructed in a painstaking six-stage process that unfolded over an eighteen-month period. (Gardner)

Piaget observed, for example, that before the age of eight a child may believe a tall narrow one quart cylinder holds more liquid than a short thick one quart cylinder, even after seeing a quart of liquid transferred from one cylinder to the other and back again. The child is not able to separate the idea of quantity from the immediate perception of height, not yet capable of what Piaget calls conservation of quantity. In fact, Piaget hypothesized that total conservation of volume does not develop until age twelve.

On the other hand, normal adults, regardless of their individual IQs, have no trouble with such primary discriminations. J. McVicher Hunt, in Intelligence and Experience (1961), noted that all adults, except the feebleminded, appear capable of Piaget’s formal operations. Unlike the differences that occur in children as a consequence of growth, individual differences in adult intelligence are apparently the result of different aptitudes in the use of formal operations. These differences arise from contrasting opportunities for learning. (Whimbey & Whimbey)

In contrast, the eminent linguist Noam Chomsky asserted that language was quite different from other areas of human cognition. He claimed that "much, if not most, of our knowledge is inborn or innate; as such, it needs simply to be activated or stimulated rather than acquired or constructed in a more active fashion." (Gardner, p. 32)

A colleague of Chomsky and psychologist, Eric Lenneberg, published Biological Foundations of Language in 1967. Claiming that language was a biological system, being housed in specific regions of the left cerebral hemisphere, Lenneberg believed linguistic functions to unfold in similar fashion as other biological systems, such as walking.

While Lenneberg’s book prompted a great deal of controversy, it also, as one author notes, "marked an important turning point in the contemporary study of cognition and cognitive development" (Gardner, p. 35). Perhaps for the first time, it was becoming widely recognized that what we had referred to as knowledge exhibited its own rules and principles which could be linked to structures and mechanisms in the brain. If Lenneberg was right, then psychologists and educators interested in cognition would have to focus on the finely structured principles of domains of knowledge and on the foundation of these principles in the human nervous system (Gardner).

Another theory in the study of cognition purports we are influenced as much by our culture as we are the genetic make-up of our brains. Clifford Geertz, noted anthropologist, has argued, "The accepted view that mental functioning is essentially an intracerebral process, which can only be secondarily assisted or amplified by the various artificial devices which that process has enabled man to invent, appears to be quite wrong.… Rather than culture acting only to supplement, develop, and extend organically based capacities logically and genetically prior to it, it would seem to be ingredient to those capacities themselves. A cultureless human being would probably turn out to be not an intrinsically talented though unfulfilled ape, but a wholly mindless and consequently unworkable monstrosity." (Gardner, pp. 38-39)

Another contributor in the area of developmental psychology who has emerged in the post-Piagetian period is the innovative Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky. According to Vygotsky, Piaget, Chomsky, and other "mind-" or "individual-centric" investigators have omitted at least two crucial factors in the equation of cognitive development: the contributions of cultural artifacts and inventions, on the one hand, and the contributions of other live human beings, on the other. Vygotsky believes that from the moment of birth, when parents react to the sex of their new offspring, the child enters into a world that is rich in interpretations and meanings, all introduced via the culture into which he or she happens to be born.

Other humans in that world introduce the new child to physical satisfactions (warmth, food) and to psychological nutrients (love, conversation, humor, surprise). He or she is exposed to language and how to use it, artifacts valued by the culture, whether it be tangible items such as pencils or computers, toys like blocks or dolls, art works like stories or songs, or valued "commodities" in the form of rituals, sayings, or moral precepts.

Both within and across cultures, there are quite varied expectations about how infants ought to behave as well as how adults should interact with them. For example, the Kaluli who live in the rain forests of Papua New Guinea see babies as helpless creatures bereft of understanding. Rather than speaking to their infants, Kaluli mothers speak "for them." This attitude stands in striking contrast with most American middle-class parents who engage in almost perpetual interchanges with their youngsters from birth, or even before.

In another example, Gusii mothers in southwestern Kenya hold their infants three times as much as do American mothers, while American middle-class mothers spend far more time talking to and looking at their infants. As a result, Gusii children learn to remain enmeshed in familial relationships and to act restrained in the presence of their elders, whereas American children will be encouraged to express themselves freely and to go out and explore the wider world.

Thus, the tale of human development must be written from the perspective of cultural influences in general and of the sum total of persons, practices, and paraphernalia of one’s culture. Chief among these in any complex culture will be such educational institutions as apprenticeships or formal schools. (Gardner)

Regardless of one’s belief about the origin of intelligence, it is by no accident that the world generally recognizes the age of five to seven for beginning formal schooling. At this age level, children show indications of readiness to use symbols or notations. The significance of what happens to prepare the child for this start of formal schooling is also widely acknowledged. It has been said that "Lenin and the Jesuits agreed on one precept: Let me have a child until the age of seven, and I will have that child for life." (Gardner, p. 101)

Nietzsche said "In true man, there is a child hidden, who wants to play" and Freud maintained "It has long since become common knowledge that the experiences of the first five years of childhood exert a decisive influence on our life, one which later events oppose in vain." (Gardner, pp. 111-112)

The early cognitive training of children has evolved from one end of the spectrum to another. The United States alone features a diverse range of educational options, "all the way from Glenn Doman’s Institute of Human Potential, where children are drilled on written flashcards when they can barely walk, to developmentally oriented schools where children do not learn to read until they themselves take the initiative." (Gardner, p. 84)

The success, or lack thereof, of formal schooling has been under attack for many years. A key report condemning education was released in 1983. Entitled A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, the report became known, if for no other part, for the statement that "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war." (National Commission on Excellence in Education [NCEE], 1983, p. 5) Blaming the educational erosion on a "rising tide of mediocrity," the Commission declared that "our very future as a nation and a people" was threatened (NCEE, p. 5).

Little good has been reported since that 1983 report was released. Little has really changed since then, just as little changed after the Russians launched Sputnik in 1957 and created an avalanche of federal funds to put education back on track in the interest of national defense. Yet, those responsible for schools continue to sound the same tune for solving all the educational ills — more money. More money did not solve problems after the 1957 launch of Sputnik or there would have been no 1983 Nation at Risk report warranted. So, America’s schools continue to plod along on a course of self-destruction, ignoring research and weathering the rising tide of public criticism and cynicism, tolerating, protecting, and perpetuating mediocrity.

Recent studies reveal the difficulty most children have in mastering the typical school agenda. Research comparing the task performances of youngsters raised in schooled societies with the performance of youngsters raised in societies that feature little or no schooling yields consistent results. "When Western-style school tasks … the kinds that appear on standardized tests … are administered to both populations, schooled children typically perform much better. But when unschooled children are given materials from their own environment with which to work, when they have become familiar with the circumstances of the testing, or when their own behaviors are examined for evidence of the sought-after capacities (like memory or inductive capacities with respect to practices of importance for survival in their culture), the apparent differences across schooled and unschooled populations either disappear altogether or are radically reduced." Regardless of their location or cultural background, children "become more skilled in those pursuits that engage their interests and their efforts and that are valued by adults and peers in their environment." (Gardner, pp. 105-106)

References

Gardner, H. (1991). The Unschooled Mind: How Children Think and How Schools Should Teach. New York: Basic Books.

National Commission on Excellence in Education. (1983). A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Whimbey, A. & Whimbey, L. S. (1980). Intelligence Can Be Taught. New York: E. P. Dutton.

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Fourth Reading:

What is the Origin of Intelligence Testing in Society and Schools?

Modern intelligence testing had its official start in France. Alfred Binet, director of the psychological laboratory at the Sorbonne and pioneer researcher of modern intelligence testing, had for years conducted research on alternative procedures for gauging mental capacity. (Whimbey & Whimbey, p. 3) Around 1890, Binet wrote the following short definition of intelligence:

That which is called intelligence, in the strict sense of the word, consists of two principal things: first, perceiving the exterior world, and second, reconsidering these perceptions as memories, altering them and pondering them. (Whimbey & Whimbey, p. 114)

Over the next nineteen years, Binet would modify his definition considerably until it would reach the following final form:

In our opinion, intelligence, considered independently of phenomena of sensibility, emotion and will, is above all a faculty of knowing (connaissance), which is directed toward the external world, and which labors to reconstruct it as a whole, by means of the small fragments of it which are given to us. What we perceive of it is element a, and all the very complicated work of our intelligence consists in uniting with this first element a second element, the element b. All knowing (connaissance) is thus essentially an addition, a continuation, a synthesis, whether the addition takes place automatically as in external perception …or after a conscious search.… But note well that in this addition to the element a, there is already a host of faculties at work: comprehension, memory, imagination, judgment, and above all, speech. Let us retain only the most essential, and, since all this culminates in the invention of an element b, let us call the operation an invention, which is executed after a comprehension. The operation cannot be performed without our knowing what the question is, without our adopting a certain line, from which we do not deviate; thus a direction is necessary.… The ideas must be judged as fast as they are produced and rejected if they do not fit the end pursued; there must, thus, be censorship. Comprehension, invention, direction, and censorship; intelligence is contained in these four words.

In the course of his research, Binet observed that intelligence is composed of perception and then reflection. The latter process consists of combining elements and actively forming mental reconstructions of the world." (Whimbey & Whimbey, pp. 114-115)

In 1904, the Parisian minister of education commissioned Binet to construct a test that would identify slow or "at risk" learners for the purpose of placing them in special remedial classes. A year later, Binet and Theodore Simon, a coworker, successfully produced the first intelligence test for use with children between the ages of three and eleven. Revisions over the next six years would extend the age range to include adults. Results of the intelligence testing were then scaled in order to classify young children into educational groupings. (Whimbey & Whimbey, p. 3)

Binet’s test was based on the following rationale: If the test score of a certain 12 year old was not as high as the average score of a typical group of 12 year olds, but was, instead, equal to the average of a group of 9 year olds, this youngster was regarded as having the mentality of a 9 year old, and was said to, therefore, have a corresponding mental age of 9. In order to compare individuals, a scale was developed. The ratio of the individual’s mental age to his/her chronological age multiplied by 100 was used to obtain the individual’s intelligence quotient, or IQ. Thus:

IQ

 

MENTAL AGE

   

=

 


X

100

 

CHRONOLOGICAL AGE

   

 

   

9

       

=

 


X

100

=

75

 

12

       

 

(Whimbey & Whimbey, pp. 7-8)

Around 1911, Lewis Terman, of Stanford University, translated and adapted Binet’s scale for use in America with adults, using his own Stanford-Binet intelligence test. Terman believed that the highest expressions of intelligence were found in comprehension and reasoning with verbal concepts, so at the adult levels the Stanford-Binet is almost entirely verbal in content. (Whimbey & Whimbey, p. 5)

The Stanford-Binet is an individual intelligence test, meaning the test examiner tests only one person at a time. While this is frequently necessary in clinical work and with young children, World War I created a need for an IQ measure that could be administered to a large group of persons simultaneously.

With Robert Yerkes at the head of the committee, an instrument modeled after the Stanford-Binet was quickly produced. Called the Army Alpha Test, many of the Binet type items were rewritten in multiple-choice format for group testing, though other types of items were added.

Meanwhile, until the late nineteenth century, "on the premise that God looked down, surveyed everything that He had made, and declared it all to be very good, schools generally promoted a shared curriculum, respecting neither class nor caste." (Yudof, Kirp, van Geel, and Levin, 1982, p. 523) At that time, two key factors affected education.

First, large numbers of immigrants began arriving from Eastern and Southern Europe. Consequently, many children arrived in the public school classrooms who spoke no English. Many had had no previous schooling experience. "Opportunity classes," as some were called, were created to help them overcome difficulties and to help prepare them for regular schoolwork. (Yudof et al.)

Second, the nation generally perceived that the traditional common education was no longer the answer to its growing challenges. As one school official wrote in 1908: "Until very recently [the schools] have offered equal opportunities for all to receive one kind of education, but what will make them democratic is to provide opportunities for all to receive such education as will fit them equally well for their particular life work." (Yudof et al., p. 523) Therefore, following the apparent successful use of intelligence testing during the war, the Army Alpha was adapted for civilian use by schools and employers.

Educators saw intelligence tests as the way to quickly identify, categorize, and place students in a new curriculum designed to meet the demands of a changing American economy and society. From its early start, the idea of mental age became widely accepted as did the belief that intelligence was "something" that could be measured with an objective test and "reduced to a single number or ‘IQ’ score" (Armstrong, p. 1).

References

Armstrong, T. (1994). Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Whimbey, A. & Whimbey, L. S. (1980). Intelligence Can Be Taught. New York: E. P. Dutton.

Yudof, M. G., Kirp, D. L., van Geel, T., & Levin, B. (1982). Kirp & Yudof’s Educational Policy and the Law: Cases and materials (2nd ed.). Berkeley, California: McCutchan Publishing Corporation.

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Fifth Reading:

Is the Traditional Notion of IQ Changing?

Harvard professor Arthur Jensen published an article in the winter 1969 issue of Harvard Education Review that sparked a spate of controversy. Jensen’s basic assumption was that intelligence is largely inherited. (Yudof et al.) The controversy has raged since then.

Critics of the use of intelligence testing in the schools cite any of several explanations. Some suggest that the "effects of school-imposed stigmas do not cease at the time the child leaves school, for schools significantly are society’s most active labelers." (Yudof et al., p. 537) There is little evidence to argue the fact that "schools label more persons as mentally retarded, share their labels with more other organizations, and label more persons with IQs above 70 and with no physical disabilities than any other formal organization in the community." (Yudof et al., p.537) As Yudof et al. point out:

Many of the classifications that schools impose on students are stigmatizing. However well-motivated the decision or complex the factual bases leading to a particular classification, the classification lends itself to simplified labels.... The stigma is further exacerbated, at least in part, by the school’s curriculum. The curriculum offered to the ‘slow’ or ‘special’ child is less demanding than that provided for ‘normal’ children.... The initial assignment becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. (pp. 536-537)

Some critics point out misclassification possibilities which can and have occurred. For example, a 1971 study of 378 educable mentally retarded students in 36 school districts in Pennsylvania revealed significant errors in classification. Rather than the single IQ test score which had been used by the school district for initial classification of the students, the research team administered a battery of tests. Their results revealed a clearly erroneous diagnosis for 25 percent of the students, with an additional 43 percent as being questionable. (Yudof et al., p. 542)

Another concern was expressed by Professor D. Bersoff in 1979:

Although criticism of testing from social, political, and psychological commentators spans six decades, only in the last fifteen years have legal scholars begun to examine its rise. Two trends may explain this rather current interest. First, there has been an increased judicial scrutiny of educational practices, and, second, with desegregation of the schools ordered, psychological and educational tests have been criticized as devices used to hamper integration. Test results have been seen as tools of discrimination denying full realization of the constitutional rights of racial and ethnic minorities. As a result, since the mid-1960’s there has been much litigation and legislation affecting the administration, interpretation, and use of psychological tests. (Yudof et al., pp. 544-545)

In the famous 1967 case Hobson v. Hansen, considering the circumstances of the specific case at hand, the court substantiated that aptitude tests and their use by schools were vulnerable in the following areas:

  1. aptitude tests reward white and middle-class values and skills, especially the ability to speak standard English, and thus penalize minority children because of their backgrounds;
  2. the impersonal environment in which aptitude tests are given depresses the scores of minority students, who become anxious or apathetic in such situations; and
  3. aptitude tests, standardized (or "normed") for white, middle-class children, cannot determine the intelligence of minority children whose backgrounds differ notably from those of the normed population. (Yudof et al., p. 544)

Twelve years later, in 1979, a federal court would rule in what has been called "[t]he most significant case dealing with the racial ramifications and legality of IQ tests and student classification." (Yudof et al., p. 544) In the complex Larry P. v. Riles, the trial court would take eight years to reach a decision and Judge Peckham would release a 133-page opinion in the case granting plaintiffs relief. The decision of the court was interpreted as threatening the continued use of individual intelligence tests as well as the very existence of educable mentally retarded classes, specifically as they involved minority children.

The case involved black children in the San Francisco schools. The suit charged discrimination in their placement in EMR classes as a result of having scored lower than 75 on state-approved intelligence tests. Plaintiffs claimed they were not mentally retarded, that the tests used to place them were culturally biased, and thus violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.

On behalf of the plaintiffs, evidence was presented in which black psychologists retested the children. Results of the retesting showed that all of the children scored above the 75 IQ cutoff used by the school district. Plaintiffs further argued that the EMR program itself had a poorer quality curriculum, teacher expectations were lower than in the regular classes, ridicule from peers was high, and that such placement was noted in the permanent cumulative records, thus affecting future schooling, employment opportunities, and military enlistment.

The school district defended its position by stating that the curriculum was easier, there was a slower pace of instruction, there were no pejorative labels since the classes were referred to as "ungraded" or "adjustment," and students had an opportunity to return to a mainstreamed classroom based on an annual re-evaluation.

The court rejected the school district’s position, stating that even if a student remains in an EMR class for only one month, that placement is noted on his permanent record, his education is retarded to some degree and he is subjected to whatever humiliation students are exposed to for being separated into classes for the educable mentally retarded. (Yudof et al., p. 546)

The court was adamant that any wrongful placement would constitute irreparable harm. (Yudof et al.)

As one legal scholar has pointed out:

The most direct evidence of a school system’s stand on ability is the way it educates the mass of its children. If it believes that the postnatal determinants are significant, then it will mobilize its services to overcome learning defects, and it will function as if the vast majority of children, with appropriate help, will be intellectually equipped for successful learning during the period of required attendance. Only the school system which regards the genetic factor as paramount, and the environmental as so insignificant would ... rightly subdivide its population in accordance with the native ability revealed by achievement tests and would proffer a curriculum suitable to the talents of each group. The decision whether it is wise to group children by ability depends upon one’s view of the origin of intelligence." (Yudof et al., pp. 538-539)

This issue is further complicated when one realizes that the vast majority of testing done by the schools is designed to recognize surface knowledge (Caine & Caine, p. 8). As Gray and Viens state: "[e]ducators more than ever need new ways of understanding how children think. Human intelligence encompasses a richly textured mental landscape which is easily trivialized by IQ scores and labels like ‘smart’, ‘average’, or ‘stupid!" (24)

References

Caine, R. N. & Caine, G. (1991). Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Gray, J. H., & Viens, J. T. (1994). "The theory of multiple intelligences." National Forum: The Phi Kappa Phi Journal, 74, 22-25.

Yudof, M. G., Kirp, D. L., van Geel, T., & Levin, B. (1982). Kirp & Yudof’s Educational Policy and the Law: Cases and Materials (2nd ed.). Berkeley, California: McCutchan Publishing Corporation.

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Thomas Armstrong’s "MI Inventory for Adults"
Based on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences

1. Linguistic intelligence: This is the capacity to use words effectively, whether orally (e.g., as a storyteller, orator, or politician) or in writing (e.g., as a poet, playwright, editor, or journalist). This intelligence includes the ability to manipulate the syntax or structure of language, the phonology or sounds of language, the semantics or meanings of language, and the pragmatic dimensions or practical uses of language. Some of these uses include rhetoric (using language to convince others to take a specific course of action), mnemonics (using language to remember information), explanation (using language to inform), and metalanguage (using language to talk about itself).

__ Books are very important to me.

__ I can hear words in my head before I read, speak, or write them down.

__ I get more out of listening to the radio or a spoken-word cassette than I do from television or films.

__ I enjoy word games like Scrabble, Anagrams, or Password.

__ I enjoy entertaining myself or others with tongue twisters, nonsense rhymes, or puns.

__ Other people sometimes have to stop and ask me to explain the meaning of the words I use in my writing and speaking.

__ English, social studies, and history were easier for me in school than math and science.

__ When I drive down a freeway, I pay more attention to the words written on billboards than to the scenery.

__ My conversation includes frequent references to things that I’ve read or heard.

__ I’ve written something recently that I was particularly proud of or that earned me recognition from others.

Other linguistic strengths:

 

 

 

2. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence: This refers to the capacity to use numbers effectively (e.g., as a mathematician, tax accountant, or statistician) and to reason well (e.g., as a scientist, computer programmer, or logician). This intelligence includes sensitivity to logical patterns and relationships, statements and propositions (if-then, cause-effect), functions, and other related abstractions. The kinds of processes used in the service of logical-mathematical intelligence include: categorization, classification, inference, generalization, calculation, and hypothesis testing.

__ I can easily compute numbers in my head.

__ Math and/or science were among my favorite subjects in school.

__ I enjoy playing games or solving brainteasers that require logical thinking.

__ I like to set up little "what if" experiments (for example, "What if I double the amount of water I give to my rosebush each week?")

__ My mind searches for patterns, regularities, or logical sequences in things.

__ I’m interested in new developments in science.

__ I believe that almost everything has a rational explanation.

__ I sometimes think in clear, abstract, wordless, imageless concepts.

__ I like finding logical flaws in things that people say and do at home and work.

__ I feel more comfortable when something has been measured, categorized, analyzed, or quantified in some way.

Other logical-mathematical strengths:

 

 

 

3. Spatial Intelligence: This is the ability to perceive the visual-spatial world accurately (e.g., as a hunter, scout, or guide) and to perform transformations upon those perceptions (e.g., as an interior decorator, architect, artist, or inventor). This intelligence involves sensitivity to color, line, shape, form, space, and the relationships that exist between these elements. It includes the capacity to visualize, to graphically represent visual or spatial ideas, and to orient oneself appropriately in a spatial matrix.

__ I often see clear visual images when I close my eyes.

__ I’m sensitive to color.

__ I frequently use a camera or camcorder to record what I see around me.

__ I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles, mazes, and other visual puzzles.

__ I have vivid dreams at night.

__ I can generally find my way around unfamiliar territory.

__ I like to draw or doodle.

__ Geometry was easier for me than algebra in school.

__ I can comfortably imagine how something might appear if it were looked down upon from directly above in a bird’s-eye view.

__ I prefer looking at reading material that is heavily illustrated.

Other spatial strengths:

 

 

 

4. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: This refers to the expertise in using one’s whole body to express ideas and feelings (e.g., as an actor, a mime, an athlete, or a dancer) and facility in using one’s hands to produce or transform things (e.g., as a craftsperson, sculptor, mechanic, or surgeon). This intelligence includes specific physical skills such as coordination, balance, dexterity, strength, flexibility, and speed, as well as proprioceptive, tactile, and haptic capacities.

__ I engage in at least one sport or physical activity on a regular basis.

__ I find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time.

__ I like working with my hands at concrete activities such as sewing, weaving, carving, carpentry, or model building.

__ My best ideas often come to me when I’m out for a long walk or a job, or when I’m engaging in some other kind of physical activity.

__ I often like to spend my free time outdoors.

__ I frequently use hand gestures or other forms of body language when conversing with someone.

__ I need to touch things in order to learn more about them.

__ I enjoy daredevil amusement rides or similar thrilling physical experiences.

__ I would describe myself as well coordinated.

__ I need to practice a new skill rather than simply reading about it or seeing a video that describes it.

Other bodily-kinesthetic strengths:

 

 

 

5. Musical Intelligence: This is the capacity to perceive (e.g., as a music aficionado), discriminate (e.g., as a music critic), transform (e.g., as a composer), and express (e.g., as a performer) musical forms. This intelligence includes sensitivity to the rhythm, pitch or melody, and timbre or tone color of a musical piece. One can have a figural or "top-down" understanding of music (global, intuitive), a formal or "bottom-up" understanding (analytic, technical), or both.

__ I have a pleasant singing voice.

__ I can tell when a musical note is off-key.

__ I frequently listen to music on radio, records, cassettes, or compact discs.

__ I play a musical instrument.

__ My life would be poorer if there were no music in it.

__ I sometimes catch myself walking down the street with a television jingle or other tune running through my mind.

__ I can easily keep time to a piece of music with a simple percussion instrument.

__ I know the tunes to many different songs or musical pieces.

__ If I hear a musical selection once or twice, I am usually able to sing it back fairly accurately.

__ I often make tapping sounds or sing little melodies while working, studying, or learning something new.

Other musical strengths:

 

 

 

6. Interpersonal Intelligence: This refers to the ability to perceive and make distinctions in the moods, intentions, motivations, and feelings of other people. This can include sensitivity to facial expressions, voice, and gestures; the capacity for discriminating among many different kinds of interpersonal cues; and the ability to respond effectively to those cues in some pragmatic way (e.g., to influence a group of people to follow a certain line of action).

__ I’m the sort of person that people come to for advice and counsel at work or in my neighborhood.

__ I prefer group sports like badminton, volleyball, or softball to solo sports such as swimming and jogging.

__ When I have a problem, I’m more likely to seek out another person for help than attempt to work it out on my own.

__ I have at least three close friends.

__ I favor social pastimes such as Monopoly or bridge over individual recreations such as video games and solitaire.

__ I enjoy the challenge of teaching another person, or groups of people, what I know how to do.

__ I consider myself a leader (or others have called me that).

__ I feel comfortable in the midst of a crowd.

__ I like to get involved in social activities connected with my work, church, or community.

__ I would rather spend my evenings at a lively party than stay at home alone.

Other interpersonal strengths:

 

 

 

7. Intrapersonal Intelligence: This is the self-knowledge and the ability to act adaptively on the basis of that knowledge. This intelligence includes having an accurate picture of oneself (one’s strengths and limitations); awareness of inner moods, intentions, motivations, temperaments, and desires; and the capacity for self-discipline, self-understanding, and self-esteem. (Armstrong, pp. 2-3)

__ I regularly spend time alone meditating, reflecting, or thinking about important life questions.

__ I have attended counseling sessions or personal growth seminars to learn more about myself.

__ I am able to respond to setbacks with resilience.

__ I have a special hobby or interest that I keep pretty much to myself.

__ I have some important goals for my life that I think about on a regular basis.

__ I have a realistic view of my strengths and weaknesses (borne out by feedback from other sources).

__ I would prefer to spend a weekend alone in a cabin in the woods rather than at a fancy resort with lots of people around.

__ I consider myself to be strong willed or independent minded.

__ I keep a personal diary or journal to record the events of my inner life.

__ I am self-employed or have at least thought seriously about starting my own business.

Other intrapersonal strengths:

 

 

 

Source: Thomas Armstrong’s Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom (© 1994 by Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development)

 

 

 


References

Aoki, C. & Siekevitz, P. (1988, December). Plasticity in Brain Development. Scientific American, pp. 56-64.

Armstrong, T. (1994). Multiple intelligences in the classroom. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Begley, S. (1993, June 28). The puzzle of genius: Where do great minds come from? And why are there no Einsteins, Freuds or Picassos today? Newsweek, pp. 46-51.

Begley, S. & Brant, M. (1994, September 26). You must remember this: How the brain forms ‘false memories.’ Newsweek, pp. 68-69.

Caine, R. N. & Caine, G. (1991). Making connections: Teaching and the human brain. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Champagne, R. I., Greenes, C. E., McKillip, W. D., Orfan, L. J., Prevost, F. J., Vogeli, B. R., & Weber, M. V. (1991). Mathematics: Exploring your world (Book 6). Morristown, New Jersey: Silver Burdett & Ginn.

Cose, E. (1994, October 24). Color-coordinated ‘truths’: When blacks internalize the white stereotype of inferiority. Newsweek, p. 62.

Deutsch, S. (Producer), & Szwarc, J. (Director). (1980). Somewhere in Time [film]. Universal City, CA: MCA Universal Home Video.

Doctor found guilty of patient experiments. (1995, January 10). Honolulu Star-Bulletin, p. A-8.

Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

Gardner, H. (1991). The unschooled mind: How children think and how schools should teach. New York: Basic Books.

Golden, D. (1994, July). Building a better brain. Life, pp. 62-70.

Goleman, D. (1994, November 16). Memory is a fight or flight thing. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, p. D-1, D-4.

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