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Customer Review

7 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh no, a multiple intelligences fan, 8 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Could Do Better!: Help Your Kid Shine At School (Paperback)
Got this for Christmas, and started it a few days ago. First, his self-deprecating bragging is a bit annoying, but I was after facts and useful tips. Unfortunately, now that he's explained his total conviction and belief in the deeply-flawed 'multiple intelligences' theory I just can't take him seriously any more.

If you're not aware of this theory, it's one of those cases where someone came up with a theory based on political desirability and not the facts and those of a non-scientific disposition leap on it and won't let anyone or anything persuade them to believe otherwise. Obviously it's insulting to label a child less-intelligent or lazy or even 'bad', so this theory is great if you're of that kind of mind.

Instead, this theory (based incidentally on one man's 'intuition', not any kind of proper research), gives you a get-out. You can just declare that they've got a 'different' kind of intelligence.

The trouble with this theory is while the traditional IQ test is nowhere near perfect, this theory is so much worse, making the problems of describing kids as successes or failures on some arbitrary scale just worse. One of the problems of the IQ test (and by extension, the 11-Plus) is that it pigeon-holes kids early on. This theory does the same, but the pigeon-holing is done very unscientifically and there are more smaller pigeon holes.

The other big problem is that having decided which of the 7 or 8 types (believers even disagree on this) of intelligence the kid has, it must be tempting for a parent or educator to use this diagnosis to forgive their failure or at least have low expectations of them. If the kid shows little or no 'musical intelligence' on your cod-test then no-one's going to encourage them in that direction. Of course the opposite is true, so it ends up as a self-fulfilling prophecy (having identified the kid as being highly musically intelligent, encouraging him in all areas musical would mean he ends up with more musical ability).

This guy may have won some teacher's equivalent of an oscar, but with such whacky beliefs, I would be worried about him teaching my kids.

I'll try to read some more, but currently I have a similar feeling towards him as someone who introduces themselves as being a close personal friend of Jesus.
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