Commentary and Criticism about the National Education Association (NEA)
Traditional theories of intelligence acknowledge that there is actually a thing called intelligence.
Gardner’s theory, at least as taught to K-12 educators, invalidates the very concept of intelligence.
Let me explain.
I am a science teacher. In the classroom, I know who the intelligent students are. They are the ones who can conceptualize, process information efficiently, do well on tests, think critically, etc.
When I talk to other teachers, whether it be language arts, math or social studies, we all agree who the smart kids are.
We do acknowledge that some kids are better at math and some write better but we all know who the intelligent kids are.
But because Gardner posits so many “intelligences,” he is basically saying that everyone is intelligent.
But if everyone is intelligent, then no one is intelligent - as the saying goes.
This same approach to sports means everyone gets a participation trophy - after all, everyone contributes something to the team, right?