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Gardner’s 8 Intelligences?

Posted: 16th March 2015 | Category: Headmaster's Blog

At the beginning of March, a visiting prospective parent asked me to explain the term “curriculum” to him.

My first attempt ran along conventional lines: the curriculum is all the planned activities that are organised within the school which promote personal development and learning.  Not a bad effort, I thought!

This led to a discussion about the narrowness of the curriculum in some schools – those schools that are hamstrung by National Curriculum restrictions, school opening hours, teacher inertia and impoverished extra-curricular provision.

In prep schools the “hidden curriculum” is at the very heart of learning, personal growth and development.

One of our main aims is to teach children to wax into positive, caring and responsible citizens and this comes about by creating a stimulating and challenging environment where individuality is cherished and each student is co-operative yet still in charge or their own learning.  This is particularly true of our Year 7 & 8 pupils at Skippers who are very used to the successful implementation of our “hidden curriculum”!

The prospective parent wanted more detail.

I decided to use the upcoming Jersey Tour as an example.

Each year four intrepid teachers join Years 7 & 8 on a five day sports tour to Jersey.

How does that tour fit into Gardner’s 8 Intelligences?

The scene : a party of 25 boys and girls meeting up at Gatwick North Terminal at 0550h to bid adieu to panicking (and tired) parents, to pass through security, to board a plane, to land in Jersey – all this achieved by 0900h …… pretty impressive.

The accommodation : 250 children from 10 different English schools in the Mayfair Hotel on half board.

The tour : five days of wall to wall sport with fixtures and tournaments, sightseeing and evening entertainment.

The return : home in one piece!

The 8 Intelligences

INTERPERSONAL : five days away from home, sharing rooms, mixing with other school kids, an assortment of teachers, hotel residents and islanders.  The children return home more mature, independent and self-assured; the teachers come back tired but inspired!

LINGUISTIC : the pupils share stories, experiences and jokes.  They learn about Jèrriais – a form of Jersey French e.g. Man nom est = my name is.  They learn the strength of adjectives and their relationship to particular nouns: “impeccable” and “behaviour” ruled supreme, closely followed by “excellent” and “table manners”!

MUSICAL : the singing on the coach was an education in itself!

MATHEMATICAL & LOGICAL : budgeting one’s pocket money for each day and learning to live with blowing the lolly at the airport on the way out!  Negotiating the price of a pair of boots and achieving a 10% discount having also researched the mainland prices was real life learning at work!

VISUAL AND SPATIAL : here the ability to orient oneself spatially was tested when the pupils were given free range in the town centre and had to find their way back to base!

INTRAPERSONAL : this refers to the capacity to know oneself accurately and to be self-reflective.  One thing that the tour brings is the opportunity to gauge one’s own strengths, motivations, goals and feelings.

NATURALIST : our pupils’ sense and understanding of the natural world became more developed as we scoured rock pools, were bitten by crabs, waded in the bladderwrack and breathed in the stunning seascape of Jersey.

KINAESTHETIC : the major thrust of the tour is to provide opportunities to use one’s body skilfully – Rugby, Netball, Hockey, Soccer, Swimming and Disco dancing were the order of the day.

The Hidden Curriculum at work and the 8 Intelligences addressed!

I have now arrived back from Jersey, exhausted but educated!  Jersey Report still to come!

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