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‘Every child has the MIDAS factor’

A teacher needs to understand how each student learns differently and also identify streaks and the strengths, reports Nivedita Khandekar.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2008 03:45 IST
Nivedita Khandekar
Nivedita Khandekar
Hindustan Times

A teacher needs to understand how each student learns differently and also identify streaks and the strengths of each child, as he is equipped with Multiple Intelligence.

“The Multiple Intelligence Development Assessment Scales (MIDAS) technique can help in profiling a child’s MI skills,” claimed Dr Branton Shearer, a developmental psychologist, who has been propagating the education theory put forth by Dr Howard Gardner for almost 20 years.

Apart from the eight intelligences –– linguistic, spatial, musical, logical-math, kinesthetic, naturalist, interpersonal and intrapersonal –– Shearer proposes ninth one ‘existential’, which allows one to see the meaning of small bit of information/skill in the context of one’s whole life.

Shearer, who has a Ph D in Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, was addressing a workshop on MI on Monday, attended by 116 teachers and administrators from 90 Delhi schools.

Stating that “MI inspired teaching is a thoughtful art of translation”, the American researcher said, “Focused energy and consistent activity can actually change the neuro-activity i.e. change the brain. MIDAS can be used as a tool for this.”

Ideally MI profiling should start at the pre-school age but it is applicable to all age groups, the educationist, who is also a poet, added.

The interactive session had liberal sprinkling of easy tips for the teachers to enhance rapport with the students.

For instance, advocating story telling to be incorporated to as a means to ease syllabus, he said, “Before there were e-books, computers, books or even before stone tablets, there was story telling. It’s a powerful tool.”

A participant Neena Kaul from Heritage School said, “The workshop has increased my understanding of the issue and will definitely help teachers in handling of children. We need to have acceptance for the child as he/she is and identify his various skills.”

“But we must remember, these are just tools. It needs lot of thinking on part of the teacher,” added her colleague Neelam Sharma.

Pointing out exactly this, Shearer said, “Teachers should be encouraged to learn step by step each of the MI and effectively benefit students. This will make them feel better about what they are doing.”