One thing leads to another to another … Red Ice Creations is a Swedish source for podcasts that I’ve subscribed to for a couple of years. For 80% of the time Henrik Palmgren, the host, will take us down the path of extraterrestrials and ancient civilizations, none of which interest me – maybe even spooks me a little. I mean Henrik, please.But that other 20% of the time makes the subscription worthwhile. He seems to be scouring the landscape looking or interesting people with different outlooks. He introduced me to Bruce Veinotte and the “School Sucks” project. I was a bit leery at first, as I am with so many of Henrik’s guests, but as I listened realized that Veinotte is intelligent, mindful, and counter-cultural. He reminds me of my son.
Judge for yourself. The first hour of the podcast is free to non-subscribers. If you want to hear the second, email me and I’ll see what can be done. Veinotte calls school a “jail with books,” and has very little use for the buildings or the teachers. He thinks that learning is a lifetime challenge, should be self-guided, and that we can dispense with regimentation, permission to go to the bathroom, hall passes, bells, lines, and that godawful focus on testing for temporary retention (before tossing the information aside). (I found the second hour far more intriguing.) His take on “bullying” is utterly sensible: It usually happens in prisons and schools, those places where people are held against their will.
Veinotte mentioned “the” nine-types of intelligence (as if). I am one of those people who always tested well on ACT’s and SAT’s. I happen to have the type of smarts that are valued in our society – pattern recognition, numbers, language skills. But oddly, I’ve noticed over time, I suck at things like chess and checkers and poker – I would call these “gaming” skills. I can see the past very clearly, but cannot anticipate the future (as in why you moved that bishop to that square). Also, I cannot tell you how an internal combustion engine works – way too may things going on there at once. I struggle with our snow thrower, our plumbing, building a simple staircase.
It just demonstrates that people have wide and varied talents, and that we overemphasize some, undervalue others. Anyway, “the” nine types of intelligence are actually a fairly comprehensive description of the many facets of the interaction of the human brain with nature. I found it in many places on the Google. Here they are:
- Naturalistic: Living among the elements, plants, rocks, animals, harmonizing … these are our farmers, hunters, chefs, botanists, gardeners with that “green thumb.”
- Musical: People sensitive to pitch, timbre, rhythm, harmony and who add so much to our lives.
- Logical and mathematical: People who discern relationships and patterns, demonstrate sequential reasoning skills, and generate and use abstract thoughts. That’s me, I guess, or why I scored well on those damned tests.
- Existential: These are our philosophers, religious types, who wonder why we are born, exist, what happens at death. I am drawn to this, but am not very good at it.
- Interpersonal: People-smart. People who get along easily, size up, enjoy people. Blog behavior aside, this is me in real life. I enjoy meeting people, and look for reasons to like them.
- Bodily kinesthetic Dancers, athletes, surgeons … all of those talented people out there who are not me.
- Linguistic: To think in words and makes oneself understood. ‘Nuff said.
- Intra-personal: Self aware – this, while evident in some people (my late older brother for one) at a very young age, is something we develop as we age … if we are paying attention.
- Spatial: Thinking in three dimensions – understanding how a damned snow thrower works. These are the architects, mechanics, many artists, and those amazing people who design the cardboard containers that we use to ship products around the world. Have you ever wondered how they take a piece of cardboard and slice and dice it to the exact shape needed to hold your set of glassware you just ordered? I marvel at those designs. Just sayin’.
So go back to your SAT and ask yourself what were they testing, and how many ways there are that we can develop outside of formal schooling, which Veinotte says (and I agree) is a prison with books, and a waste of our precious time.