There is little that upsets me more than when I hear a child say they aren’t smart. Unfortunately, I hear it often as a substitute teacher and it always breaks my heart. Sitting in the back of the room, arms crossed, the high school sophomore blurted out “This is an ESE class. That means we’re stupid.”

Not wanting to lecture, but wanting to help, I gave a brief lesson on multiple intelligences. According to Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory, there are eight intelligences.
• Linguistic Intelligence
• Musical Intelligence
• Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
• Spatial Intelligence
• Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
• Interpersonal Intelligence
• Intrapersonal Intelligence
• Naturalist Intelligence

I explained that our traditional education system still favors students who are strong in the logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligence. Those who have strengths in the other intelligences may feel lost at school simply because they are not challenged in the intelligences that show their strengths. I liken it to art class. What if there was a section on standardized tests for the ability to draw. I’m sure with a tremendous amount of practice I could be a mediocre artist but those who would excel would be students with a strong spatial intelligence. If drawing was held in as high regard as reading and math, I certainly would feel inadequate.

From what I’ve seen in my years as a classroom teacher and now as a substitute teacher, our children are feeling “stupid” if they struggle with math and or reading. This begins as early as third grade and carries through to high school.

Please, teachers and parents help your children and teach them that we are all smart in our own unique way.

Henry David Thoreau
Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe.


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