I wrote this for my English 101 Class:
Considering Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple intelligences
and Francis Bacon’s Four Idols in Education Today.
Standardized testing has become a primary mode of measurement for the success or failure of schools and students in our public educational system today. It is because of this that classes are currently being taught merely to assist students in passing a number of standardized tests that they encounter during their education. Due to this, students are no longer receiving their education in a holistic format, such as learning applicability to real life situations, and a full understanding of the concepts being taught to them.
By applying Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and Francis Bacon’s Idols to our public educational system, students will be better prepared to be successful in the real world after graduation from high school. By heeding Bacon’s warnings in The Four Idols, classes will remain holistic rather than merely focused on specific standardized tests. Also taking Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences into consideration, students would be able to find which of Gardner’s intelligences apply to them earlier on in life and would be able to focus their education on developing their strengths and building upon their weaknesses. Teachers would also benefit from recognizing Gardner’s theory by utilizing a number of more varied teaching methods that would be better suited to each student’s stronger intelligences and allowing for a better understanding of the topics and concepts as a whole.
In Francis Bacon’s article “The Four Idols,” when speaking of the schools of Leucippus he states, “… school is so busied with the particles that it hardly attends to the structure; while others are so lost in admiration of the structure; while the others are so lost in admiration of the structure that they do not penetrate to the simplicity of nature” (550). Essentially by saying this, he is saying that many people will focus on the big picture or the small one rather than a healthy combination of the two. With teachers currently focused upon making sure each of their students passing a particular test, they are limiting their subjects and topics only to those presented to the students on those tests. If the teachers would take Bacon’s Idols into consideration, they would find that limiting their subjects takes away from the big picture, and focuses too closely on a much smaller one.
Another useful consideration for the public education system to consider integrating would be Howard Garner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, which states “… human cognitive competence is better described in terms of a set of abilities, talents, or mental skills…” (520). He had a number of stated ‘intelligences,’ which are something “that entails the ability to solve problems or fashion products that are of consequence in a particular cultural setting or community” (Gardner 521). Some of his specified intelligences are “Bodily-Kinesthetic” (Gardner 524), “Logical-Mathematical” (Gardner 525), “Linguistic” (Gardner 526), and “Spatial” (Gardner 526). By taking such variations of types of intelligences into consideration, students can find their strength and focus their education around developing those same strengths as well as building upon their weaknesses so that they might be better prepared for the real world after graduation from school.
Should teachers also take Gardner’s theory into consideration they would be able to utilize a number of varied teaching methods better suited to a student’s stronger intelligences leading to a better understanding of the topics and concepts being taught as a whole. For example a student studying geometry might have a great amount of difficulty with working out calculations for finding the angles of a triangle by mere use of mathematical calculations because he is weak in the area of “Logical-Mathematical Intelligence” (Gardner 525). If he were a student that was particularly strong in “Spatial Intelligence” (Gardner 527); the teacher might consider utilizing a physical example for the student to measure rather than just mathematical formula to learn from.
In conclusion, supposing that our public education system were to adopt Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences and Francis Bacon’s Idols, students would be better prepared to be successful in the real world after graduation from high school. Classrooms would be taught in a holistic manner no longer focused merely upon testing. Students and teachers would also benefit by utilizing the best teaching and learning methods necessary for complete understanding of the concepts and topics at hand.
Bacon, Francis. “The Four Idols.” Jacobus, Lee A. A World of Ideas Essential Readings for College Writers. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2006. 541-556.
Gardner, Howard. “The Theory of Multiple Intellegences.” Jacobus, Lee A. A World of Ideas Essential Readings for College Writers. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2006. 515-534.