Most of the greatest intellectual figures of our time were not really achievers in their classes. Winston Churchill was doing poorly with his school assignments, and he always stuttered during recitations. Albert Einstein was told to quit school because he was often caught daydreaming. Thomas Edison was always punished at school because he was asking too much questions. However, they turned out to be the people who have changed the history of humanity.
In some ways, this is also the case of high school drop outs. Not all of the students leave school because of domestic problems, alcoholism, drug addiction or any other reason. In fact, there are students who quit school because they feel that school is not supporting their learning abilities. They believe that they are too much for school, or they learn better in the outside world.
This notion somehow affects the students’ self-esteem. In an article online, the authors stated that self-esteem has to be grounded in positive achievement. If self-esteem is impaired, students will lose the eagerness to acquire formal education. Learning should always come with positive attitude a well as reinforcement. As Henry Ford would say it, “If you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”
Aside from thinking that these students might have behavioral issues or learning disabilities, should the same thought be directed to the education system which overlooks the individuality of students in terms of their learning? Indeed, there are several types of high school curriculum. However, if a particular high school adapts a certain curriculum, it does not guarantee that every student will successfully learn because of the program.
The failure of some students may be actually a good thing. It could be a sign that they are better off in other educational programs, or they might even be exceptionally intelligent. Hence, the popularly known academic excellence does not really mean a summary of
Chapter 8 – the secret heart of learning. The Learning Web. Retrieved December 18, 2007
Chapter 10 – do it in style. The Learning Web. Retrieved December 18, 2007
from the World Wide Web: http://www.thelearningweb.net/chapter10/learning_styles_page341.html
“Multiple Intelligences” as Howard Gardner proposed. According to Gardner, there are seven kinds of intelligences: linguistic intelligence (self-expression through words), logical-mathematical (ability on reasoning and numbers), visual-spatial intelligence (ability on recognition and transformation of spaces), body-kinesthetic intelligence (self-expression using one’s body), musical intelligence (involves skill on perception, creation and performance of musical patterns), interpersonal intelligence (capacity to recognize and comprehend other people’s feelings, motivations, intentions and desires), and intrapersonal intelligence (ability to understand oneself). Thus, every student has its own strengths and weaknesses in relation with such intelligences.
Consequently, if Gardner’s concept of multiple intelligences could be applied, the recognition of individual learning abilities would be fostered. Students will have the opportunity to develop and maximize their skills with the appropriate curricula. Students will likely stay in school, because they are encouraged to learn and improve themselves according to their capacities.
For instance, students who cut classes and eventually drop out because they want to pursue their rock band could be educated in a musically-directed program. In this way, they will have the chance to be enhanced musically at an advance level rather than just learning the basics in a music class or by being a member of the marching band.
As a result, high school kids will enjoy and even love school because their self-esteem is grounded in what they are best doing. Their attention will even be diverted from entertaining external factors that eventually discourage them from going to school. Teenage problems will potentially drop. Intelligence mostly involves focus. If high school students are educated according to their intelligences, they will have more focus in school. Their concern will be primarily excelling and achieving their future goals.
HOWARD GARDNER: Multiple Intelligence Theory Proponent. Retrieved December 18,
2007 from the World Wide Web: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm
Smith, Mark. (2002). Howard Gardner, multiple intelligences and education. Infed. Retrieved December 18, 2007 from the World Wide Web: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm