Answering Ken Robinson Challenge: Multiple Intelligences Theory

In this video entitled, “Do schools kill creativity?” Sir Ken Robinson covers the unpredictability of the future, the amazing capacities of children and how our current educational systems squander the talents of our students.  He challenges us to treat creativity as important as academic ability. Children often take chances; however, with the focus on mistakes as “being bad”, risk-taking is being knocked out of students in our education system. Richard Lavoie also alludes to this in his excellent video when he states the number one indicator of an adult Learning Disabled student is their inability to take risks.

You cannot create an original idea without the ability to prepare for failure.

Ken refers to our current school system as a “protracted process of university entrance,”  resulting in highly talented people thinking they are stupid or not good enough.

Intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinct, he states. Our children face a future we cannot even imagine and Ken believes the answer is in training children without stunting their ability to be creative.

Keeping the Creative Alive – Honoring Multiple Intelligences

What is multiple intelligence theory?

Multiple intelligence theory is a response to the traditionally limited idea of intelligence used in I.Q. testing. Posited by Dr. Gardner in 1983, multiple intelligences focuses on eight intelligences named: Visual, Verbal, Logical, Bodily, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal,and Naturalistic. Translated into layman’s terms: being talented/understanding with words, numbers, pictures, body, music, people, self, and nature.

As Ken Robinson shares in the above video, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” our society focuses on word & number intelligence. Ken Robinson echoes Dr. Gardner ideas by sharing that dancing and music should be just as important as mathematics and language instruction. Those arts should also be part of the daily experience of our students in education. It would certainly give a chance for confused children to shine in their strength instead of meeting every day knowing they will not measure up. And believe me, your children, if struggling at school – they know they are not meeting the standard.

There is criticism of this theory; however, we believe that this theory allows for a broader interpretation and acknowledgement of our children’s innate curiosity, talents, and yes, intelligence.

Many parents who have used our services have made comments like: “He was so smart before Kindergarten.” or “I was sure she would do well in school because she always had great ideas.”

The truth is, their children are just as smart as they always were; however, their daily experiences were changed to focus their weakest areas of understanding an reasoning. The educational system world-wide only focuses on two types of intelligence (language & math) and two main types of learning modalities – the auditory and visual modalities. If you are homeschooling or teaching in a traditional school environment, you know, you have seen, brilliant children stumble in front of the wall of reading, following directions, or social engagement with their peers.

How do we, as parents, teach to our children’s strengths?  think outside the box

When we have children struggling to learn at school we can do two things we can 1) build up the weak areas or 2) teach to our children’s strengths (as proactive parents we can do both).  We would think it ludicrous to teach a blind person by having them look at pictures, or a deaf  person by having them listen to books on tape. Just reading the sentence you would agree that it would be counter-productive. If your child has musical, visual, and body strengths, chances are they will not learn to read via a phonetic decoding program. They will need a multi-sensory approach with as little guesswork as possible.

To find your child’s strengths, his or her multiple intelligences, take this test.

Once you have an idea about which intelligences are your child’s strengths use this .pdf for ideas of how to teach in ways they will more easily understand or read the books below.

How to build weak skills

If you start teaching to your child’s strengths and they are still working too hard trying to understand; perhaps a learning skills is missing. Use our Learning Skills Quick Checklist to quickly overview areas that may need reinforcement.


Use this Free Checklist if you think your child is missing foundation learning skills.