This week I went to a Tom Hoerr workshop on Multiple Intelligences in the classroom. He has been the principal of a primary school in the US, which uses Howard Gardner’s idea that intelligence is not unitary, that it is multiple. This is true of the whole school, not just the individual classrooms. The benefits include, among others, that planning instruction using MI allows more kids to succeed and that it makes school a more friendly place for more people. It was interesting to see how it has been done at this school and what effect that working in this way has had on the teachers at the school. Hoerr’s ideas of the collegiality that this sort of collaboration produces was almost more interesting than the beneficial effects on the students. He spoke also of distributed intelligence. This is “the notion that one’s problem-solving capacity is not limited to what an individual possesses inside of his/her skin.” He has written about, and also gives workshops on this intelligence. It reminded me of the way social bookmarking with Furl and del.icio.us has led to a vast amount of shared intelligence that would appear to have a lot of potential in the classroom and for research, and the way wikis are developing.
Another interesting thought that I took away from the workshop is that teachers need to learn from each other; that indeed our classrooms need to be more open places that we can learn by observing other teachers at work and by having others observe us and giving feedback on specific aspects of our teaching. This is partly why I called this The Open Classroom because it is something I value and plan to ask my colleagues about when I get back to school. Time seems to be the problem because it is something that will take extra time, but I think it would be worth it. I also enjoyed reading a post by Anne Davis today at EduBlog Insights called Blog for Staff Development.