Did the title get your attention?  It should!  This is just another “Woah!” that I discovered while reading Thomas Armstrong’s Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. According to Armstrong, this phrase was used years ago to describe “a student who showed little promise or potential in the classroom but was a real achiever outside of school, perhaps as  the leader of a youth group, a jack-of-all-trades to whom neighbors came for all kinds of repairs or a fledgling entrepreneur with a flourishing small business.”  (41)

Well again, he has me thinking about my students, all the students I have had in the past and some of my adult acquaintances and friends.  When I think of it, there have been so many students that have passed through my room where all I have known is what they can accomplish inside my four walls.   The students, while in school, are just aching to get through the day so they can move on to things they enjoy much more.

I have heard so many stories from adults as well about their experiences in school.  Some are close to me.  While never saying that education isn’t important, you can tell that they did not enjoy school very much, that they didn’t get much out of the whole experience, besides that one teacher that brought learning alive.

Then there are those parents I come in contact with during conferences that admit defeat.  “I wasn’t very good in school, so I can see how my child isn’t either.”

Where has our educational system gone so dramatically wrong?  Is it the extremely outdated view and practice of emphasizing only facts and figures?  Is it the monotonous lecturing teaching style?  Is it the test?  Something needs to change and fast!

Thankfully, there are teachers who have moved past this way of conducting the classroom and are focusing in on students needs and intelligences.  That is the way to really get students excited about learning.  And isn’t that what it’s all about?  Our job isn’t to “Retard” our students, it’s to enliven them, to engage them, all of them.  And as you may or may not already know about me, I believe that using the Multiple Intelligences and arts integration is a vital tool to accomplish this.

This is not an easy job, but that’s why we need to help, empower and challenge one another.

That’s why it’s also important to bridge the gap between home and school.  If students are flourishing outside of school, then we need to learn how they flourish, what makes them tick, how we can use their talents and intelligences to learn more effectively.

Please share with me.  How do you engage parents to help you understand your students so that you can engage them in their learning?