Multiple Intelligences

What we teach at New City School is very much the same as what is taught at other independent elementary schools; how we teach is unique.

Since 1988, the theory of multiple intelligences (MI), conceived by Harvard University Professor Howard Gardner, has been used as a tool for teaching and learning at New City School. This unique academic learning approach develops each student's strengths and creates a deep level of understanding that allows children to use what they’ve learned in new and different situations.

Howard Gardner addressing the student body at the Grand Opening of our MI Library.At New City, teaching and learning go beyond the traditional approaches. Too often schools only consider the linguistic and mathematical subjects when talking about how to measure students’ intelligence. Because of Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI), we believe that there are eight intelligences that need to be nurtured and developed in children: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, naturalist, interpersonal , and intrapersonal. 

The eight intelligences reflect different ways of thinking, solving problems, and learning.  In an MI view, everyone has all of the intelligences; it’s just that each person has his/her own unique MI profile.  MI is a tool which allows our teachers to expose students to new concepts and skills in multiple ways and allows our students to demonstrate their understanding in multiple ways as well.

While we ensure our students are capable learners and almost always exceed the grade level expectations on standardized measures, we feel it is important to challenge our students above and beyond those measures.  MI serves as a vehicle by which we do this.

It has been found that schools using multiple intelligences theory "commonly had a culture of hard work, respect, and caring; a faculty that collaborated and learned from each other; classrooms that engaged students through constrained but meaningful choices, and a sharp focus on enabling students to produce high quality work."
Mindy L. Kornhaber, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, "Psychometric Superiority? Check the Facts - Again"

At any time, an individual walking into any of our classrooms may see groups working together to solve a complex problem; students acting out a historical event; students sharing a book or story by using one or more of their intelligences; students giving and/or receiving thoughtful and constructive feedback; students using different percussion instruments to represent each component of the digestive system; students building models of a new insect species; students creating bar graphs to illustrate the many similarities and differences in skin color; students making Venn diagrams comparing themselves to a story character; or, students planting Native American crops in the garden.

These are just a few of the many ways that MI is used to help us meet children’s individual needs and allow them to reach their full learning potential.