Have you ever taken a personality quiz or assessment and thought, “well, I fit into more than one category”? It’s true that we should not limit ourselves to just one definition of who we are any more than we should see intelligence in only one way. Each of us is a combination of many strengths and abilities.
At the Integrated Learning Academy, we use the curriculum of Brain Gym to awaken those strengths and abilities that have been previously “switched off” or hidden from a student. In our integrated learning program, we help students of all ages and abilities find and utilize ALL their multiple intelligences while discovering how they could get “switched off”. We see that when children are excessively involved in two-dimensional activities like with T.V., video games, and too much computer screen time, they become more homolaterally specialized or “one-sided”. Too much screen time can cause eyes and ears to expereince stress which impedes learning.
It can be difficult to unlearn these physiological patterns, but it is possible. We aim to help learners become more bilaterally integrated or “two-sided” in their talents for vision, hearing, hand-eye coordination, and whole body movements. Brain Gym activities can help make learning easy by switching on muscles and movement reflexes which directly correlate to increased cognitivie abilities and easier reading, writing, and memory.
Multiple Intelligences – Howard Gardner
In order to draw out all the talents and strengths of our learners, we employ the Multiple Intelligences Theory of Dr. Howard Gardner. In his 1983 book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Dr. Gardner explains that intelligences can be broken into the following 8 different abilities:
Dr. Gardner’s theory recognizes that traditional ideas of intelligence are too narrow and cannot be entirely quantitated into tests like the IQ test.
A deeper understanding of the depth and breadth of potential is what we specialize in. Our program re-stimulates all areas of learning and teaches students how they learn best. Authors of the Brain Gym curriculum Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. Dennison explain that:
“Through movement, infants build an internal map by which they orient themselves, connect with the world, and self-teach […] Early play builds up the skills that detail the movement map, creating the physical intelligence that supports cognitive leaps.” (Dennison & Dennison 1)
The physical connectedness with learning development must be present to fully engage students’ learning potential.
Multiple Intelligences help children feel better about themselves
When only one understanding of intelligence is understood, our children can become frustrated and be led to FALSELY think of themselves as inadequate:
“A learner’s inability to register data or express what he knows can lock him into a failure syndrome. Traditionally, educators have addressed such learning difficulties by focusing on the mental skills of memorization, speed and acuity, and repetition of information. To this end, they’ve devised ways to drill, entice, and engage students. These methods succeed to a degree, allowing some learners to do well; yet others still fall behind because they try too hard, become stressed, and thereby inhibit the sensorimotor patterns needed to retain learning.” (Dennison & Dennison 99)
Traditional assessments and measures of intelligence can signal lifetime success for some students but can also miss the mark in assessing the potential of students whose intelligences fall outside of traditional scales.
Integrated Learning Academy Utilizes Multiple Intelligences With Brain Gym
We all want to see our children succeed in life. At Integrated Learning Academy, we relate our theory of what it means to be successful to Dr. Gardner’s philosophy. In his 2000 book Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century, He explains:
“Intelligence is: 1) The ability to create an effective product or offer a service that is valued in a culture, 2) a set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life, and 3) the potential for finding or creating solutions for problems, which involves gathering new knowledge.”
The Brain Gym curriculum helps to awaken the full potential of our students. We teach them to recognize all of their abilities to help them engage in their learning and feel more competent. When they are invested in their learning, they will take pride in their educations, throughout school and their lives. That is our goal of success: to create an environment where learners are excited to learn, feel confident in their abilities, and contribute to society in positive ways.