What Kind of Smart Am I?
Written by: Erika McKellop, Library Media Specialist, with the help of 3B Teacher, Ronda Wallis
You probably have at least one story about your sweet, beautiful child transforming into a rage monster in 60 seconds or less after struggling with a particularly difficult assignment.
“I’m stupid. I hate this!” is a common refrain children develop to combat the negative feelings associated with challenging subjects.
Teachers and parents alike shudder to hear these strong feelings voiced in such an unhealthy manner. First, it belittles the unique way that God created each one of us in a specific way for His divine purpose. Second, many of us have seen one phrase voiced at the height of frustration change a child’s outlook on life: I’m struggling, therefore I must be stupid, therefore I’m better off just shutting down when I meet adversity rather than facing the embarrassment of failure.
At the beginning of the school year, 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Wallis shared a podcast about the Eight Great Smarts by Dr. Kathy Koch with the ICS faculty. Mrs. Wallis is a veteran ICS teacher whose list of alumni success stories spans decades, so when she shares something, everyone perks up their ears and gets out their pencils.
The premise of Dr. Koch’s book is this: No one is stupid. Each of us is created with a God-given bent toward one type of intelligence or another. The eight different “smarts” she has identified are:
Word Smart: “When using the word-smart part of the brain, we think with words. If we’re particularly smart in this area, we can argue, persuade, entertain, and/or instruct effectively through the spoken word. We tend to be masters of literacy: we read a lot, write clearly, listen intently, and/or speak well.” –Dr. Koch
Logic Smart: “When using the logic-smart part of the brain, we think with questions. Traits of logically inclined people include the ability to reason, sequence, categorize, and think in terms of cause-effect and comparison-contrast relationships.” –Dr. Koch
Picture Smart: “When using the picture-smart part of the brain, we think with visuals and our eyes. People who are picture smart are very sensitive to visual details. We have the ability to observe, transform, and re-create different aspects of the visual-spatial world.” –Dr. Koch
Body Smart: “When using the body-smart part of the brain, we think with movement and touch. The evidence of body intelligence can be seen in large motor and/or small motor skills and interests. We are talented in controlling our body movements and/or in handling objects skillfully. We may enjoy physical pursuits like walking, sports, dancing, acting, or camping and/or we may be skilled at activities like sewing, carpentry, or model-building.” –Dr. Koch
Music Smart: “When using the music-smart part of the brain we think with rhythms and melodies. Musically gifted people are able to hear, appreciate, and/or produce rhythms and melodies. We often have a good ear, can sing in tune, keep time to music, and listen to different musical selections with some degree of discernment.” –Dr. Koch
Nature Smart: “When using the nature-smart part of the brain, we think with patterns. People who would rather be outdoors than indoors may be strong in this smart. We tend to love animals and are knowledgeable about them. We also are skilled at recognizing and classifying plants, minerals, and animals. The ability to recognize cultural artifacts like cars or sneakers may also depend on this smart.”
People Smart: “When using the people-smart part of the brain, we think with people. When it’s a strength, we’re able to discern and then respond to moods, intentions, and desires of others. Therefore, we tend to be leaders. We have the ability (for good or bad) to get inside another person and view the world from that individual’s perspective.” –Dr. Koch
Self Smart: “When using the self-smart part of the brain, we think with reflection. People strong in this smart can use our self-understanding to enrich and guide our lives. We tend to enjoy quiet times of deep soul-searching. We are fiercely independent, highly goal-directed, and intensely self-disciplined.” –Dr. Koch
The blessing of being a teacher at ICS is that we are encouraged by our administration to build relationships with you and your children. It is our goal that when students graduate from ICS, they do so empowered with the tools they need to succeed. One way of making sure we accomplish this is by identifying the type of smart your child is and the type of smart that may just need a bit more fine-tuning. No child should ever feel stupid. And you, as the parent, should never feel that you are failing your child because you don’t know how to come alongside them at home with a teaching style that they can best interpret and understand.
The excerpts above about the eight great smarts are taken directly from Dr. Koch’s website. Hopefully in reading through them you are able to pick out your strengths, and your child’s as well! Dr. Koch’s website also offers handy tips on how to strengthen particular smarts and relate to individuals who think differently from you. Follow this link to learn more: http://www.celebratekids.com/category/multipleintelligences/
Thank you for another year of entrusting your children to our care. We are looking forward to uncovering and celebrating the particular type of smarts our students bring to the ICS community.
Read Dr. Koch’s book, “Eight Great Smarts: Discover and Nurture Your Child’s Intelligences.” www.celebratekids.com
Learn more about Immanuel Christian School’s philosophy and curriculum: https://www.icsva.org/academics/academic-overview/