At Agora International School Barcelona, we promote the differences which make each student unique, without forgetting to work on the similarities.
Each person has some differences, some abilities that make them unique from the rest of the world. But, at the same time, they are all similar. Have you ever stopped to think about this? At Agora International School Barcelona we have, and for some time now it has been one of the pillars of our educational model.
“We can ignore the differences and assume that all our minds are the same. Or we can take advantage of these differences”, said Howard Gardner, the creator of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. By the way, does this theory ring a bell? In the early 1980s, Gardner and his collaborators at Harvard University developed the Multiple Intelligences model. “For Gardner, intelligence is a plural expression. That is, the diversity of human abilities”, says UNIR.
Horward Gardner worked simultaneously over time with children and with brain-damaged patients. This experience helped him to realise that some skills can be maintained while others are lost and that this process is not the same for everyone. “Depending on the area of the brain where the injury is, there will be strengths and weaknesses. You can lose speech, musical skills or the ability to find your way around,” Gardner explained. He also realised that not all children were intelligent at the same things: some were very good at understanding languages but not so good at maths, while others struggled with poetry but loved science.
Thus, he rethought the concept of ‘Intelligence’ and made it ‘plural’. He developed his theory of Multiple Intelligences as opposed to the ‘Single Intelligence’ we are taught.
For Gardner there are 8 types of intelligence and each person uniquely develops one or the other to one or another degree of strength or weakness:
- Linguistic intelligence
- Musical intelligence
- Logical-mathematical intelligence
- Kinesthetic bodily intelligence
- Spatial intelligence
- Intrapersonal intelligence
- Interpersonal intelligence
- Naturalistic intelligence
The importance of knowing the differences of each student
You may be wondering how the Theory of Multiple Intelligences relates to the world of education. Well, it does, and very much so.
If we understand that each student will develop each intelligence to a unique degree of strength or weakness, we understand that each student needs his or her own pace of learning and understanding in certain subjects. And that each student has his or her own way of learning and his or her own degree of motivation in different subjects.
Boosting the individual abilities of each pupil is something very easy to achieve if we follow an individualised educational model with personalised attention for each one. An educational model which respects their pace and needs, which is what we have at Agora International School Barcelona.
Educating individual skills: how does it benefit?
Understanding that each person has their own learning pace and helping them to achieve their goals in a personalised way has different benefits for their development. Blanca Nadal Vivas discusses some of them in the National and International Journal of Inclusive Education:
- Increases motivation within classrooms
- helps students to accept themselves and others as they are
- Encourages self-awareness and self-regulation of learning
- Seeks excellence in all learners
- Promotes inclusive education
Let’s focus on this last benefit. “This is achieved by taking into account the diversity of needs, abilities, interests and learning rhythms of all students”, says Blanca Nadal. This is something we fully agree with. Working on the different abilities of each student in a class where each one has their own particularities means working on companionship, respect and learning to value the diversity of abilities and ways of learning.
Working on differences by educating similarities
If each student knows that their way of learning is unique and therefore not the same as their peer’s, they will understand that they are unique but that, in the end, their peer deserves the same opportunities as them. This is what Gardner was referring to when he spoke of the ‘Principles of Equality’ in his Theory of Multiple Intelligences.
That’s why, at Agora International School Barcelona, as well as giving special importance to personalised education and highlighting their personal skills, we don’t forget that we live in a globalised world.
We work within an educational model based on values such as commitment, empathy and responsibility. We offer an education and strive to provide our students with a wide range of human skills and responsibilities that go beyond academic success. They are able to become aware of their world and learn to appreciate other cultures and points of view through mutual understanding which is achieved, among other things, through individualised learning in the classroom.
“He was just a fox like a hundred thousand others. But I made him my friend and now he is unique in the world”. The Little Prince.