Turning education on it’s head…?

Howard Gardner first proposed his Multiple Intelligence Theory back in 1983. The theory, which originally proposed seven different ‘types’ of intelligence has remained popular without ever really flourishing in any practical sense. Well, that may be about to change! A new wave of schools – Studio Schools – is launching in the United Kingdom which turns many of our traditional notions about schooling and education on their head.

Gardner proposed seven (later expanded to eight) different intelligences:

  1. Linguistic
  2. Logical-Mathematical
  3. Musical
  4. Bodily-Kinasthetic
  5. Spatial
  6. Interpersonal
  7. Intrapersonal
  8. Naturalist

Each intelligence, he proposed is a continuum, and everybody is somewhere on each continuum. You may be much higher up on one continuum than on another. For example, you may be very high up on the ‘linguistic intelligence’ continuum. In this case, you probably did very well in your schooling, as people high in ‘linguistic intelligence’ are able to manipulate written and spoken language very well.

But what if you were low on this continuum, and high on, say, the ‘bodily-kinasthetic’ continuum? Chances are you may not have done quite so well in your schooling. People high on this scale in comparison with the other scales may be said to ‘learn by doing’ – by being active and learning by using your body and moving. These people learn best by 1) doing things 2) working in teams 3) doing things for real, ‘not in theory’ – all the opposite of what the present education system is founded on.

The present school system doesn’t always cater well for all types of learners. Geoff Mulgan introduces here a new, and somewhat revolutionary idea in the way schooling and the education system could, and maybe should, operate if it is to fail less young people than it currently does.

Called the ‘Studio School’, the idea is to create an environment that has teenagers fighting to get in not fighting to get out. In the Studio School, work and learning are integrated in a curriculum that is delivered to 14-19 year olds, not through sitting in classrooms but through actually working on real life practical projects.

Listen to Geoff introducing the new schools in this short 6-min talk! There could be as many as 35 Studio Schools open across the UK by next year. One of the most exciting education innovations for a long time!

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