As a veteran teacher, I knew that the students master their subject matter at all different rates. I always thought that Howard Gardner described a classroom of students best with his Seven Multiple Intelligences Theory. He theorized that each person has a dominant intelligence, their gift, and then varying degrees of the other intelligences. He posited that each individual has various strengths and weaknesses based on the following intelligences:
- Logical-Mathematical (mathematician, scientist)
- Linguistic (writer, orator)
- Spatial (artist, architect)
- Musical (musician, lyricist)
- Bodily-kinesthetic (dancer, gymnast, wide-receiver)
- Interpersonal (aware of others, empath)
- Intrapersonal (self-aware)
Each student with their own set of dominant intelligence (abilities) and style of learning has to have the ideas taught in a way that makes sense to them. If you have a classroom of 20 students and each one has a different series of dominance of the seven intelligences, then there are more than 2000 possible different kinds of students sitting in your classroom. Each student requires a specific amount of teacher time in order to master the concepts. This is why there is something magical about a classroom of 20 students. Once you go past 20, the amount of teacher time per student drops too low for all to reach their potential.
I have a friend who is a teacher and she said to me one day that she was as happy for a student who finally understood an idea in May as she was for the student who understood right away in October. Wow! There is a great teacher! It doesn’t matter if you “get it” now or later, just that you keep learning and “get it” one day. Plato had the right idea!!