Many educational researchers and authorities are seeking to reevaluate what it means to be smart. They are warning that childhood reading and IQ tests measure only a small aspect of the intellect and don’t predict success in later life.
Among the apostles of this new approach are Robert Sternberg, a Yale psychology professor who takes such things as creativity and practical intelligence into account, and psychologist Daniel Goleman, author of the 1995 best seller Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (Bantam). Their newer definitions of intelligence are not summed up by test scores, be they from an IQ or scholastic aptitude test.
The trend to redefine intelligence came to public attention a decade ago, when Harvard University professor Howard Gardner wrote Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Gardner’s 10th anniversary edition (Basic) reviews his “multitude” of intelligences: linguistic, used in reading and writing; logical-mathematical, used in logical reasoning; spatial, used in reading a map or in architectural design; musical, used in singing or playing an instrument; bodily kinesthetic, used in dancing and sports; interpersonal, used in relating to others; intrapersonal, used in understanding ourselves; and a new one — naturalist intelligence, the ability to draw on features of the natural world to solve problems, used by cooks, farmers, and florists among others.
Sister Wendy Beckett is an English nun who has emerged as Britain’s most popular art critic. And, with her appearance on U.S. public television stations, Sister Wendy is gaining a following in the United States.
Beginning on Sunday, September 7, 1997, PBS will premiere Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting in the Mobil Masterpiece Theatre time slot. Not too shabby for someone who is self-taught in the realm of art!
Sister Wendy’s great talent seems to he in her ability to bring to life the paintings she analyzes. Though some mainstream critics deride her academic shortcomings, calling her comments simplistic, few dispute her command of analogy and metaphor. In addition, Sister Wendy has a wonderfull, indeed essential, ability to keep her religious bias distinct from her criticism.
Art historian Robin Simon, editor of Britain’s distinguished art review Apollo, is quoted as saying, “The nice thing about her is that she doesn’t proselytize for the church. She proselytizes for art.” David Barrie, head of the National Art Collections Fund, Britain’s leading visual arts charity, says cf Sister Wendy, “She’s one of the most intelligent and penetrating critics we’ve got, and is not playing academic games. She wants to reach a much wider audience that she believes, I think quite correctly, is hungry for someone to guide them through (art’s) complexities.”
“So many people seem to me to be shut up, through no fault of their own …” Sister Wendy states. “They have anxieties about money, relationships, jobs. They feel like they are in prison. I want to say to them, ‘It’s an open prison. You can look out at beauty.’ The woman in the supermarket with her anxieties feels. Art is not part of my life.’ And I want to show her that it is!”
“For Your Consideration,” The Docent Educator 6.4 (Summer 1997): 10.