In June 2017, MI Expert Dr. Thomas R. Hoerr, Emeritus Head of School at New City School and Scholar In Residence, UMSL College of Education in St. Louis, MO, was interviewed by journalist for the Brazilian online magazine, ”Nós.”
Below, the interview is printed in full.
MI Theory continues to be studied and shared around the world.
Nós: In your opinion, what was the greatest contribution of research on Multiple Intelligences Theory to science and education?
Thomas Hoerr: I believe that Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI) caused us to view intelligence more broadly, beyond a score that can be derived from a paper and pencil test. This can have powerful implications for how educators view student potential and how they differentiate instruction.
N: Around the web, it’s easy to find a lot of articles and tests based on your work that try to define people’s types of intelligences. How can a person find out, in a more scientific way, their most and least developed types of intelligences?
TH: There are many tests, as you point out, and I know that Branton Shearer’s MIDAS test has been widely used. My bias, though, is to determine intelligence strengths by observation. When given choices, how do people solve problems? How do people spend their spare time? We typically enjoy doing those things at which we excel, and we are likely to excel in those areas in which we have strengths.
N: How many intelligences can be found in a person?
TH: We all have some of each intelligence. That is, all eight intelligences are found within us. The relative strengths of the intelligences will vary greatly, of course.
N: What can governments take from your theory to improve public education around the world?
TH: We should focus less on standardized tests, both for assessing student potential and growth and also for determining our curricular focus. Children of all ages (and adults) benefit from experiences in the arts.
N: What do you think about elective matters in high school?
TH: There is a basic set of skills and understandings that all students need, i.e., the 3 R’s. Beyond that, I believe that giving students choices can increase motivation and performance.