Sherri Winans
Whatcom Community College
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Mindy Hatton
English 100
Essay 2: In-class
October 2007

Everyone is Intelligent

There is much debate on how high school curriculum should be set up. There are the school smart people who tend to believe that the set up of the high school curriculum is perfect how it is. That is because the system worked for them. What about everybody else? The students who struggle need help. They need a way to actually understand what they are doing so that they can succeed.

According to Howard Gardner there are seven multiple intelligences. There are musical, bodily-kinesthetic, logical-mathematical, linguistic, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences. This means that there are several ways for different people to learn the same information. If that’s true, which I believe it is, then it is impossible to teach every student with the same curriculum.

How will this work? How will you teach students, each in their individual way, information that they need to learn? In “Hidden Intellectualism,” Gerald Graff quotes college professor Ned Laff when he says, “is not simply to exploit students’ nonacademic interests, but get them to see those interests through academic eyes” (147). That means if you want your students to learn certain information, you may need to assist them in a way that they can understand it. If that means letting a student do an essay on their favorite sport, then let them. What’s the point of an essay? For students to learn how to write an interesting paper that has a good flow and keeps the reader’s interests. That doesn’t mean the essay has to be on something specifically educational.

When I was in high school, my English teacher assigned the biggest assignment I had ever received, a term paper that had to be a minimum of 50 pages. However, she also provided a huge list of topics we could choose from. This list included topics from multiple genres and the entire class found a topic that they were passionate about. I had never thrown myself into an assignment like I did with that one. The subject I had chosen completely fascinated me and I was constantly reading books and watching documentaries about it. I have never been more proud of anything I ever did in high school than that term paper. I know that’s because I was genuinely interested in the topic and it wasn’t boring to do the research, it was actually kind of fun! I wasn’t the only one, the entire class was obsessed with this project because everyone was interested.

Graff goes on to say, “Only much later did it dawn on me that the sports world was more compelling than school because it was more intellectual than school, not less. Sports after all was full of challenging arguments, debates, problems for analysis, and intricate statistics that you could care about, as school conspicuously was not.”(145) There will always be a way to use your interests in academics, you just have to figure it out. Doing this will ultimately help you with your studies in the long run. Why would you do a research paper on something that absolutely bores you when you could research a topic that fascinates you? You will definitely have a better paper if you are actually interested in the subject.

Schools need to not worry so much about everyone doing the same assignments. Instead, they should let a student do assignments that coincide with their intelligences. Students with intelligences besides linguistic and logical-mathematical are getting left behind in school. Students would definitely get more out of the classroom if they were taught how to use their intelligence in the classroom.


Work Cited

Graff, Gerald. “Hidden Intellectualism.” They Say I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. Eds. Gerald Graff and Cathy Berkenstein. New York: Norton, 2006. 142-148.


Copyright 2007
Mindy Hatton


Funded through the U.S. Dept. of Education, Title III Grant PO31A980143
Sherri Winans, Whatcom Community College, Bellingham, WA