Learning does not happen through one way. There are multiple ways and each of us is comfortable only in a few set of ways. According to Howard Gardner there are eight such factors. Two among these are naturistic and visual spatial intelligence.
Naturalistic intelligence includes one’s awareness of trees, mountains, flowers and other elements in nature. Visual-spatial intelligence includes one’s ability to visualize, remember images and details and awareness of surrounding.
In my case, an archaeologist by training and educationist by profession, I impart deeper learning mostly through these factors. Let me tell you how I developed these factors. In my early childhood, my learning happened mostly through a personal teacher as I did not go to school till class 3. My personal teacher would use the method of experiential learning even though he was not aware of this terminology. It was mostly outdoor. I would go to villages and nature surrounding the town we lived in western Odisha. Facilitated by him I would observe patterns and relationships and ask questions to community members about their history and cultural practices.
In early 1990s, I went to Deccan College in Pune to pursue a career in archaeology. It was a turning point in my life. With classmates, seniors and teachers I discussed in length on Indian history and culture and also travelled extensively through India’s countryside, sometime in wildlife sanctuaries and on other occasions in semi-arid plateaus. These experiences exposed me to the diversity of India’s geography and how geography influenced cultures. My mind triggered with questions like why in Rajasthan people wear pagadis and cover their whole body with clothes whereas in humid coastal Odisha people are often seen in bare body and why there are different fishing techniques and boats used in different geographical regions. I discovered the best way of understanding India’s geomorphology while flying in an aircraft on a clear weather day.
No doubt these concepts are simple and often described in length in textbooks, but experiencing them in real life were more meaningful.
Till I ventured into the education sector I had no idea about Howard Gardner and his theory of multiple intelligence but had realized that most my deeper understanding happened when I was in nature or outdoor and through real life experiences in these set ups.
To be continued…
By Jitu Mishra – Educational Specialist
I am passionate about anthropology, archaeology and linking them with school education.