Another case of a non-Western example of educational systems having an overly-narrow value set in terms of intelligence types is presented in a study conducted by Gouws (2007) in South Africa where the requirements and levels of diversity are major factors. In his study of the use of implementation of multiple intelligences theory in the highly disadvantaged and quite diverse context of South African educational systems, which he sees as being representative (if not a microcosm) of challenges in other Western nations in terms of balanced education, Gouws (2007) remains convinced that implementation of MI theory is a positive step toward a revolution in education. Gouws (2007) suggests that “Educators are now, more than ever, confronted with the problems of how to accommodate differences or meet needs of individual learners and how to help them achieve their maximum potential” (p.61) and that furthermore, the most profound challenge for educators is learning to “teach beyond the traditional intelligences, namely linguistic and logical-mathematical” (p. 61). According to the assessments made by Gouws (2007) there are few differences in the academic priorities that determine which types of intelligences are valued more than others and they are perfectly aligned with those cited by Barnard & Olivarez (2006) as being related to mathematical-logical and linguistic in nature.

According to some who take a feminist theoretical approach to the issue, the cross-cultural similarities that exist in educational values being aligned with only two types of intelligences is creating a schism across gendered perceptions of intelligence, with the sample population in a study by Neto and Furnham (2006) in Portugal demonstrating that young women felt they were unintelligent in mathematical and logical areas and men having a demonstrated consistent feeling that they had equal capacities in both. While there were no studies found based on a sample of United States students to this effect, this shows that there is a need for broader valuation of differing types of intelligences and consequent understanding of the negative impact a lack of inclusive valuation is having on self-perception and the noted self-fulfilling prophesies discussed by Bernard and Olivarez (2006). Furthermore, the research by Neto and Furnham (2006) suggest that women in particular are suffering the consequences of a lack of multiple valuations due to gendered perceptions thus a more inclusive approach is needed to address that issue as well, even though there are not always test results that demonstrate a wide achievement gap in mathematics and logical abilities across genders, at least as stated in Neto and Furnham’s (2006) data from Portugal. Lingusitic and language intelligences as well as those related to mathematics and logical skills are the most valued forms of intelligence in many settings according to some of the research, which naturally excludes some students and creates the problems above. The best cope with these differences, there are a number of ways educators can shift their curriculum and approaches to adapt to this more inclusive method and can actually be tied to those intelligences that are sought after more often (Temiz & Kariz, 2007). For instance, as Nolen (2003) suggests, an allied approach can be constructed between a valued and undervalued approach. “Music and language can be considered a common medium, yet they have evolved on separate courses” but similarities exist between these intelligences that should be recognized. To do this and apply relationships between forms of intelligence within the classroom, “subjects” such as language, math, and science should not be looked at as separate entities but as related enterprises that involve a dynamic process and exchange between intelligences (Nolen, 2003 ; Temiz & Kariz, 2007).

Despite the identification of language and linguistic as one of the intelligence “favorites” of many educational institutions, Epelbaum (2007) notes a striking paradox between this suggested and stated emphasis and the lack of basic, foundational skills to support any evidence that there is a concentration. In other words, the author is noting that there is a wide gap between goals and achievement and as an educator, it seems that there is no approach to date that has been widely implemented that can teach basic literacy across individual learning types and forms of intelligence. Epelbaum (2007) suggests that teachers of middle and high school students do not yet have the tools to effectively and accurately assess these skills, making an alteration of instructional strategy a good effort at best. Comprehension is one of the most difficult skills to assess well and in the classroom it is much too easy to overlook individual struggling students” (p. 244). Struggling students as well as those who are considered in other ways to be disadvantaged are considered to be those who form the core of diverse students as they have needs that are not necessarily aligned with those experienced by students who are not part of a minority population, for instance.
The overall review of the literature indicates that there are few ambivalent sentiments when it comes to this theory, especially when considering its potential to replace traditional methods of teaching. However, the literature that does support Gardner’s theories is strong in is data as well as its assertions that the current exclusionary approach to certain types of under or lesser-valued types of intelligence is equally adamant in its response. There is currently a need for more research based on populations with broader definitions of diversity. As it stands, most of the research that takes diversity into account limits this definition merely to gender and race issues. As discussed previously, however, diversity in education encompasses a broad range of factors that should be addressed by more inclusive scholarship. Many students are experiencing negative impacts due to the solitary focus of many educational institutions that do not place that same levels of emphasis on varied form of intelligence and if this continues, there is a possibility that there will be further disenfranchisement of diverse student populations in the future.



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