Of Policy, Poetry, and the Potent Notion of Intelligence

  • Susan Jean Mayer


I employ two frames to review the twelve theoretically distinct chapters of Joe Kincheloe’s edited volume on Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (2004). One frame is created by the underlying tension this volume reveals between a felt need for an operationalized vision of the intelligence one should nurture in democratic schools and the, in some ways, competing call for a governing appreciation of children’s meaning-making as inscrutably manifold and mysterious. Secondly, I cluster the twelve authors’ varied critiques in relation to three somewhat distinct areas of concern: the credibility of the science behind MI theory; Gardner’s theoretical elaboration of the relevant science; and the potential of MI to inform or guide school reform.