The beginning of school brings up lots of emotions for kids. Some of them are positive, such as excitement to see friends, meet their new teacher and get back into a structured routine. Some of them are negative, such as frustration with having to do homework, getting to bed early and sitting in a desk all day. When the dust settles (after the first month or so) you will find that the kids who like school are the kids who do well there. Whether it’s that they do well academically or that they do well socially, the kids who get affirmed at school, like school. The kids who don’t, don’t.
School is for learning, both academically and socially, and if kids do great in both areas, they often LOVE school. If they are really good at school but not so good socially, they may just LIKE school and the same goes for kids who do well socially but not that well academically. The kids who are good at school love report card day and those who are good at friendships love field trips because they can socialize all day!
To better understand your child’s reaction to school, it’s important to consider their area of intelligence. In looking at The Seven Areas of Intelligence below consider where your child excels naturally. For example, if your child doesn’t have to work that hard in math but still gets an A, he likely has a high level of Logical-Mathematical intelligence. If he works extremely hard for that A, chances are he doesn’t.
THE SEVEN AREAS OF INTELLIGENCE
- Linguistic—the capacity to use language effectively as a means of expression and communication through the written or spoken word (example: Shakespeare)
- Logical-Mathematical—the ability to recognize relationships and patterns between concepts and things, to think logically, to calculate numbers, and to solve problems scientifically and systematically (example: Einstein)
- Visual-Spatial—the ability to think in images and orient one- self spatially (example: Picasso)
- Musical—the capacity to use music as a vehicle of expression. Musically intelligent people are perceptive to elements of rhythm, melody, and pitch (example: Mozart)
- Bodily-Kinesthetic—the capacity of using one’s own body skillfully as a means of expression or to work with one’s body to create or manipulate objects (example: Michael Jordan)
- Interpersonal – the capacity to appropriately and effectively communicate with and respond to other people (example: Oprah)
- Intrapersonal – the capacity to accurately know oneself, including knowledge of one’s own strengths, motivations, goals and feelings (example: Freud)
At school, the areas of intelligence are measured during different parts of the day. Linguistic is measured in english, Logical-Mathematical in math and science, Visual-Spatial in art, Musical in music, Bodily-Kinesthetic in P.E. and Interpersonal with friends throughout the day. The problem is (and why many kids don’t like school) is that Logical-Mathematical and Linguistic Intelligence are what schools and teachers spend the majority of their time focusing on. Kids with high Interpersonal intelligence get in trouble for talking, kids with high Visual-Spatial intelligence get in trouble for drawing and kids with high Musical intelligence get in trouble for drumming their pencils on the desk. While these things are all distracting to some extent, kids who have high levels of intelligence that are not being measured inside the classroom often feel unsuccessful and bored.
The next time your child complains about not liking school, take some time to think about where their heightened intelligence lies. If it is in music, make sure he or she takes music classes or lessons. If it is Bodily-Kinesthetic, make sure he or she can play plenty of sports and if it is Interpersonal, schedule lots of times with friends. If kids have plenty of opportunities outside the school day to do what they’re good at, school might not seem so bad.