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review.jpg (4339 bytes) Reviews
Our reviewers write about resources on multiple intelligences, spirituality in education, teaching visual arts, Teacher's Partner and the Canadian Encycopedia.
book1.jpg (34451 bytes) Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century

By Howard E. Gardner
Reviewed by Clifford J. Morris

In 1983, a Harvard psychologist, Howard Gardner, wrote Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, a book he believed he was writing predominantly to enlighten mainstream psychologists, not educators. At that time, he proposed that the psychological construct “intelligence” should be measured in more ways than simply through the dry statistical and analytical lenses of the widely accepted logical and linguistic IQ test.

Gardner questioned the classical belief that human beings could have only one “mode of representation” about the world; instead, he suggested that a more pluralistic viewpoint for measuring mental functioning ought to be addressed – a variety of intelligent ways of thinking. His intelligences were linguistic, logical- mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal and intrapersonal. In 1996, he added the naturalist intelligence to his list.

In this book, Gardner continues his argument for many forms of intelligences. The strength of Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century lies in its core, namely chapters 9-11, describing and justifying “the ways in which MI theory can be applied to scholastic and “wider world” settings. Gardner's line of reasoning is persuasive, not because of the extensiveness of his information, and his realization that certain mainstream institutions may encounter difficulty implementing his “multiple approaches to understanding,” but because his script, as always, is vibrant and lucid enough to hold the reader’s attention.

If there is a weakness in the book, it lies within the opening and closing chapters. Here Gardner stumbles somewhat in his attempt to address the authentic ownership of intelligence. He suggests that “intelligence is too important to be left to the intelligence testers.” There are some interesting calls for greater human individualization. But the details given to intellectual renovators is inconsequential and, save for intellectual generalities, slightly outdated; long-standing MI supporters will find little in these two chapters that they did not already know.

Nevertheless, Intelligence Reframed is a delightful and entertaining read, beautifully written by one of the best authors in the field of developmental cognitive science. Gardner has, once again, provided readers with a significant and well-articulated text that should be widely read, discussed and implemented by numerous educators. As with his previous books (18), detailed reference notes have been conveniently located at the end of the book so that the flow of the text is continuous. The four appendices are an excellent reference for the more interested reader. Gardner clearly delineates and reframes the original 1983 picture of his many “kinds of minds” image, updating the reader with numerous fresh viewpoints from the standpoint of cognitive development.

Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century, New York, 1999; ISBN 0-465-02610-9; $27.50 (292 pages); Basic Books.

Clifford J. Morris ( is a retired Ontario classroom teacher, and editor of the MI-News, an e-mail/web site newsletter about the theoretical and practical applications of Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.

book2.jpg (32092 bytes) The Heart of Learning: Spirituality in Education

Edited by Steven Glazer
Reviewed by Michael Reist

We live in an age when technology is influencing every human activity – even teaching. We are told that the computer will be the salvation of the student and the teacher. The classroom has seen the introduction of many forms of technology – beginning with the book itself and continuing with, in the electronic age, the calculator, the television and the personal computer. What most good teachers have never forgotten is that, at its core, teaching is ultimately a spiritual activity. Learning is about becoming more human, more humane, and the thing that makes us most human is our spiritual dimension.

In the past 30 or 40 years, we have witnessed a huge decline in the power and influence of organized religion. What has not waned, and what many observers feel has even increased, is our sense of spirituality and its importance in our lives.

The Heart of Learning is a collection of essays by educators and thinkers who do not identify themselves with any particular religious tradition but believe spirituality to be at the centre of what teachers do. Writers such as Parker Palmer, Jeremy Hayward and Bell Hooks write about the need to revive a sense of “the sacred” in teaching. John Taylor Gatto, Ron Miller and Joan Halifax offer critiques of the current system of education and give alternative visions of a more humane pedagogy.

The 20th century has seen a rise in the concept of the learner as a social unit who must be trained for his or her place in the economy. Ron Miller, in his essay on holistic education, quotes Colin Scott as saying in his 1908 book Social Education, “It is not primarily for his own individual good that the child is taken from his free and wandering life of play. It is for what society can get out of him, whether of a material or spiritual kind, that he is sent to school.”

How much of this attitude is still implicit in education policy today? When we talk about the benefits of producing a “competitive work force” for the “global economy,” is it for the benefit of the child or the corporate sector? In contrast to this view, Miller says, “We as parents and educators...need to confront the mechanization and standardization of children’s souls in a very fierce way.”

We see this mechanization and standardization making its deepest inroads today in testing and curriculum. Whatever benefits these may have, this book is an important reminder that we teach students not courses and that our highest goal is not higher achievement scores but the formation of better people. If what gets measured is what gets taught, then we are in trouble because the enrichment of the spirit is something no computer or test can measure. The Heart of Learning is an important book for those teachers everywhere who are valiantly fanning the spark of the spirit in children – children who live in a world that often seems to value only what can be counted and measured.

The Heart of Learning: Spirituality in Education, New York, 1999; ISBN 0-87477-955-3; $22.95 paper (265 pages); Penguin Putnam.

Michael Reist is head of English and Modern Languages at Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School in Caledon East.

book3.jpg (41633 bytes) Teach Art 3:
A Visual Arts Curriculum Guide

By Brainworks
Reviewed by Mary Storey

The Grade 3 teachers of this province are certainly fortunate. Teach Art 3 is a new product on the market, a package of materials that helps teach visual arts. Not only will it save teachers’ time in preparing effective lessons, it will assist them in the proper methodology of teaching and evaluating visual art.

The inviting package of materials includes a CD-ROM, a box of art cards and a binder of teacher lesson plans, tracking sheets and resource materials. This all comes bundled in a canvas bag for easy carrying.

The CD-ROM contains a teacher’s desk scenario with many clickable parts. Within the desk area are 40 lesson plans that can be rearranged to create long-range plans for a balanced visual arts curriculum for a complete year. Each lesson plan is detailed using the expectations of the Ontario curriculum: arts and video of a teacher teaching the lesson and samples of student products. There are also sample letters to parents. The lessons are based on construction, printmaking, painting, drawing, sculpture, fabric arts and technographic arts.

Other background information on the disk includes quotes from children talking about art, information on multiple intelligences, biographies of artists to accompany the lessons, reasons for teaching visual arts, a list of resource books and lists of materials required to teach the various lessons.

The binder contains the lesson plans, principal activities, assessment strategies, self-assessment sheets, tracking sheets and overhead projector acetates.

Although this resource is aligned with the Grade 3 expectations of the Ontario curriculum, it is useful for more than one grade and can be cross-curricular. It is one-stop shopping for lesson plans and all related materials for a complete and effective year of visual arts teaching in Ontario.

Teach Art 3: A Visual Arts Curriculum Guide can be obtained through or Brainworks Inc., 342 Millard Ave., Newmarket ON L3Y 1Z4, phone 1-800-504-7108; price $189.95 plus shipping.

Mary Storey is the information technology consultant for the York Region District School Board.

book4.jpg (72281 bytes) Teacher’s Partner 2000

By Ed Jackson
Reviewed by Patricia Bland

Teacher's Partner 2000 is a self-loading program on CD-ROM that integrates planning, assessment and reporting formats and includes the Ontario elementary report card and ministry expectations for Grades 1 through 8.

Ontario educators devote precious non-teaching time to writing detailed plans, reflective report card comments, four-level rubrics and marking grids. Some inventive educators meet the challenge by designing aid programs with a variety of software. One such ingenious teacher, Ed Jackson, demonstrates his “Level Four” ability through a self-designed program, Teacher’s Partner 2000, a productivity suite. This licensed program for educators executes a self-loading, independent Microsoft Access file and associated databases.

Teacher’s Partner includes a wide selection of planning and reporting venues, including a template of the ministry report card with active fields that link up to comment databanks. Jackson, a part-time Grade 6 teacher from the Halton Catholic Board, spends most of his non-teaching time updating, maintaining and promoting his software creation.

Originally designed as a personal planning and reporting tool, Teacher’s Partner was shared with other grateful educators, which led to Jackson’s small business, Leading Education. The productivity suite is contained in one CD-ROM with hyperlink navigation and all ministry expectations for Grades 1 through 8. Shared student and comment data must be transferred through a standardized process on three-inch disks.

A licensed package includes tailored programs with your board's logo and preferred report card comments. Networked computer systems can be loaded with the program, and upgrade patches are available for licensed users. The program is built with strictly defined field formats, making it awkward to import or export with other database software. Jackson provides in-services and generously addresses all levels of questions in person and on-line.

If your current methods of reporting, planning or assessment are not meeting your expectations, you may want to choose Teacher’s Partner 2000 as a framework for productivity.

Teacher’s Partner 2000 is available from Leading Education (, 52 Moffat Cres., Aurora, ON L4G 4Z9; 905-841-3758; individual licence $79, less for groups.

Patricia Bland is a Grades 2 and 3 teacher and computer site administrator for the Limestone District School Board and an elementary director with the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario.

book5.jpg (44530 bytes) The Canadian Encyclopedia: Year 2000 Edition

Edited by James Marsh
Reviewed by Christopher Ball

When this tome landed on my desk I had two immediate reactions. “Ha! People say the book is dead” and then, “Well, maybe they’re right, when it comes to reference works.”

It really pains me to pan a brave Canadian effort, but the print edition of this publication leaves me cold. As a professional librarian I value the information contained between the covers of this 2,572 page work, but I would hesitate to inflict it upon a high school student.

Its fine, almost microscopic font is very hard on the eyes. I was on my second pass through its pages before I realized that there were a few small black and white illustrations here and there. The generation raised on CD based tools and the internet is not going to endure this item gladly.

In fact, the CD edition of this very title is a fantastic, entertaining and colourful work … everything this book is not.

In fairness, not everyone has a multimedia computer, and I commend James Marsh for his effort to publish an affordable, high-value publication. Adding colour would have increased both the cost and the size, with a possible loss of information in the mix.

You might argue that the function of an encyclopedia is not to be entertaining, but to inform. However, we are told that ours is the age of information and this being the case, I would entertain other options.

If you are a school librarian, then I would say that this title should be on your shelves. Unfortunately for Ontario’s francophone schools, neither CD or print version is available in French, which seems strange indeed for a Canadian encyclopedia.

The information in this encyclopedia is accurate, up-to-date, complete and Canadian. Otherwise, well, it’s like back bacon without the smell and the sizzle … a truly Canadian experience, but missing something.

The Canadian Encylopedia; McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, 1999; ISBN 0-7710-2099-6. Widely available in bookstores. $64.99.

Christopher Ball manages the College library and archives.