The 5 Intelligences
Throughout this learning process, children are more capable of orienting their education more towards their innate interests and capacities than ever before. Their desire for learning is naturally encouraged, as they find their own fields of expertise in the same way in which they figure out which electronic game they are best at! Their sense of their community, their role within it, and their ability to improve the world around them is enhanced as never before.
These fables are based on teaching five intelligences: academic knowledge, emotional intelligence, artistic expression, eco-literacy, and the capacity to implement.
Learners of all ages connect best with stories. Stories engage the emotions, and make content memorable. Learning science through stories is unorthodox, but it makes learning science both easy and enjoyable! The fables present academic knowledge (AK) in a way that makes it relevant to daily life - it becomes a tool that children can use creatively when thinking about the challenges and opportunities of the world we live in.
In the modern world, learning that boosts self-esteem while encouraging respect for difference is invaluable. This requires the development of emotional intelligence (EI). Each of the stories contains a guide to the emotional developments of the characters. The stories contain no heroes. Instead, they show us how to be accepting of our weakness and to be aware that we can grow and change while coping with difficult situations. They also show how we have to ability to help others do the same.
An integral part of the ZERI Educational Initiative is the development of artistic expression (A). As a means of communication, the arts provides the capacity to allow learners to interact with information in a multi sensory way. The arts are communication tools that go far beyond words. So many visions are simply not possible to put into words or mathematical formulae. A dance or a song can often say it so much better. Furthermore, the opportunity for children to interact with science through the arts opens up the sciences to learners of all aptitudes.
ZERI's ability to see and implement solutions is based on an understanding of nature. To pass this ability on to the next generation, the fables are carefully formulated to develop eco-literacy (EL). This is the ability to understand the patterns and processes through which ecosystems have developed and sustained themselves over billions of years. In order to do this, learners must be able to see connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena. For students to create sustainable communities, they must be able to use the systems inherent in nature as inspiration.
Finally, what would be the use of all of these intelligences if we do not do something with them? We need the capacity to put it all together in order to generate new ideas and concepts. The four intelligences - academic, emotional, artistic, ecological - can be combined so as to create a fifth intelligence: the capacity to implement change.
A learning system based on the combination of these five intelligences prepares youth for the challenges they will face in our changing world. With this approach, future generations will be full of creativity, ready to innovate, with clear ethical values. Most importantly, they will be determined to create a better world, such as their teachers and parents could never have imagined.
The focus is no longer on what we cannot change and have to accept; the student emerges with an increased sense of self confidence (emotional intelligence). The sciences - natural, physical, and social - are no longer resented or questioned; they are quickly converted into useful tools that the student can deploy to further their dreams, to realize their visions.
The Development Process of the 5 Intelligences through the ZERI Learning Initiative.
The images below illustrate the co-evolution of the five intelligences as the student progresses through the system. It is represented by a lotus flower diagram. As the five intelligences build on each other, a child's knowledge becomes more complex and creative through time. The capacity to implement is illustrated in the final stage in yellow and is the result of the synergy between the other four intelligences. The intersection, overlap, and progressive, holistic development of all five intelligences helps to strengthen and build a student's potential.
Key foundations of the ZERI Learning Initiative
1. The young child as "little scientist" (Jean Piaget) has emerged as a systems literate, continuous learner, pursuing their dreams with a positive view of the world.
2. Instrumentalism (John Dewey) or "learning by doing" has been key throughout the process; the student can "hit the ground running" as they move into the role of doing things, during their education and beyond.
3. Eco-literacy (Fritjof Capra) is a natural and enthusiastic part of the student's very being.
4. Emotional Intelligence (Karen McCown and Daniel Goleman) has been fostered by blending fables with reality.
Constructionism (Seymour Papert) - Children gain an understanding of a problem by interacting with a knowledge building community (their friends), interacting physically, emotionally, and intellectually with the challenge and the tools they need to model a solution. And then make it happen.
This powerful synergy of learning concepts, with a holistic sense of self has never before been deployed as the basis of a learning system. The potential of students learning in this way is beyond our imagination.
Just imagine the child has an understanding of the use for some 1,500 social and natural scientific subjects, relates to over 5 dozen characters with different emotions all aiming to create a better world and has the means to communicate even with those who do not speak his or her language … or do not speak at all! The possibilities are endless....
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