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Stephanie's picture

Neurodiversity & Education

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend last week's class due to the snowy/ icy weather conditions. I was especially looking forward to our discussion on the brain and education, especially since I am an education minor. However, I enjoyed the readings and enjoyed reading the online forum posts.

One issue Elliot raised, which I agree with, is what exactly is the definition of neurodiversity? I have a general idea of what the term "neurodiversity" might mean, however, I am also unclear about exactly what "neurodiversity" entails. And, I would be curious to think about how "neurodiversity" may play out in a classroom or other educational setting. My current working definition of "neurodiversity" is the diversity or differences present among the brains/ minds of people, and for our discussion, the diversity of student minds/ brains.

So, based on my definition of neurodiversity, I think neurodiversity poses many challenges to education. If we all think and learn differently, then having one teacher teach 20 to 30 students (who all may think & learn differently) using one way- seems to be a problematic- some kids may learn very well and others not so well. One constant challenge of any teacher and our education system is to find ways to foster neurodiversity and accommodate neurodiversity in the classroom. Another major challenge is figuring out a way to evaluate students in a fair and equal manner when they may have different minds and ways of learning.

When I began thinking about neurodiversity in the classroom, one theory from my education classes came to mind: Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Gardner originally came up with 7 different intelligences: linguistic, logical-mathmatical, musical, body-kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal intelligence. Then more have been added, such as spiritual, moral, naturalist, and existentialist intelligence. This website describes his theory and the different intelligences: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/gardner.htm You should take a look if you have never heard of his theory before. Many educators find this theory very interesting and applicable to education in general and for finding better ways to examine and evaluate every student while still appreciating the diversity of each student's mind. I find Gardner's theory very appealing and interesting especially when thinking about neurodiversity and education.

I look forward to hearing what others think about neurodiversity and education, along with Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.

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