The Hundred Languages

No way. The hundred is there.

The child is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.

A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.

The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.

They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.

They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.

-Loris Malaguzzi (translated by Lella Gandini)
Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach


How Intelligent are you? (Part 2)

In many cases,  definitions of intelligence given in encyclopaedia  either contributed by an individual psychologists or quoted from earlier definitions given by a psychologist, commonly agreed that intelligence is “The ability to use memory, knowledge, experience, understanding, reasoning, imagination and judgement in order to solve problems and adapt to new situations” (AllWords Dictionary, 2006) – A Collection of Definitions of Intelligence (Shane Legg & Marcus Hutter, 2007).

None of the definitions mentioned that intelligence is a fixed amount or it can be measured through paper and pencil test so it can be expressed in a numerical grade! Ironically, most of our society  believe this and have come to take it for granted. The source is at the heart of education system that has fed public opinion through the idea of academic ability and the systems used in schools and college entrance examinations.

People do not know or might not want to know that at the beginning, Alfred Binet, one of the creators of IQ test, intended the test to identify children with special needs so they could get their appropriate forms of schooling. He never intended it to identify degrees of intelligence. Binet noted that the scale he created “does not permit the measure of intelligence, because intellectual qualities are not suppressible and therefore cannot be measured as liner surfaces are measured”- (IQ Test: Where does It Come From and What Does It Measure?

The nature of intelligence has always been a matter of controversy, especially among the many professional specialists who spend their lives thinking about it. Havard psychologist Howard Gardner has argued to claim that human have not one but multiple intelligences. They are linguistic, musical, mathematical, spatial, kinaesthetic, interpersonal, and intra personal. He argues that these types of intelligence are more or less independent of each other, some might be “dominant” while others are “dormant”. He says that we all have different strengths in different intelligences and that education should treat them equally to enable children receive opportunities to develop their individual abilities. (Frames of Mind – Howard Gardner, 1983).

There is no quantifiable evidence to prove intelligence. There may be. But the clear fact of everyday experiences is that human intelligence is diverse and multifaceted – it can be seen from the richness and complexity of human culture and achievement. Human ability is everywhere. We “think” about our experiences in many ways.

According to Ken Robinson in his book “The Element, How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” – 2009, says that human intelligence seems to have at least three main features; diverse, dynamic and distinctive. And let’s call it the 3-D of human intelligence.

Diverse. It is clear that intelligence is not limited to the ability to do verbal and mathematical tasks. These skills are important, but they are simply just ONE WAY in which intelligence expresses itself. Think about the world in all the ways that we experience it, including all the different ways we use our senses. We think in sound. We think in movement. We think visually. Look at how the dancers dance, how the singers sing, how the musicians play their musical instruments, how athletes perform, how painters paint, and many other professions  that involve using multiple forms of intelligence. If we don’t embrace the fact that we think about the world in a wide variety of ways, we severely limit our chances of finding the person that we were meant to be.

Dynamic. The human brain is intensely interactive. Every task we perform involves multiple parts of it. It finds new connections every time we learn new things. Intelligence is not a single linear line that has a clear end. It keeps developing over time through interactions and collaborations or any other forms that enable it to connect and construct knowledge and understanding.

Distinctive. Every person’s intelligence is  as unique as a fingerprint. There might be ten, or hundred different forms of intelligence, but each of us uses these forms in different ways. It involves a different combination of dominant and dormant intelligences. Even twins use their intelligences differently from one another. No two people will do the same things, share all of the same passions, or accomplish the same amount in their lives.

“How intelligent are you?” – What do you think about the question I put as a title of this article? Should the question be “How are you intelligent?” Can you differentiate these two questions after knowing that intelligence is diverse, dynamic and distinctive? Is it clear the differences between both?

Think about it will have a tremendous impact on how you perceive intelligence.

Jakarta, March 15th, 2014



-(AllWords Dictionary, 2006) – A Collection of Definitions of Intelligence (Shane Legg & Marcus Hutter, 2007).

– (IQ Test: Where does It Come From and What Does It Measure?

– (Frames of Mind – Howard Gardner, 1983).

– “The Element, How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” Ken Robinson- 2009

How intelligent are you? (Part 1)

What is your first reaction when given this question? Spontaneously asking yourselves “How intelligent am I?” Then you might try to recall things you have done or learned so far and think how smart you are? You might feel so proud of  yourselves from the thought that, you are intelligent. Or  you  might feel “shrink” inside from the thought that you haven’t achieved anything big or haven’t learned as much as people or you yourselves think you should have. Then you conclude that you are not smart or not intelligent.

Or are you questioning the question back?  Let’s go over it, shall we?

In our society as well, either  in Western or Eastern, people still commonly believe that intelligence does much to determine someone’s future and fate. Many schools  use intelligence measurement or IQ test as a tool to decide whether or not a child could be accepted. Then they proudly admit that their school  rank high as the students accepted there are those with high IQ score.

The students’ intelligence are measured through standardised  test, the “one -size-fits- all” test that offer students no options but giving limited or sometimes predetermined answers. The test that never put any other conditions into consideration. They only consideration is how many numbers that  you have answered correctly!

This phenomena  has led teachers, students and parents to stressful situation. They look for ways to help students to achieve high score. They have extra hundred hours  to review lessons to anticipate the upcoming test. Their intelligence  are being graded! And the grade will have a tremendous impact on a child’s academic future! Good grades mean good colleges, good colleges mean good jobs, if you have a good job, you will have a prosperous life. This cycle goes on like this.

What are these numbers? What are these grades? What do they truly say about intelligence?

What are in a test? Numbers, words? Do they  measure the whole intelligences – (if you believe in multiple intelligences?)

What is intelligence, by the way?

To be continued in Part 2

Someone with fixed or growth mindset, are you?

There are so many things in life that sometimes we, without realizing it happen based on how our mindset is. From very small things, like picking clothes, deciding whether to go to an event or not  or simply how to spend our leisure time.

 Mindset is a way we look at this world and how we run  our life. There are two kinds of mindset; Fixed and Growth. Fixed mindset can be seen from these characteristics; being pessimistic, withdraw, deterministic, discourage, being inferior, not confident  and some other negative attributes.

 While, Growth mindset are as follows; optimistic, feel confident, love learning new things, always do better in things and some other positive attributes.

 We easily know what people mindset is by talking, discussing or just seeing the ways they are fixing things.

 Personally, I feel that sometimes I can be in Fixed mindset then the other time I am in Growth mindset. When I am in Fixed mindset I feel not so good, being frustrated, anger inside, blaming things around me, feel that I cannot achieve anything or things that I have achieved in life  is just of luck. No no! Then worst, I become alienate to myself, not knowing who I am, not knowing what actually I want to do or achieve in life. My relationship with others become rotten and wrecked. No no!

 But, the other way around, when I am in a Growth mindset; I feel so good, feel that I can achieve whatever I want in this life, being optimistic, happy, enthusiastic, seeing things as funny and bright.

 Ok, I am writing this when I am stuck in the severe traffic in Bona Indah. Can you imagine it is more than two hours from my place to school. Fiuuh. I have to do something, to change the schedule of when the best time living for work. Crazy. This is crazy. This is Jakarta. Crazy Jakarta that well known  with bad, bad, bad, bad….add more as you want…traffic. What should I do? It’s drizzling, no ojek seen, just stuck…stuck…stuck….stuck.

 I have to stay positive, this will not gonna ruin my whole day. Let me just enjoy this stuck in the mud car. No blaming, just change the schedule tomorrow to leave house earlier. OK. Leave house at 5 am? Fine, that was what I did when I was at Bogor. So, no probs at all.

 This is growth mindset. I find a way to overcome this condition so not happen again in the future. Growth mindset is always able to overcome difficult situation, find ways out and try new things. Ok. I am a person with Growth mindset. 

 Tuesday, January 15, 2013