• The assumption has been that students who score excellent grades are suited for medicine, engineering, law and other careers that society values the most.
• A person might get straight As in KCSE but if he does not have the tendency to guide others to recover from physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual imbalance or pain, he will make a lousy doctor.
Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta caused laughter when he observed that some parents force their children to become doctors when they could not withstand the sight of the blood of a goat.
The assumption has been that students who score excellent grades are suited for medicine, engineering, law and other careers that society values the most.
The truth of the matter is that the intelligence that excellent grades reveal is not a trustworthy predictor of excellence in the career students choose solely based on their KCSE scores.
Traditional schooling teaches students important skills such as maths, science, and writing. It does little, however, to help them uncover what they should do with their lives.
Excellent grades in mathematics, sciences and English in KCSE, do not mean one has ability and inclination for medicine or finance or any of the courses that require mathematics and logic.
This is part of the educational malaise that CBC aims to cure. It seeks to identify and nurture every learner's potential not just in academics but also in interests, inclinations and hobbies.
The Multiple Intelligences theory that CBC now recognises in its vision is one of the most radical features of the education reform. The curriculum now recognises that there is more than one form of intelligence and all are valid in our political economy.
We have before looked at the different types of intelligence that American educator and psychologist Howard Gardner propounded and which CBC now acknowledges.
We have logical intelligence, the ability to perform mathematics and think in an orderly manner; linguistic intelligence, the ability to acquire and use language effectively; interpersonal intelligence, the ability to interact socially with others; musical intelligence, the ability to keep a beat, play instruments, sing, etc; visual intelligence, the ability to see and produce images; intrapersonal intelligence, the ability to self-reflect and intrapersonal intelligence, the ability to self-reflect.
There is also bodily intelligence, the ability to control and use one’s body and naturalistic intelligence, the ability to connect with the environment.
Knowledge of MI is only half the story. What is equally important is how people use their bits of intelligence to the best possible advantage. Get this right, and a person finds enduring satisfaction and happiness in what he does for the rest of his life.
American educator, author and public speaker Steven Rudolph extended the scope and applicability of Multiple Intelligences.
In a small book entitled, The 10 Laws of Learning, Rudolph theorised that while people have eight bits of intelligence, they tend to use these abilities in nine different ways.
He identified nine tendencies that guide our behaviour which he code-named Multiple Natures.
The MN in question are protective nature, the tendency to prevent harm, loss, injury, mistakes or wrongdoing; educative nature, the tendency to teach others; administrative nature, the tendency to get work done; healing nature, the tendency to help others; creative nature, the tendency to form an idea of, to imagine or conceive.
Other natures are entertaining nature, the tendency to attract attention and amuse others providing nature with the tendency to invest their time or interests to help, assist or care for others; entrepreneurial nature, the tendency to create or extract value; and adventurous nature, the tendency to take the risk or do dangerous things.
According to Rudolph, when you look at a person’s combined multiple intelligences and multiple natures, you can see a unique personality that emerges.
He argues that it is the person’s nature that influences how he acts, which types of activities he is attracted to, the things he enjoys doing and the things he is naturally good at. Intelligence alone is half the story about a person’s life.
A person might get the so-called straight As in KCSE but if he does not have the tendency to guide others to recover from physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual imbalance or pain, he will make a lousy doctor even after successfully undertaking medical training.
This is the “doctor” who will faint at the sight of the blood of a goat or simply avoid any environment where marks of “physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual imbalance or pain’ is the order of the day 24/7.
It is a big irony. Your child has never slaughtered a chicken but because he got grades qualifying him for medicine, you think he can make a doctor out of himself.
Our ‘doctor’ will never know the satisfaction of work, of relieving pain, to earn the honour of being a doctor. Some of them eventually move into other professions without regrets.
Similar dilemma or contradictions face many students. In many cases, the careers they take don’t correspond to their natures. Their natural bent.
We have heard stories of children doing a course parents forced them, get the degree paper, and hand it over to their parents saying, “You wanted a medical or law degree? Here it is. Now I am going back to study a course of my own choice.”
Had parents known something about abilities, inclinations and natures, they cannot force their children to enrol in courses that are against their “natures”.
It is the reason why The Basic Curriculum Framework, which is the blueprint of CBC, “considers every learner’s social and cognitive capabilities, their needs and desires, and respects the differences in the way children learn.”
Kennedy Buhere is the Communications Officer, Ministry of Education