What is 'average' anyway? When I 'googled' "average" this is what I got:
I personally don't like the term, "average student" and based on Google's synonyms ("mediocrity") I may not be wrong. Being "average" seems to limit a teacher's, student's, and parent's vision and expectations. Every student has strengths and weaknesses that together create who he or she is. They may 'average' out to be a kid who functions somewhere in the middle of his or her peers on various tests and measures of achievement, but to say they are 'average' defeats their accomplishments and potential. Furthermore, I think every kid needs to see him or herself excelling, creating, and contributing in whatever unique way works best for them.
The result obtained by adding several quantities together and then dividing this total by the number of quantities; the mean.
Constituting the result obtained by adding together several quantities and then dividing this total by the number of quantities.
Amount to or achieve as an average rate or amount over a period of time: "annual inflation averaged 2.4 percent".
Synonyms: noun. mean - medium - mediocrity
Howard Gardner addresses this in his Multiple Intelligences (MI) Theory. Gardner identifies nine different kinds of intelligence, each reflecting different ways of interacting with the world. Each person has their own individual combination of these intelligences. His nine intelligences are:
- Linguistic Intelligence - the capacity to understand, use, and manipulate language
- Logical Mathematical Intelligence - the capacity to understand, manipulate and express numbers, quantities, and numerical operations
- Musical Rhythmic Intelligence - the capacity to think in music, and to hear, recognize and manipulate music.
- Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence - the capacity to use your body or body parts (hands, fingers, feet, etc.) to solve problems, to interact, and to express oneself (athletics, dance, performing arts are the most common examples of excellence in this)
- Spatial Intelligence - the capcity to represent the spatial world internally - to learn and integrate visual stimuli. Spatial learners, for example, learn best by observing images, photos, graphs, charts (as opposed to listening to lectures or reading long passages).
- Naturalist Intelligence - refers to the capacity to discriminate among living things (plants, animals) and recognize patterns and features of the natural world (clouds, rock configurations).
- Intrapersonal Intelligence - the capacity to understand yourself- who you are, how and why you react to various things the way you do, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, how to avoid pitfalls, etc.
- Interpersonal Intelligence - the capacity to understand other peoples' speech, body/facial language, postures, motivations, etc.
- Existential Intelligence - the capacity and proclivity to contemplate philosophical questions of life, death, reality, etc.
Schools Attuned and All Kinds of Minds train parents and teachers to look at students along eight different "neurodevelopmental constructs." Much like Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences, we all have our own unique combination of skills which embody our own unique learning profiles. These profiles vary along eight different areas:
- Social cognition- understanding how dress, posture, tone, facial expressions, and verbal/nonverbal communication all help us better understand people and social situations around us
- Temporal and Spatial sequential processing - understanding time, recognizing how long things take, recognizing and being able to follow schedules and sequences (be this following directions, following time, or telling jokes or stories);
- Graphomotor skills - handwriting skills
- Fine and Gross motor skills - coordinating large and small muscle groups (for example, throwing a catching a ball involves large muscle groups while knitting involves smaller muscle groups)
- Higher order cognition - understanding abstract concepts, brainstorming, creating, analyzing, evaluating, comparing all involve higher order cognition. It also involves 'metacognition' much like Gardner's Intrapersonal Intelligence - an ability to understand oneself - one's actions, thoughts and motivations.
- It validates each of your students, allowing them to excel in their areas of strength while strengthening areas of weakness
- It helps teachers and students better understand each other, gaining greater self esteem and an ability and desire to take risks and reach for higher goals and expectations
- It enables students to advocate more effectively for themselves. Once one has a better understanding of learning strengths and weaknesses, one can seek more specific help in areas of weakness
- It helps parents, teachers, and students to more realistically evaluate and approach school (and life) related problems.